Vandalism, September 2020

These days, a black family
lives in Warren, on Tallman
just off Stephens

The family                heard
pop pop pop              saw
a ski mask run           heard
a ski mask yell                         
fuck Black Lives Matter felt
a crash—rock breaks the window
lands on the couch

The neighbors have been nice,
they’re cool with it, with the black people
in the ranch on Tallman

off Stephens     

One Long Sentence

That “Eastpointe Neighbors” Facebook group thread still makes me cringe, now that good old Eastpointe isn’t all-white anymore, now it’s like 20 or 30% Black, and family, former school friends, “my people,” I guess, say the neighborhood has really gone downhill when they have never seen a hill in their lives and it pisses me off that they still equate Black neighbors with “downhill,” fuck them all for saying that and most of them will say It’s Not About Race, no way, it’s about the Hood and thugs and drugs because God knows we didn’t raise or become thugs, even though in the 70s we got high every single day, our backyard neighbor probably broke into our house when I was 7, in 1970, when our neighborhood was snowflake, so I speak up on Facebook, I say how racist and offensive they are, and a former classmate says, hey, you left, right, so what the hell do you know about it, and I want to say I left way before Black people moved in, I left because of you, not because I’m a racist, but does that really make me better, and I am shamed back.

20,000 Pupils Stage Boycott

Detroit Free Press, 1 October 1971

         At least 20,000 children stayed away from classes in Macomb County Thursday, apparently to protest possible future court-ordered busing between Detroit and suburban schools.

Roseville’s redlining real state broker
started the rumor
buses full of black kids rolling in
the frightened mothers
resisted, hid their children at home

that headline creates
an angry army of eight year olds
raging middle school
revolutionaries with raised fists

and I remember
my third grade class less than half-full
20,000 little bodies serve
as stand-ins


Kim Jacobs-Beck is the author of a chapbook, Torch (Wolfson Press). Her poems can seen at Great Lakes ReviewWest Trestle Review, Nixes Mate, GyroscopeSWWIM, and Apple Valley Review, among other journals. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Milk & Cake Press.