You Might Not Want To Go Online Today – Tara-Michelle Ziniuk

The night George Zimmerman is acquitted I am crying about a boy, or two.
I am making an online wish list from the sex toy store, replying to texts.
I am reading about the Boston bomber to see if I still hate prisons; am certain that I do.
I stare and wonder if I should wear or burn a hoodie, knowing that it doesn’t matter.

Trayvon Martin was not my son. This much is clear.

I lift my own daughter from her big kid bed; bring her into the covers with me, as I’m sure so many American moms do that night. There is something in knowing, something in being able to know.

How do the Zimmerman’s sleep tonight?

I wonder for a nightcap, streetlight shining into my window.

Everyone talks about race but no one talks about Jesus and I’m having a hard time talking about America without talking about the fear of G-d. I’m having a hard time talking about poverty without talking about the hope for Christ. I feel like American Idol might know more than we do this time.

I miss phone trees because they’re the closest I’ve ever been to collective consciousness. When we did jail support, at least we knew where each other were without having to go online to research.

An actor from Glee, Canadian, dies hours into the Zimmerman verdict. The Internet starts talking about the youth. Everyone is looking for someone to tell them how to feel. What will the newspapers say; could they let us know early? We refresh our screens to find out.

You and I have a habit of calling each other to warn each other not to read the news. Or to check it prepared.

You’re overseas the night this all goes down, and the time difference makes me unsure of what time zone reality is happening in.

Do you already know? Will you hear this all in Norwegian first? If you do, will you know what it means?

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk is a writer, editor, media-maker, menu reader and tired radical. She is the author of two books of poetry Emergency Contact (McGilligan Books, 2006) and Somewhere to Run From (Tightrope Books, 2009)and has been published in The National Post, The Grid, Maximum Rocknroll, Bitch Magazine and other magazines, anthologies, newspapers and online. She’s also written for radio and stage. Recent poetry of hers appears in PRISM and Matrix. She is currently working on her first full-length prose book—a creative non-fiction project about prisons, justice, blood and abusive families (of origin and chosen—a term she doesn’t love.)

This poem was workshopped in a seminar with poet hero Eileen Myles.

Tara-Michelle lives in Toronto with her daughter. 

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