This work was featured in Issue 18:2, Spring 2017 — Cave Canem 20th Anniversary Issue

Ernesto Mercer

More A’s B’s C’s & D’s, or The President Is About To Grab Victim’s Money Like It’s Pussy

I’d need an alphabet to tell it
you’d be confused by the X’s
sometimes names are changed
to protect those who don’t
want to be fucked up body
mind + definitely not dead
I’d require several sets
of alphabets just to say
caseload 10/2005
– 01/2006 but I dreamed
bloody women every night +
juggling case records recall
bottom drawer + fake lipstick
tubes stuffed with directions:
north star, moss on tree,
people who come get you
when you’re ready to flee
woman girl child interview
cube again I’d slip the fake
lipstick tubes, ask you ready
to leave yet Boo? I’d
learned that right placed
Boo (that said, sister people
should be nice to you) was
often the thing to do +
I remember going out front
to tell the bamas: Nah
she leaving with me,
just October through New
Year’s I’d need several A’s
B’s C’s D’s but who ever
read any of the record I’d kept:
A’s split lip, B’s busted head,
C’s broken ass D’s shattered
psychic bone it’d take
alphabets & alphabets
to get to Z, who bothered
me every other day with bogus
food stamp complaints, but
really didn’t want to be
at home, she’d go laughing,
You know you love me
Mr. M, like I her business
was not mine , even how she’d
sneak to see the child she
the court ordered her not
to see + that’s why she stayed
fucked up all the time
they found Z in Trinidad
in her Mama’s side yard,
head in the dog’s old
house I had that case too
but no answer for Mrs A
about how anyone could
do her child that way I
closed Z out in the System:
PI DE vr DC DV re PA
Primary Informant dead
verified by Death Certificate:
note: Domestic Violence
suspected, see: entire record
Reported by Parent, case
number ____: (+ we all know
who killed her ) but I’d need
more alphabets for that
because carrying a woman’s
or girl’s body on you
means nothing not to some,
nothing to prosecutors nor
cops I don’t believe it even
gets a notch on belts so often
used to choke the Yes I love
you’s out before blacking out
& often blacking out is the best
part of the day or night I
dreamed bloody women I’d
need racks of alphabets just
for 10/05 -01/06 + Z’d
not be the final Z I’d need.

 

Ernesto Mercer is the author of the chapbook Gunpowder + A Match (outbackintheshack + Carolina Jones Ink, 2011). A teaching artist and independent scholar, Mercer is also a Mayombe priest, and has performed his poems at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Whitney Museum, Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and Split This Rock Poetry Festival. To read more of this author's work: "The Beg," It's Your Mug Anniversary Issue, Vol. 10:2, Spring 2009.