Response to the Assault at Spring Valley High

October 28, 2015by Tim Prolific JonesPoetry0


Written after viewing the video of theĀ #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh


There is another viral video
of police violence
against a Black body

another song of chokehold
and pound
and drag

another child
abused in classroom
while cell phones broadcast video

another Black girl
rendered invisible
by the assault on her body

as much as by the silence
of the room around her
of the boys and man who watch

who knows what soundbites
will be uttered by talking heads,
what think pieces will litter the Internet,

what words will weave veils to conceal
tears and fear and how normal this feels

what shoulder shrugs and apathy
will dismiss the severity of this

what standardized test preparations
and State sanctioned curriculum
will prevent this from being taught in classroom

what meme or music video or rap battle
or shot cop or Black Friday sale
or pumpkin spice latte

will become more valuable
than the sovereignty of the body
of a high school girl

dragged from a classroom chair
to be taught a lesson in respectability
in deference, in valueless

while an officer old enough to be her father
drags her through her school
like a trash bag


taking down
Confederate flags
can’t make us safer
when the state of this Union
is built on the foundation
of breaking our bodies


capital of chattel

I smell the tears
of weeping willows
along your marshes

feel the tickle of Spanish moss
against skin humming
centuries old songs

sung by chained throats
and lashed backs


I once visited a restaurant
by the docks

All seafood
and southern hospitality

Across the street
from an organic market

that used to sell slaves.


It is not difficult to figure out
the impact of Charleston
being the country’s largest slave port

It sounds like knuckles
knocking the skull
of a 15 year old girl

Smells like gunpowder residue
on the fingers of an officer
shooting a man in the back

burns like a church

waves like Stars and Bars
waves like Stars and Stripes

It is the fear
seen in the rear
view mirror
when you see
flashing lights


Despite the constant onslaught
and lived reality of Black death,
we must carve a space for Black Love.

We must hold fast to that which feeds us,
that which gives us hope,
that which makes us whole

So whether that means making love
to your wife
or yourself

Know that the path to liberation
cannot just be conjecture
or lip service

it is forged through action
through acts of love

not tweets
or think pieces
or Facebook posts

but love

that radical thing that gets you out of bed
and makes freedom worth fighting for
makes living worth the effort
and creates the children
we want to inherit a better world

You can’t have the revolution
you yell about
without love

Tim Prolific Jones