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A Dream of Rodney King
© Copyright 1995 Marsha Campbell

All we have in this country are police and women.
You can't complain to the police because they might
arrest you.
Your boyfriend is a police, your college professor, your
reverend minister, boss, fireman...
but they won't tell you.
This is the planet we live on.
The police are like an explosion behind you
always racing your heart.

Setting: Los Angeles
Characters: Christ as a blackman whom we don't know
and a Korean woman who doesn't blame the
blackman for the riots.
She blames the officials.
She doesn't blame the looters.
She takes that power away from them.
They had their power taken away from them by the officials.
She gives that power to the officials.
They own that power
the Korean woman who owned a little shop.

Christ is not a looter but led a demonstration.
I have no desire.
I am Christ, Christ as a woman.
But just because Christ has no desire doesn't mean He's a woman.

Christ on the cross looks like a martyr. That is why he looks
like a woman.
I see his flesh flowing across the wooden branches. It is
sickly pale--black man or white.

That so many people believe in a martyr instead of a
Look at the slave in American history--martyrs all--and the
American black today--a history of martyrdom.
Is their strength worshipped--the strength by which they
rose up from martyrdom--or is their strength in their martyrdom, their
You know Christians value the strengths of a martyr.
But the Christian nation values a strongman.

When a blackman achieves the status of a policeman he
achieves real power. He becomes an official.
He is no longer a woman. But
what if the blackperson--woman--child--abused child--Jew--
Indian--immigrant--mental patient--prisoner--
What if the blackperson aspires to be neither police nor
It's not possible.
A blackman with police for an overseer can still be the
police to his woman and she can be the police to his/her
child. The child can oversee the family pet, and so on.
There's always somebody to look up to or fear.

The legacy that slavery has given this country has cast its
shadow to the present day. Thus, all the programs designed
to help the unemployed survive
like medical care, food stamps, rent assistance, public
housing, GA and AFDC
were designed mostly for the offspring of former slaves.

Christ as a slave. We know the Roman police would like to
march all over you.
The slave is a rabble-rouser who deserves to die. We know
the story.

So when Christ is risen He flees to Egypt or Libya where
He meets a sexy keeper of the temple of some heathen god
and they make love over and over again. Perhaps she is
black, too, really black in her African origins.

Or He finds her on an arid modern American poverty-
driven Indian reservation, where the woman has the face of
Mother Earth and He rests in her arms till the police,
soldiers, FBI come to dig Him out and
His martyrdom starts all over again at Oglala.

© Copyright 1995 Marsha Campbell

From the book:
About My Impotence or Sainthood
Marsha Campbell is a 1995 Recipient of the Mary TallMountain Award for Creative Writing and Community Service.

More poems by Marsha Campbell: The Homeless Man

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