GEOFF KAGAN TRENCHARD
Geoff Kagan Trenchard's poems have been published in Word Riot, The
Nervous Breakdown, The Worcester Review, and November 3rd. As a mentor
for Urban Word NYC, he taught weekly poetry workshops in the foster
care center at Bellevue. He has also taught creative writing workshops in
Rikers Island with Columbia University's "Youth Voices on Lockdown"
Program. He is a recipient of a fellowship from the Riggio Writing and
Democracy program at the New School and the first ever louderARTS
Writing Fellowship. He has performed poetry on HBO's Def Poetry Jam,
at universities throughout the United States, in numerous detention
facilities and in theaters internationally as a member of the performance
poetry troupe, The Suicide Kings. He lives in Brooklyn.
The ongoing list of things I have learned from murderers
On one of our many cut school bus rides, #1 said a girl had been raped.
Her brother had three grand and a mind to do something about it.
He bought yellow kitchen gloves and a new aluminum baseball bat.
Got an address he staked out for days to wait for the first new moon.
Says a skull sounds exactly like a softball when hit hard enough.
At a writing workshop in San Quentin, #2 told me that the gunfight
could have been choreographed by John Woo. Burned his clothes
when he got home, but there wasn't a drop of blood or scorch
of powder got on them. #3 explained that if a drug deal "goes bad"
it looks nothing like the movies. Soon as someone draws, everyone scatters.
Inching his way out of the warehouse, a cleaning woman sneaks up on him.
Shoots her dead before his eyes have time to focus. #4 described a similar story
in the sparse poem nervously read at an open mic. In Baghdad, a thirteen year old boy
put a 7.62mm hole in his shoulder. #4 dropped two .45 caliber slugs in his head.
When he gets off stage I try to shake his hand. He looks at the floor.
#5 was cracked out of his mind in a country most people only see
on commercials for Save the Children. Cop kills his friend. Leaves the body folded
in a sewer pipe. One forty-ounce bottle filled with gasoline burns down a house
a lot faster then you might expect. Doesn't see the tricycle in the front yard
till it leaves his fingers. I changed the title from "An incomplete list"
to "The ongoing list" when I heard over text that #6 smothered an invalid woman
in a nursing home. He was working off the books and had a migraine
that wouldn't let up. No one seems to know any more than that.
There was a summer when the murder rate and temperature in Oakland hovered
around a hundred for two weeks. The night the rain broke,
seven people were killed within a block of my apartment.
None of the incidents were related except for time and place.
Even after I move away these bodies form a perfect crescent around my door.
and I think of myself as a good person
The box said "Snap Dragons" and only cost a dollar.
Sperm-shaped tissue paper pouches that bit the air
with cap-gun crack when thrown. Only slightly
louder than squeezing bubble wrap, but still
endlessly fascinating to our wet ears. That summer, San Jose
installed a light rail system and it was free weekends.
There was a county fair in a mall parking lot. We were big
enough to go on our own, but too small to be out after dark.
All the way there, we hopped off at every stop
to practice our ninja throws at the newspaper boxes and the feet
of old people. We laughed so hard our cheeks ached. Down
to our last few rounds when we reached the fair,
so naturally we needed to drop them from some great height.
At the top of the Ferris wheel, we ignored the orange wash
around us. We couldn't even hear the sound from that high up. Excited
by even the possibility of making a noise somewhere. As the ride slowly
jerked us down, I watched a mother petting the back of a little girl.
A green tear streaked dinosaur speared down her cheek. Small hand
cupped over the eye. Mouth arched in horror,
as if the sky had actually fallen on her.
What about that sound was so intoxicating?
How could no one tell we were the guilty?
Does it matter if we were back before nightfall?
just closed a deal
with Mountain Dew
to produce a new
malt liquor energy drink
that Fifty Cent
on his world tour.
My Nemesis drives
a very expensive car
he could tell you a lot about.
His clothes are tailored,
but he buys whatever
the mannequins are wearing.
Sitting next to him
is a woman who thinks
that the best way
to fame and fortune
is through his cock.
There are very few pictures
of my Nemesis growing up.
He found himself to be
a very ugly child. However,
he still wears his high school
class ring. Birthstone-Sapphire.
Claims it keeps his head
in the youth market.
My Nemesis' business cards
say only his name and number.
If you ask, he will tell you
titles are for land,
At the stop light
he will ask her
to open her blouse
and remove her left breast.
He will take a make up
case from his pocket
and scoop a small serving
of cocaine on her nipple.
My Nemesis does not know
that this woman's cousin
did this exact same thing
on her 13th birthday,
nor would it
give him pause
if he did.
My Nemesis grew up
five blocks from me
in a slightly nicer house.
Whenever he waited
for the bus, it arrived.
The show must go on
I once co-starred in a low-budget heist movie
about three slackers who rob a cannabis club,
shot without permits in the cuts of West Oakland.
Our prop bag included 3 Airsoft pistols, a leaky gas mask
and a bullet proof vest with a hole in it. The day's agenda
began with a 8am call to set to watch the cameraman
for 3 hours. Then director required us to walk
up and down an abandoned side street
like the automated targets in a shooting gallery.
The kids camped in front of the lone liquor store
looked at us like we were the craziest white people
they had ever seen. Around noon, a gaggle of cops
swooped down on a nearby parking lot with news vans
in their wake. As an officer strung the yellow tape
we hid our equipment and asked what happened.
He said a toddler was found in the dumpster.
Eventually they left and we kept filming,
our shadows getting longer and longer as the sun set.
This ruined what's called the continuity.
Makes it easy to tell that the scenes
don't happen in the order they appear.
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