News Poem: ‘Law’

News Poem: ‘Law’



For the clatter of broken bullets

four hours on the pavement

spent on unimportant




body for four

Darren Wilson the cop


would have picked up

McCullough the DA


no charges


Nixon the Governor


“Hands up




un armed





don’t shoot!”


riddledbody flat




facing cop

far off




bro ken



The Colorado Independent‘s News-Stained Poetry Project features poems that are about the news, products of the news, responses to the news. “News stained” is meant as a badge of honor, a reference to the long tradition of the poet as witness. As Carolyn Forché wrote, politics can sometimes be seen as a “contaminant to serious literary work,” something to be avoided. But that way of thinking, she said, “gives the political realm too much and too little scope… It renders the personal too important and not important enough.” News developments, whether or not they are reported, shape our personal lives every day. We don’t often think in the moment about how that is happening and what it means. We should think more about it. Poets think about it. And we want to help encourage them to write more about it.

Please send submissions to tips@coloradoindependent.comsubject line “poem,” with a short bio and some mention of where and when the poem was written.


[A man in Denver stands before a line of cops preventing protestors from blocking I-25 after the Ferguson Grand Jury decision. Image via DAM Collective.] 

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About the Author

Alan Gilbert

He is the John Evans professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His most recent book is Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (Chicago March, 2012).

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