Social Justice Poetry

Criminal Injustice – A Tribute to Kalief Browder | A Social Justice Poem by Leah Monde

They stopped me
Turned me around and pat me down, hands on the hood of the car
Thick, menacing hands. Baton in between my legs
They told me to come with them and then I could go home.
I never went home that day.
Interrogation. Small cement stuffy room
Several men yelling. Spit in my face.
I didn’t do anything!
I don’t know!
I’m innocent!
Then came the third step in breaking me down, the strip search, the uniform
Dry, lonely cells.
Where is my Mom?
What’s going to happen?
Scared out of my mind.
These peers don’t even have my back.
It’s all about the Bloods, the Latin Kings
All this rage
Shouldn’t we be on the same team?
They told me that I could have gotten out on bail
Avoided the hellhole.
But my Mama makes minimum wage
And couldn’t afford the $3000 bail
So I rot in that hell for 33 months
Almost two years of which in the hole
The Shu
I was never a bad kid, just did my best tried my hardest
But their hatred drove me to hate myself
Rage turned inward
I even told them I wanted to end my life and all I got in return was a slap in the goddamned face.
No mental health care
Five times I tried to end my life
Then one day, unexplainably I was set free.
Charges dropped
No apologies for the trauma, the wasted years.
Simply kicked to the curb in Queens with a one-way metro card.
I thought it would be better when I was home but it turned out to be worse on another level.
So isolated, existing in a haze.
Criminal record – no one takes you seriously. What is a man to do?
What is a man to do?
You failed me.
I didn’t fail myself, I tried I stuck to my convictions.
And the world spit in my face.
I am sorry Mama, but I can’t take this pain anymore. Goodbye.

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