i can’t breathe

I can’t breathe.

Suffocating.

Choking from his arm

Around my neck.

His grip tight,

Growing stronger now.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

Lightheaded.

Dizzy from his hold

Around my neck.

My vision blurs,

Lessening consciousness now.

I can’t breathe.

We can’t breathe.

Overpowered.

Smothered by their authority

Of the truth.

Our desire to trust,

Lessening now.

We can’t breathe.

We can’t breathe.

Stunned.

If all men are created equal,

Where is justice?

Policemen are above the law,

Far exceeding integrity.

We can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

Distraught.

Distressed by the lack

Of reliability in our authority.

The people I trust to protect me

Are hurting the people I love.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

Resilient.

Standing for my fellow man

Who cannot stand himself.

If he cannot inhale,

Neither can I.

I can’t breathe.

In light of the homicide of New York City resident Eric Garner, many are questioning the justice system in our country and the sense of equality we so firmly stand for. With multiple cases similar to this one, many people in our country think that white policemen are abusing their authority and taking advantage of their positions of power. This poem is a response to the jury’s decision to not indict the policeman who broke the city’s police code of conduct, and in doing so, murdered an innocent man. And no matter what your role in life is—policeman, businessman, president, homeless man, burger flipper, preacher, writer—no matter your skin color, all life is important.

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