Hit play below to hear Robert Lynn read his poem “On Account of Getting His Leg Broke by New York City” and scroll down for the full text. “On Account of Getting His Leg Broke by New York City” is featured in MQR’s Fall 2020 Issue. On Account of
The origin of the police is slave patrols. Human beings held in chattel slavery could not escape. Police were used to break strikes and make sure that people could not organize to have decent working conditions. So, the origins of the police were about protecting racial boundaries and protecting property.
One of the chief ways that language feels just vastly not up to the job is when I try to think about the divine, when I try to think about the power is greater than myself that governs my living and makes me want to live in a way that is counter to my nature.
“Take this down carefully,” a man told the Los Angeles Times over the phone on the morning of September 13, 1972. “I just bombed an Arab’s house in Hollywood. No Arab is going to be safe in this country. Never Again. Never Again. Never Again.”
I’m just saying this: Yes, I’m locked up, and it is hard. I don’t want to be here. I do not know what this sentence means. But I also hold joy. I am in love. I have fears. I have insecurities. I’m capable of violence. I’ve hurt people. I’ve helped people. And I am more than my struggles.