The Back Jam Show: Commander Donafay Collins

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The Back Jam Show: Commander Donafay Collins [1]

The year I was
born Eisenhower
signed the 1957
Civil Rights Act.
I’m sure my parents
never imagined
that I would
become a Wayne
County police officer,
as there are worse
things for a black
son to be.

I really wanted
to be a spaceman
but from seven
to midnight,
I’m mixing
old school,
taking it back
and getting it
started tonight.

I’m happy because
I have the best
of both worlds.
My shift at the
downtown Division
two jail ended
one hour ago,
and who would
think I’d rather
spend my Friday
nights spinning music
on the ones and twos.

High-risk inmates
low-risk inmates,
pregnant inmates,
and low-crime inmates,
those fools don’t
put no fear in my heart.
They just regular people
who live,
who love,
who cry,
who die,
who lie,
marry, and raise kids
just like you and me.

What’s more criminal
than letting locked-up
people in a breeding
ground die from
a preventable virus?
Surely not the people in jail.
“You can’t shoot
someone else who
doesn’t have a gun
and call it self-defense.”[2]

What’s up y’all?
This is Donafay
and after thirty
years, I finally
have the shift
I wanted, but I’m
one of eighteen
who tested positive
for the virus,
so tune in,
turn us up,
and pass the word,
I’m on the wheels
of steel, and it’s on
and popping
Mix 92.3FM.[3]

  • Taiyon J. Coleman

    Taiyon J. Coleman is a poet, essayist, and educator. She is Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous collections and magazines.

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