Power (for Elijah McClain) by Joann Renee Boswell

On July 9 we celebrated the publication of Cosmic Pockets, the debut book of poetry from Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic regular Joann Renee Boswell. Joann was our featured reader, and she did not disappoint.

Along with a selection of poems from her new book, Joann shared this new piece dedicated to Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Colorado man murdered by police while walking home from the store on August 24, 2019. Elijah was a massage therapist who enjoyed playing guitar and violin.

His mother has set up a GoFundMe account.

Sign the petition calling for justice for Elijah McClain.

Printed Matter Vancouver is proud to present Joann’s poem because we believe the harassment, torture, and murder of Blacks by police must stop. Black Lives Matter.


By Joann Renee Boswell

— for Elijah McClain


The Man sprays pepper

calls down twitter gods

becomes loudest voice

strangles sound from little birds


white hot rage froths

each bully feels bullied

by being called bully

retaliate with billy clubs


Oh country, my country

Peace is a power

Generosity is a power

Love is a power too


each a gift of glass

delicate sheets

transparent, deadly

when twisted to exclude


you are giddy


numb to reason

silent to emotion


power is privilege and music

violin strings massaging biceps

sing sweet security by candlelight

—but you contort them, suffocate the gentle


walk back to work

every day. untouchable.

bear the weight of conscience.

bare the fragility of skin tone.

I just care that you stay woke July 11 2020
I just care that you stay woke by Christopher Luna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s