Copcam by Katy Wareham Morris

I watched a video of a guy on an evening bike ride. A ride to clear his head from the stresses of the day. To relieve the pressure. He was cycling and circling around his neighbourhood, the familiar streets.
Confident in the twists, turns and bends –
he knew what was coming so he weaved
and sometimes he’d sprint, but mainly
he’d just pedal a couple of times and
…………let the chain and the wheels turn.
………………….Freewheeling

He takes a turn and sees orange light ahead. He’s stands up and stretches his neck. His white t-shirt stands out clearly against the silky-crow-feather night,
his face cloaked by winged shadow.
He tries to see the trouble, hoping it’s not
………his cousin,
………his nephew,
………not even his hot-dog guy
in the latest choke hold. He watches another guy getting flattened by seven other guys.
………It’s hard to focus my eyes with all the orange flashes.

A woman approaches, she bends towards the guy, to help and then
………she flies.
In one movement, it’s hard to see from who,
she’s up in the air and
then she lands like she’s double-jointed,
only she’s not.
I find out later her knee cap was shattered.
From out of the crowd, another woman appears – she’s wearing white too. She’s pregnant, six months I think. She hasn’t chance to get close like the first woman. She’s slammed to the ground,
……….on her stomach.
They pile on top of her –
her face and her swollen belly
pushed into the tarmac,
into the cold slick of the road.
………Her legs are swimming.

The guy on the bike cycles past,
his face pulled into conflict.
I watch his cheekbones, his jaw,
his eyes stand on sticks in the rain.
His mouth so wide open,
………it’s a craggy chasm of pain;
………his tongue is trapped between the rocks.
………The rain slashes his face,
………he’s against the tides.

They surround him and grab the bike, it wobbles and he falls. Now he’s in a choke hold too, slammed against the road like the first guy. Up close, he doesn’t recognise him – it’s no one he knows. But right now they could be
………brothers.
They hold each other’s gaze,
it gives the other peace –
they are still,
their gritted teeth could be a smile…

It started because some people wanted to speak out against
………the gang that controls them;
………that watches them from towers at night;
………that films them from cranes;
………that approaches them in the street
………and then chokes them.
These people tell their kids to stop,
listen, keep their arms down,
stay as still as possible.
The gang that controls them is white and they have badges.
……….This is their power.

..

Katy Wareham Morris is a mother, wife, lecturer, writer and intersectional feminist. She is also the Birmingham Branch Leader for the recently founded Women’s Equality Party. Her poetry is inspired by the work of the Beats, particularly the work of Diane di Prima. 

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