By Lorna King
Version one; Botha
a card designed to attach itself to your history
a thread from the street,
a people in the wrong place at the wrong time
version one; apartheid
leading to spying, dossiers
on old women like me.
Cuffed and pushed into the backs of police cars
no respect, no talk, no mitigating factors
just version one; carding
with an eye steadily watching you fear the fear,
they believe in your inhumanity,
and make toys for twelve-year-old boys;
then kill them boys- for playing with them toys.
version one; eliminate
they watch and ask you questions to entrap,
anything which could be construed as bad-
they watch, till you are exhausted and forget.
Then they intimidate and bombard your brain with words
a dry water-boarding.
version one; torture
husky men in dark cloths take pieces of our lives away,
forcing us into dark and lonely places
where we leave our DNA behind.
Men who claim they help and protect
stealing the air from our lungs
version one; documentation
they tie the knots of our lives together into mountains
where justice is dispensed by people who are allowed to have prejudices,
people who can wake up on the wrong side of my story or my baby’s life.
Carding-an over supervised game of power,
reserved for the minority
version one; multicultural
In that moment when metal touched my flesh
in my most private space,
my body fostered an acquaintance with Botha
through the distractions of lions and tigers,
I saw the flash cards
version one; control
profiling my blackness is a game they play
insulting us with the life we built,
the same cards that poor young blacks
try to avoid daily, and when they can’t
they are corralled into streams of silence and hate.
version one; revolt