the cage

by Devin Murphy

fatty arbuckle
redd foxx and a can of hot soup
shooting hoops on west third street
before a crowd at sixth avenue
it’s all outside
it’s beautiful, it’s what
new yorkers do
caged plays with summer days
wasting lazy afternoons
changed to shade
draped in gray
spent the whole of the day
a few moves too soon
school clothes in piles
on blacktop
outside of the lock-up
outside of every afternoon
of our youth
kids got uniforms too
kids know forms of abuse
kids learn torture in schools
and, now
trading all for courtside
fatty arbuckle with
the alley-oop
redd foxx in the white socks
drops back down
helicopter dunks in front of
alvin, the chipmunks,
the sad clown
crowd grunts
as the cops move in, too
gotta see what’s the scoop
gotta make sure
it ain’t them
who lose
this hoop dream
dream sequence
monday afternoon
montage review of the
mean streets and soft schools
treaty of versailles part 2
of two
or three
it’s addressing history
it’s riskier to believe
that people can have a motive
besides making money
and still be free
in today’s society
you know,
it’s beyond reprieve
to be invested in
time-draining activity
without a grounding in necessity
with commodification as
a goal to reach
so, we’ve got corporate free speech|
and a national mandate to achieve
ATM jizm release and overdraft fees
there ain’t much room for poetry,
we’ve got people making billions
and you expect me to believe
we can’t find
the money to educate properly?
so, speculate on hope
and we go
back to the street
to see the
mickey dee’s across the way
caddy corner to the cage
you’ve seen it on the news
it’s famous on youtube
for a mugging viewed more
across the web
than lover ronald’s pink goo
it survives on draining our youth,
and bloating them, too
and we let their lobbyists decide
how we label our food
so true,
there’s money out there
it just isn’t for me or you
you’ve got to find it, but
people tend to sit on wealth
i say ignite it
don’t let them hide it
don’t let them decide that
they want to keep 91% of
what we do
yeah, maybe they own things now
once you kill the king
you own the noose

This poem was submitted as part of our communal poetry project, voces (voices) of the people (poets). If you’d like to contribute, please review the link, and send your poem to

BB Feb 2015