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Black Man Walking

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black man walking down the street;
black man sitting to wait for his kids from school;
black woman kissing her white boyfriend on a Hollywood street
which cops take to be a reason to put her in handcuffs;
black man gasping I can’t breathe;
black woman driving a red Nissan with her four children
stopped because the cops are looking for a tan Toyota;
black teenager beaten by police who imagine
he’s up to no good when he cuts across the lawn
to visit his grandmother,
and the boy, a violinist, is hurt enough
that he can’t
play viola
anymore.

One instance
         after another
         after another
         another …

− Liane Ellison Norman


Liane Ellison Norman is the author of two books of poems, The Duration of Grief and Keep; a novel, Stitches in Air: A Novel About Mozart’s Mother; and a biography, Hammer of Justice: Molly Rush and the Plowshares Eight, in addition to many short articles and essays. She earned a PhD in English and American Literature from Brandeis University in 1967 and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Grinnell College in 1991. After 20 years of teaching literature and writing in colleges and universities, she founded the Pittsburgh Peace Institute in 1984 to teach realistic alternatives to the violent conduct of conflict. She has been active in civil rights, peace, nonviolence and justice movements during her adult life and ran for the U.S. Senate in 1982 against Sen. John Heinz and Cyril Wecht. Norman served as development director for Chatham Baroque from its founding to 2001, when she retired. She is currently working on several books of poetry. She lives in Shadyside. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.




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