“Middle of Protesting” by Prince Bush

Prince Bush


It’s curfew near J. Percy Priest
Dam, and the tear gas buttress cracks
Down the convex close to cresting
Due to thermal stress. My eyes kindle

With milk coolant. All I need is regard
To water. The hurt’s polysyllabic, so I call
Them CN and CS gasses for short. The second
Of which forces my eyes closed: solution,

Make me want to breathe
For five minutes, and I’ll open them.
I tell the state I’m going home,
But I forgot I’d need a detour

With all the bridges I knew broken
And reconstructed with brown violence
Tanks through the welts on my torso,
Brown-violet, vice versa. If I sting

A red onion with a knife, pickle it
With household vinegar, or acetic acid,
That would cause tears, and lachrymators
Would’ve steamed the complex, thus

I attempt eating opposite ingredients
With the fork, table, and chair melting.
I’ve yet to find a reusable mask
And now it needs a charcoal filter,

The things thrown at me first organic,
Then synthetic solid, liquid, and fog.

from Poets Respond
June 6, 2020


Prince Bush: “Tear gas is being used against peaceful protesters, and it can cause PTSD.” (web)

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