The Business Of Profiling

– for Ahmed Mohamed, all who came before him, and all those yet to come…

Excuse me, Mr. Chimera — won’t you 
smile for the camera?
Won’t you please smile, Mr. Chimera?
How many beasts strong are you, 
Mr. Chimera? How many beasts 
do you harbor inside?

We must deconstruct you 
like a problematic sentence,
ensure that every word
is analyzed for bullets and grudge;

is it tick, tick, tick
or tick, tock, tick, tock
we are hearing, Mr. Chimera? 

Are you bomb
or timepiece, timepiece or bomb?

Your outside makes us fear
what might be inside…
what’s inside you, Mr. Chimera,
what’s inside?

Are you angry enough 
to explode now,
or are you just growing toward fire
later on?  

Two choices, Mr. Chimera;
two choices, no in between, no 
alternative. It’s beyond our imagination
that we might not be right
and if there’s a chance we are right
we must act as if it is a certainty,

no matter how odd or angry
that seems to you. 
We’re not sorry at our lack of remorse:
the forms must be followed, Mr. Chimera,
the forms must be followed…

So won’t you smile, nod, 
dress right, Mr, Chimera;
won’t you stand with your hands
behind your back in your natural stance,
Mr. Chimera?  Why won’t you smile,
Mr. Chimera? Why don’t you smile?
Why can’t we get you to smile? 


About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

One response to “The Business Of Profiling

  • Eileen

    Lots of levels and possibilities here. Well written and provocative as usual.
    When I was thirteen my mother told me I was mousy, I looked mousy, I walked mousy, I spoke so mousily that no one could hear me, and I didn’t have any personality. That if someone gave me a penny, I should sparkle. I should smile at everyone and act delighted with everything. So, I did.
    In some ways she was right, it made a huge difference in the way other people related to me.
    I wasn’t allowed to show anger, so I beat on my mattress so no one would hear me being angry. As I got older, I just put a lid on anger.
    Funny thing was, everyone else knew I was angry before I did. My face would flush and get hot and I didn’t even notice, I was so busy trying to bury my anger.
    A few years ago a grocery clerk who was checking out my groceries asked me how I was. I replied, “Not good. I have a horrible headache.”
    He stopped adding up my groceries, looking at me with surprise and asked, “Why are you smiling then?”
    I didn’t even know I was.

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