POEM. Open letter on behalf of Brock Turner’s“20 minutes of action”

*In a June 2016 letter to the judge, Dan Turner, father of rapist, Brock Turner, wrote:

“His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve…He’d never even expressed violence before the incident in question…That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action. Out of his 20+ years of life.”

Open letter on behalf of Brock Turner’s“20 minutes of action*,”

Now,

This may come to you as a shock Dan Turner

Given the level of competence you displayed in your quote

I imagine most things are…

But there is no 5-second rule,

Like when food grazes the ground

Rape still counts

No matter how many seconds it lasts

15 years and 4 days ago

The first tower was struck at 8:46am

The other only 17 minutes later

Both towers and families collapsed

In seconds

But we do not mourn the lives of the hijackers

We do not grant amnesty nor leniency

Simply because they pulled it off in under an hour!

Who comforts the grieving families

By adding,

Well

They’ve never killed in the past—

So it’s not really that bad

 

In 20 minutes,

12 people were gunned down at a Colorado

Midnight showing of the Dark Knight

With 13 minutes to spare

But somewhere the police are arriving on time

A soft baby is being cooed to sleep

By a mother with nursery rhymes for eyes

Three black men cloaked in night have made it home

Safely

Bellies swell with fufu, meat, and okra mixed with stew

A black girl exhales deeply

She has big chopped and feels weightless again

Feels suspended in the air

For Usain Bolt,

Even a morsel of a second

Made him the fastest human on Earth

In 20 minutes,

You could listen to 6

Back to back slam poems from survivors

About the shame and guilt they can only shed

For 3 minutes at a time on stage

Just enough

To make this poem relevant for

2 more women

 

When you say “20 minutes of action”

Do you think of doing a load of laundry

Or what will come out in the wash

Do you imagine sweeping your living room

Or picture what you’ve left to rot under your rug

Are you cleaning out your closet

Or burning the bones you’ve buried within it

Is it just half a Fela Kuti song?

An overture without the repeats to you?

 

Have you no regard

For how many crimes you can commit in 20 minutes?

Is your White Male American,

Blue-eyed Upper middle class,

Privileged blonde head

Too far up your own ass to see

How black

And unbothered you can be

In that span

How woman

How unconscious

How non-complying

 

It takes most people 60 minutes

To process ½ oz. of liquor

Do you know how many chances that left Brock

To make a good decision?

 

How dare you trivialize the wrath

A Turner has wreaked in 20 minutes time?

How a Nat Turner

Led a slave rebellion

So calculated

Educating black people became illegal

How an Ike Turner would lay hands,

Snort a line,

And write a song

In a fraction,

Hell,

Even Timmy Turner got 12 wishes

From his Fairly Oddparents

During opening credits

And you expect me to believe

A Turner can’t cause destruction

Can’t rewrite history

Can’t bring people together

Before tearing them apart

 

What you fail to resolve

Is that however spent,

Minutes are the very definition of lifetime.

And if I could only have one to spare on you,

You would never disrespect any of us again.

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