April 27th
Poet Tariq Toure (Chanet Wallace/For City Paper)

I looked Freddie in the eye today

and watched infants drenched in the placenta of revolution


stream down from his tear ducts, cascade onto the cement,

and roll in the crevices of the sidewalk

I watched puffs of dirt bike smoke swim across his pupils

as the two-wheeled Lords of concrete swam through the streets

like schools of fish with their arms swaying

saluting every structure built to trap them

I watched a wino drag across his iris

with a brown paper bag filled to the brim

with yesterday's mistakes

I saw the white chalk that chalked the white of his eyes

whiter than the lies they told us about him killin himself

I heard your mother said you had too much light for the world

for you to deprive us of its son, We never believed them

Word around town is that you were a comedian, a griot.


One of the many that never plant their feet under

the blinding stage lights of "Saturday Night live"

Word is you could light room up.

A walking talking Roman candle that could burst through the deepest depression

on the darkest night, a reminder to the suicidal neighbor next door

that laughter fills empty hearts far better than apathy ever could

I was told you were somebody, among the other somebody's

that the system failed purposely, another notch under a cruel society's waistband

a testimony to why we deserve these very conditions

I was told that your death was a climax

to an American Horror film entitled the black body

that your skin made you disposable

I saw The place they built for you and so many others to perish in still standing

But by God, Jericho's walls have begun to fall in the minds of the masses.

"Stay woke" is no less prayer than the monk

who meditates demons away with every chant

I looked Freddie in the eye today

And saw one man who birthed one thousand freedom fighters

I saw a man whose eclipse set fire to an army

so convicted about being unshackled

they would rather taste teargas

than live another hour under oppression

I saw the world gasp as we torched the colonizer's establishments

I saw the world mourn as the colonizer's business interests became piles of soot

I saw the world oblivious as to how we who are birthed in the concrete asylum

understand at a cellular level that people like Tyrone West

were murdered far before the enemies of the sun crossed his path

I looked Freddie in the eye today

I saw 9mm shells bounce off the pits of his eyes

as Keith Davis Jr. prayed to be delivered

from a summer day gone execution.

I saw the suppressed screams of five year-old Amir

as the agents of evil attempted to snatch the soul of his father Abdul Salaam

I saw sorrow on a Wednesday night in November

rip across the face of Tawanda Jones

only to be followed by a mystic courage

that could only be reserved for the mothers of our universe

I saw your eyes cloud with promise

because a new city had been birthed

in the mind of us who were still here in the physical

I saw your face become colorful

overrun with all hues of people

standing against every atom of what you died for

I looked Freddie in the eye today

I saw a martyr

Who fueled a renaissance

Assembled a village

And for the child who looks

outside their window

and is greeted by concrete promises

They too look in his eyes

And what they see is still being determined

And what we know is that this is not the end

And for your murderers

they couldn't have looked in your eyes

Or else they would have seen a people willing

to sacrifice everything so that our children

never have to bargain on their knees for their tomorrows again

They would have known that this is not the generation

that waits on moral arcs of the universe to bend

but that we will break and shatter injustice

wherever and whenever we see fit

I looked Freddie in the eye today

Tariq Touré, a native Baltimorean, is a Muslim essayist, poet, educator, humanitarian and public speaker. Since the age of 19, Touré has mentored at-risk African American Males in Baltimore and Washington D.C. His book of poetry, "Black Seeds," is out now.