Apology Hour with the Sweet Hotel

​​Demetrius “Meech” A. Buckley


A diagonal precision of a caller’s vigilance, remote
distinct voice whole like bloom.
I’m sorry for being Black. Sorry
I became too much of a nigga
when thrown into a systemic
pipeline meant for observation. I’m sorry
if I made a falling look like flying,
wind beneath wing, it’s all blood.
I’m sorry
for ever thinking I could be sorry, for planting
an idea that where I stand is vilified.
Sorry for standing, for taking up space
like old junk in a basement
the accumulation of gifts
we’re collectors of trivial things
thinking it matters if something is learned or learnt—
Sorry for being inconsiderately me, if that means anything.
Sorry I am all guck under a Nike shoe instead
of the black body that is carrying, searching
for the chosen person
who has one on his person. Sorry if I meant
to be a grand spectacle of my own kind
and my sagging flamboyant turn faces
and my young momma with her newborn
ensconced on her hip
looks lazy and keeping a job is like
keeping your cool when a citizen’s arrest
is a homicide that goes unnoticed. I’m sorry
if this poem isn’t actually clear or how I think
Jesus and his Pearl-white skin
will save us from this transitory
vestibule. I’m sorry for using the word vestibule
when I meant vessel, which is what
we call liquids in containers.
So there is no difference when emptied.
I’m sorry for the mugging when I gawk by,
and not the actual mugging
when someone who looks like me snatches a purse
but the bent up face of grief that I could be thinking of it.
I’m sorry for having to explain my grief,
reminding you that my long day began before birth,
and your pocket change doesn’t belong to me,
nor your new job with benefits, and the schools in your neighborhood
are not for my children—
if I could remember
what they looked like. I’m sorry to say unclench
because even as a young man I had
up-to-no-good eyes, and maybe it’s
how I look. Maybe what you think about me is wrong, the
over-analytical wronging when I’m just being, being Black.