This summer, inspired by the beautiful example of my poet friend Judith McKune Kunst, I signed up to participate in a poetry project called Lament for the Dead. My part in this project was to write a lament for an individual who died during an interaction between the police and the public- whether that person be an officer, a criminal, a suspect or an innocent. On August 22nd, I was given the name and a few details about a person who died in the previous few days and I then had 24 hours to write a poem for him.
My poem, “Pablo C. Tiersten, 38, Kansas City,” was posted this morning.
For more information about this project, please check out their website and read some of the moving poems there. They have helped me to pause and reflect on the scope of the violence we accept in our society. And whether we should accept it.
“Lament for the Dead is an online community poetry project which will mark the death of every person killed by police this summer, and every police officer who loses life in the line of duty, with a poem.The first lie that hate tells us is that any other person is not as human as we are.
This project resists that lie by recognizing each other’s humanity, even in the most difficult places.”