Black Poets Speak Out, Shelly Bell, Black Men as America’s Secret Shoppers

I am black
I am a poet
and I will not remain silent while this nation murders black people.


Secret Shopper:

You must be black
between the ages of newborn and forever

Must have questionable behavior
like stealing cigarellos
wearing hoodies
going to clubs
smoking cigarettes
and/or getting bad grades

Must have skin the color of danger
able to absorb at least 6 shots
be able to make officers feel threatened
from at least 20 feet away
with voice
with your hands up
or in your pockets
or by your side

Police departments all across America
are now seeking black men as secret shoppers

A good secret shopper is always anonymous.
You should be able to be harassed by the same
Officers several times without growing disdain.
You should appear to “fit the description”
Your humanity must remain secret

You must have slave flesh
Believed to have been built for beating
your body may need to lay in the street 4 hours
handcuffs may need to control your asthma
fist and flashlight may need to test your tough
police may need the butt of a gun to say goodbye
to what really happened.

During a shopping assignment
aka altercation
with police
Wear a hoodie
grab your wallet
Say things out of the ordinary like
I’m just a few feet away from my destination.
Why am I being stopped?
I can’t breath!
don’t shoot!

You must submit your most innocent looking
adolescent pictures for media use
the “almost made it to community college”
or “was about to marry the love of his life”
narratives are preferred.

Reliable shoppers appear on police reports
within 24-72 hours after interactions
Give new meaning to meeting “dead lines”
Bleeding is a formality
If caught dead on assignment
have witnesses

America believes Black boys can outlive excessive force.
You will help us prove
our money well spent.
Our police chiefs well vetted.
We will secretly assign you a stereotypical black male profile.
mismatch the demographics in your community with the proper police
Send you into the arms of officers
to see if they’ll bag you, barter with you, or let you live to shop again.

Here at www dot secret shopper dot com
we employ all black males whether they apply or not.
Help us improve police efficacy
by being target practice
Help us analyze trends in police brutality
by continually living with black skin
looking police in the eye
and pleading for your life

Help us evaluate the static in 911 calls
by testing the amount of shots we can hear in the background
scream a little louder
hit the ground a little harder
Use video to help us verify
that black life doesn’t matter

While we know that every
black male can stand a beating
Not everyone will make it through their assignment
Lucky for you
The compensation
is living long enough to see your son
become a secret shopper

Copyright 2014 Shelly Bell


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