IN THE ARTS: COULD WE PLEASE GIVE THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO THE GRANDMOTHERS?
Artist and Activist Junauda Petrus
Could we please give the police departments to the grandmothers?
Give them the salaries and the pensions and the city vehicles, but make them a fleet of vintage corvettes, jaguars and cadillacs, with white leather interior. Diamond in the back, sunroof top and digging the scene with the gangsta lean.
Let the cars be badass!
You would hear the old school jams like Patti Labelle, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker and Al Green. You would hear Sweet Honey in the Rock harmonizing on “We who believe in freedom will not rest” bumping out the speakers. And they got the booming system.
If you up to mischief, they will pick you up swiftly in their sweet ride and look at you until you catch shame and look down at your lap. She asks you if you are hungry and you say “yes” and of course you are. She got a crown of dreadlocks and on the dashboard you see brown faces like yours, shea buttered and loved up
And there are no precincts.
Just love temples, that got spaces to meditate and eat delicious food. mangoes, blueberries, nectarines, cornbread, peas and rice, fried plantain, fufu, yams, greens, okra, pecan pie, salad and lemonade.
Things that make your mouth water and soul arrive.
All the hungry bellies know warmth, all the children expect love. The grandmas help you with homework, practice yoga with you and teach you how to make jamabalaya and coconut cake. From scratch.
When your sleepy she will start humming and rub your back while you drift off. A song that she used to have the record of when she was your age. She remembers how it felt like to be you and be young and not know the world that good. Grandma is a sacred child herself, who just circled the sun enough times into the ripeness of her cronehood.
She wants your life to be sweeter.
When you are wildin’ out because your heart is broke or you don’t have what you need the grandmas take your hand and lead you to their gardens. You can lay down amongst the flowers. Her grasses, roses, dahlias, irises, lilies, collards, kale, eggplants, blackberries. She wants you know that you are safe and protected, universal limitless, sacred, sensual, divine and free.
So give the police departments to the grandmas, they are fearless, classy and actualized. Blossomed from love. They wear what they want and say what they please.
There wouldn’t be noise citations when the grandmas ride through our streets, blasting Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Alice Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, KRS-One. All that good music. The kids gonna hula hoop to it and sell her lemonade made from heirloom pink lemons and maple syrup. The car is solar powered and carbon footprint-less, the grandmas designed the technology themselves.
At night they park the cars in a circle so all can sit in them with the sun roofs down, and look at the stars, talk about astrological signs, what to plant tomorrow based on the moons mood and help you memorize Audre Lorde and James Baldwin quotes. She always looks you in the eye and acknowledges the light in you with no hesitation or fear. And grandma loves you fiercely forever.
She sees the pain in our bravado, the confusion in our anger, the depth behind our coldness. Grandma know what oppression has done to our souls and is gonna change it one love temple at a time. She has no fear.
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