First Offense

by Alan King

i barely remember the faces
of the officers   just a warm,
wet breeze tugging the shirt
against my sweaty body

the red & blue bouncing 
off the buildings around us
while i'm patted down   before
walking the curb and counting
backwards from 90 to 69

i was 16   never drove through 
the city by myself   was following 
my mom returning a rental

i tried to tell them this and how
we lost each other in traffic, but 
they appeared clueless   as if 
i spoke in some alien tongue

you have any narcotics
on you, they asked, have 
you been drinking?

i've never smoked reefer and still
hate the taste of beer, my dad will
tell you this laughing about the time
i picked up his can of coke and
choked on the rum he'd mixed in

or how under interrogation
he found out my brother'd been
drinking his Hennessey

step out of the vehicle!

it was evening...a kid pointed
out the window of his parents'
car at a red light

and i was once that child, watching
other young brothas handcuffed,
sitting on the curb while their trunks
and backseats were searched

my mind constructing 
a series of scenarios for
how they got themselves
into that situation

wondering at 10, why 
those guys didn't like the 
friendly police, who were 
just doing their jobs

First Offense by Alan King

© Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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