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HomeArts-EntertainmentArts & LiteraturePoem "Dear Derek" by Sandra C. Bradley

Poem “Dear Derek” by Sandra C. Bradley


The Source Arts & Literature section highlights the work of our creative readers. All visual artists and creative writers are encouraged to share with us new works. Please see below for full submission guidelines. 


It doesn’t take a genius to understand,

Cutting off oxygen is how to kill a man.

What were you thinking, Derek Chavin,

That in the land of the legends you would be king?


On that fatal day you got one thing right,

Black men are powerful and full of might.

You thought that by ending his life with your knee,

You could erase blackness from history?


Do you think you’d get a medal or maybe a prize?

In nine plus minutes did you realize

That a man’s life was ebbing away under you…

He was handcuffed and prone, what could he do?


Who ripped out your heart and replaced it with stone,

It didn’t move you to hear a man groan?

You closed your ears to the cries of one,

Didn’t you know he was a mother’s son?


To mothers you owe an apology,

Prayers for their boys are made on their knee.

On knees battles are fought and victories won

How dare you use your knee like a gun!


Nineteen years on the job, is what they said

And at the culmination a black man was dead.

More years of unlearning we still have to do,

To sensitize and make color blind men in blue.


My wish is now that as we begin to heal,

At the altar confessing your wrongs you will kneel

That a story of victory we’ll be able to tell

As you spend 40 years dying in your cell.


Sandra C. Bradley is a Source reader who loves to explore the power of words, the pits of an avocado and the peacefulness of nature.

Poetry and creative prose submissions are limited to 1,500 words and should include a brief bio of the writer. Visual art submissions should include at least one high-quality image or video and a very brief bio along with an artist’s statement that speaks to the inspiration of the work. The statement should include the title if there is one, the medium used and what the work means to you.

Please send submissions and questions to visourceart@gmail.com.

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