Finalist

Dijon Kizzee Loved Anything on Wheels

While America is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we in Black America are dealing
with the 1619 pandemic.

– Benjamin Crump, attorney for the family of Dijon Kizzee (1991-2020), killed
by LA County police deputies, CNN, 9/23/20

 

Dijon Kizzee loved anything on wheels –
bike, go-kart, motorcycle    Family calls
him Mama’s boy, broken by her passing
says he was kind, working
to  find his way

Family, neighbors say his name

Dijon
Dijon
Dijon

*

Sheriff Villanueva says Dijon Kizzee
rode his bike on the wrong
side of East 110th Street
in Westmont

A high crime
area, a war zone

*

So yes, I’ve resorted to sarcasm this morning
having used up my habitual American words

grief
horror
rage
  sorrow 

*

The news tells me more
of Dijon Kizzee’s death than his life
so my brain, crammed with

anger and association
data and damage
asks the wheel for meaning –

the cart which made possible
the commerce of people
stolen from love warmth children

Is anything more (white) American than
the wheel – The Open Road

while Black folks’ ears
press to the ground –
pounding hooves
of paddy rollers
sheriff lurking
night patrols on ready 

But Dijon Kizzee loved
anything on wheels
powered himself
down that California street
what we call man power
his legs doing the work of freedom

*

This, I can say
John Browning invades Virginia in 1622
crashes the poem
keeps on invading
keeps on deputizing
people we call
police
to contain Dijon Kizzee
and his ancestors
keeps on deputizing deputies
to kill for being on the open road
without papers, for being
on the wrong side of the street

I mean to say
Dijon Kizzee’s story is not separate
from my story
Dijon is not separate from me
though whiteness tells me otherwise
tells me deputies are deputized
on my behalf

But I know Langston Hughes got it right –
secure
rhymes with
manure 

*

Fuck the firmament
Dijon Kizzee ought to be right here
ought to be America

Dijon sailing down the street
on any two wheels he chooses
the LA sun singing joy

the wind waving Hey
as he
flies
right
by

 

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