as if no assignment
parched suitably,
the school-body
unbellys its ode wrought
and classrooms walls
marvel. Once the deed
has halted, another
lash reveals itself
on their backs, and liberty
dies as mouths close.

[& the black children take their seats.]



my bike-
to another language
sludge-filled sprockets
evicted the chain
each block
my four city voyage
to school
clink and veer
empty scotch
perched below
my front tire
bottle colonized cart
half erected tents
beneath the 880-
dub: enough weed
duby: the salvaged bit
bust a knock: oblige an addict
clink and veer
solar powered
trash bins
lined broadway
like guard rails
collecting all things
time neglected
valet: trust
four in hand necktie: white male
taxi: good luck!
clink and veer
(caution, hidden driveways)
million dollar coaches
down the hill, a cyclist
venti: large
dog park: playground for animals
teacher: white female

arrived at school-


The Day After Fruitvale

Because I lived uptown &
the Oakland police station was two blocks away & because
moms had a way of making her own blood boil & because
Oscar Grant’s killer had not been cuffed,
a maroon Volkswagen Passat was in flames
outside my apartment window because
folks care more about cars than they do bodies & because
my people know that, shit goes up in flame.

Because our protest is mistaken for riot &
not peaceful, my people’s eyes tend to tear,
gas fills our blocks & because
Oscar laid in his own blood, my people lay
in front of cars on interstate 880 & because
folks care more about a commute than a community,
it’s illegal to march on the highway & because
my people know that, they march on the highway.

Because mourning is an empiricist on ecstasy &
words often lack sense, the crust of a stone in hand &
half drunk molotov cocktail is the greatest feeling while
at standoff with blue and black militia & because
moms would have seen me on the news, I placed the amplifier
in my second story window instead & because
music is our blues and our voice,
my people sung We Gon’ be Alright on 23rd street.


Daniel B. Summerhill is a poet and performance artist from Oakland, CA. Currently an MFA candidate at Boston’s Pine Manor College, Daniel has performed and taught guest workshops and lectures throughout the U.S as well as a four city tour in Europe. He has published two collections of poems Crafted and Brown Boys on Stoops and has been asked to perform at Ted Talk and Def Jam Poetry with Danny Simmons. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Pine Hills Review, Massachusetts Review, and The Voice among others. He currently teaches High School English in Oakland, CA.