“Chillary Clinton Said ‘We Have to Bring Them to Heal'” by Cortney Lamar Charleston

Cortney Lamar Charleston


I mean, I think that’s what she was saying, right?
So how about it then? My hands are soft and ready

for work. Bring me all your sick-and-tireds, all your
bodies bruised all over, it would seem, from birth itself.

Bring me buckets of fried chicken, both original and
extra crispy. Bring me pork chops and racks on racks

of ribs. I need six-packs ad infinitum. Juice boxes
and boxes full of bagged ice. Get me circular tables,

folding chairs, old white robes to use as table cloths,
and one full deck of cards for every set of seats: I’m

throwing a grand old party! Yes, Beyoncé is invited.
Kanye West is invited. I’m sorry if it disappoints you,

but you must understand that my mans needs to heal
with his fellow men, with women who have been hurt

by the things men have done to them, or said, or didn’t say
or didn’t mean to from the dustiest corners of their hearts.

Harm happens, but for what apologies and forgivenesses
never come or word alone can’t communicate completely

or correctly, we invented music; bring me plastic crates
of vinyls. Turntables. Bring me speakers, power strips,

extension cords. Tell everybody coming to load their
trunks with cheap fireworks. Tell them to bring dishes

we can dole out. Solo cups. Plates and utensils. Pillows,
since we’re going until moonrise at minimum, moving

the crowd, shaking our groove thangs yeah yeah. This
is a party, damn it! And I know somebody will probably

make a jackass out of themselves, but that’s all part of
the experience. Somebody will drink too much, but we

won’t let them drive. Somebody’s cousin will say some
reckless shit and have to get put in line: that’s how it goes.

It might get loud around here, but that’s just because we’re
all alive. Blood-wired. We dance battled death and won.

Then we talked about it. Then we cried about it. We tried.
We tried. We tried: everybody’s hands on everybody else.

Poets Respond
February 28, 2016

[download audio]


Cortney Lamar Charleston: “With the Presidential election cycle dominating news coverage for the last few months (and for the foreseeable future), I’ve tried to have as much fun as possible with all the political bickering to stop from being legitimately fearful of the potential outcomes. South Carolina’s Democratic primaries are taking place on February 27th, and accordingly, I’ve been inundated with coverage about Clinton and Sanders courting of the sizable ‘black vote’—which has been quite annoying. Then something entertaining (and important) happened: a young, queer black woman was caught on video protesting at a private Clinton event, basically forcing Hillary to confront some rather troubling words regarding the criminality of (black) youth that helped underscore a community-harming crime bill. Clinton has been quoted as saying of ‘superpredators’ that ‘we must bring them to heel.’ I took the liberty of reimagining her words in an alternative, more positive light, and this poem is the result.” (website)

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