Monday, January 13, 2014

Robert Cooperman


The opposite of a cloak of invisibility:
put me on and all anyone can see
is a thief, a rapist, a killer spitting rap's
unholy art of beat-downs, knives, and guns.
I was stitched by Satan's own tailors,
a business deal between My Lord
and certain politicians: afraid everyone
might be getting along too damn well.

So they came up with me: to strike terror
into the hearts of already frightened folks.
When otherwise harmless teenagers wear me,
all people see is a thug: angry, vicious,
a gladiator, a monster happy to use his fists—
if otherwise unarmed—on innocent citizens,
then robbing their wallets, purses, rings,
necklaces, bracelets, anything glittery.

Or if they're carrying nothing fence-able,
then just the joy of pounding a head
into the sidewalk, my cotton fibers
singing a silent litany of, "Kill, Kill, Kill!"

Still, you'd be surprised how hard it is
to get someone to attack for no reason;
but if they’re followed by an armed man,
and told to halt and demanded of, in a sneer,

"What the hell are you doing here, boy?"
then—and it’s beautiful to watch—my wearer
goes berserk with predictable outrage:
the carnage truly spectacular, and if my wearer
is shot and killed, purely in self-defense,
someone else will wear me or one of my brothers:
instantly transformed into your worst nightmare.

Deshant Paul reads "The Demon Hoodie":

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Cooperman confesses: "After George Zimmerman, predictably, walked for killing Trayvon Martin, I went into a rage, and "The Demon Hoodie" was the result. We're all, to greater or lesser extents, guilty of racial profile; even Jesse Jackson confessed he's frightened by groups of kids in hoodies on street corners. But what Zimmerman did was basically legalized murder, since he'd been warned off by the police. And we've come to equate hoodies and baggie jeans with a certain kind of antisocial behavior, whether that assumption is correct or not."

ROBERT COOPERMAN is the author of fourteen poetry collections, most recently Little Timothy in Heaven (March Street Press) and several chapbooks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cooperman's poem, saturated with irony, is both scary and amusing, a real trick to pull off. A commentary about our sad country.