I wrote this poem after after watching Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, a film about the Detroit Riots and what occurred at the Algiers Hotel in July 1967.
The poem’s style is based on Testimony by Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet who gained influence during the second half of the twentieth century, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.
The building was silent before the
A Tuesday evening, darkness,
and gutter blood dancing
inside the hotel.
From the next street,
you’d have heard the screaming
and heard it stop and had view of the
military with their guns and tanks
coming down the road.
Lines of them, firearms loosed from their holsters,
ready to pounce on their prey like the big cats
of the African plains.
A line of dominoes facing the wall, petrified
young people, kids, playing the police’s
Three dead black men, seven more beaten,
and two white women.
Unarmed, innocent. 25th July 1967.
Not that they knew then how history
would record that day as the victims
took the stand: in a sweat,
skittish, nervous. Families bereft.
Killer cops, not guilty (typically).
They always protect their own, and
Krauss free to roam the streets again
with his eyebrows of Satan.