Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Simms: And Jesus Wept

Our friend Christian, an African-American artist and one of the best men I know, told my wife that when he saw the video of the murder of George Floyd, he wept for hours. Floyd was a father, a brother, a man struggling to get by, but the video was clearly something more than a depiction of the murder of one man. It was undeniable proof that a black man’s life has little value in America. Derek Chauvin, a white cop, pressed his knee on Floyd’s throat for almost nine minutes while Floyd begged for his life and called for his mother:

“It’s my face man
I didn’t do nothing serious man
please
please
please I can’t breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can’t breathe
I can’t breathe
Please
(Inaudible)
man can’t breathe, my face
just get up
I can’t breathe
please (inaudible)
I can’t breathe shit
I will
I can’t move
mama
mama
I can’t
my knee
my nuts
I’m through
I’m through
I’m claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
please
please
I can’t breathe officer
don’t kill me
they gon’ kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon’ kill me
they gon’ kill me
I can’t breathe
I can’t breathe
please sir
please
please
please I can’t breathe”


Prose and compilation copyright 2020 Michael Simms

6 comments on “Michael Simms: And Jesus Wept

  1. melpacker
    June 3, 2020

    Jesus was probably an anarchist and an “outside agitator” as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kim4true
    June 3, 2020

    Takes my breath away, and not in the good way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jose Alcantara
    June 3, 2020

    Thank you for posting this. To see George Floyd’s words as a transcript, as a last desperate poem of salvation denied, opens yet another portal. Take the words, by themselves, without the video, and you see what so many are saying: this is not just about George Floyd. How many other transcripts would read fundamentally the same way?

    Liked by 2 people

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