March April May 2013
This story is on my art piece, TEARS, which can be seen on my other website, www.mkelleherart.com
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So there was Jesse Jackson --- tears tears tears --- in the Harlem crowd. Everybody so thrilled for the next president of the United States. Then they cut to Oprah. More tears in Grant Park. Me and my sweetie: on the sofa with our tears, too. All choked up in New Jersey. I'm tired. Excited. Oh my God. Unbelievable.
I think about Edward. He had two tears tatooed at the bottom of his left eye. I never asked him if they stood for two he killed. Didn't matter; he couldn't move or feel from the neck down. I didn't need any explanation of something so small, in the midst of massive sadness in the body of a twenty-something man.
Edward always had my love, as much as I could give him inside the lines of appropriate. He looked really good that morning he testified. Hair cut, shaved, spiffy. His personal care assistant was a kind man who came extra early to get him ready.
I had arranged the ambulance to transport him; the EMT's were great. Me and his sister met them at the courthouse.
I was proud of Edward. He took about 5 minutes to testify. I stood in the back of the courtroom, then pushed him to the ambulance waiting in the courthouse basement.
Then back to Desire, his special medical air mattress, the non-stop blaring TV at the foot of the bed, the phone he operated with his mouth.
He could see out the window if his sister wheeled the bed around. Right by the window, second story, Alvar St. driveway. No air conditioning -- ironic, as I looked for the 'Ice Cold Storage' sign across the street to know which driveway was his.
Push him right by the window; look down and see the converging back driveways. The potholes, the oil stains left by shade tree mechanics, and the stripped Cutlass Ciera on cinderblocks down by the basketball hoop that doesn’t have a net. The next Mr. Basketball Jones may come outta here, but I really doubt it. He’s right here, on the special air mattress, by the window.
It looks deserted sometimes. The kids on the back stairs are the best proof that it isn’t a complete poverty ghost town.
Sheets and towels hang on the one good clothesline that’s still attached to the standard. There is some cleanliness afoot. And little baby clothes clipped on there, too. There is innocence, there is hope. Well, there are little tiny baby clean slates, not yet written on.
Tiny shirts and tiny pants and teeny tiny polka dot socks trying to dry in the humidity that makes it all seem wet, all the time, under the blazing sun.
And the weather gods, adding insult to injury, decided there would never be a cool breeze in New Orleans six months out of the year.
So Edward testified for Terrance, an ex-Marine, who he had never met a day in his young bad boy life.
He couldn't walk, but he could talk, and talk he did. He put the lie to Connick Sr's office's attempt to send 4 they-weren't-even-there black males to prison, lock 'em up and throw away the key style.
Edward is probably dead now; quadriplegics don't usually live to old age.
Is there someone out there with a teardrop tattoo under his eye for Edward? Did his delayed, anti-climatic, bedridden life and death measure up and morph into a teardrop trophy according to the rules of the thug's life?
It doesn't matter; I have a place for him in my heart's memory. And Jesse Jackson's got him covered, too.
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