American Wedding – Amiri Nash

Am I ready to surrender to the land?

To have my lungs singed by the sound of a siren? 

This country loves me like a dead body 

Yet we are married to it without choice

A delicate white lace veil disguised as a noose over my head 

Flower girls chasing after me still – 

Leaving behind a trail of red and blue bullets 

I, free man, take you 

With every pump of my heart pulling against the hot tarmac 

My arms and legs and arms and legs moving beyond speed 

To be lawfully wedded spouse 

Clap and smile as I hit the ground now, 

Celebrate the burial yet to be 

To have and to hold

Throw away my body, 

Make it nice and bloody and 

Leave my ears open to hear the chants 

My eyelids unclosed to see my death digitalized

From this day forward 

Tell me it was an accident; that you were just trying to plant flowers – 

that you still love me with my black skin spilling on the ground; plead innocent and

Swear, with your right hand on the bible

For better 

Sit my family on one side of the altar; 

and your family on the other

For worse

Hear metal badges clink as they turn to watch me wheeled down the aisle

Revolvers shiny and glowing and polished; protected 

But “just to keep my body safe,” lifeless and inoperative as stone

For richer

Listen to the birds howling tender and taint – 

Their cries camouflaged as the sound of a mother wailing; 

My brand new tuxedo glowing from the undertaker

For poorer

And celebrate with family the last stride; 

Grasping the air by teeth before worms and 

Maggots chew through ethereal unsettlement 

In sickness and in health 

Smiling through veins before they 

Paint my vessels and cells with gang, violent, 

thug, hoodlum, toughie, scoundrel, urban, gangsta, and deserving of it. 

Until death do us apart

And now we become married – lowering my body 

into the ground as my spouse’s family applauds 

A time capsule for the memory of the pain, 

Rings placed on me and covered by the roses; green stems over my stoic fists, 

What God has joined, men must not divide. 

This is how they want to love me. 

I am loved by America when I am dead in its arms, 

Married to the funeral it scripted to me, 

Decorated with death and dishonor and wallow 

This is not how I ought to be loved. 


7 Points

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