Downtown, Anywhere

is my father
“Always watch where you’re going”
“Always watch what others are doing”
“Never look at them directly”
I always looked down when I walked growing up
I remember the first time I looked up
at Monument Circle
“Is that the Statue of Liberty?” 
my boyish schema asked my dad
“No, it is the Statue of Victory” 
his journey from Brooklyn to Indianapolis replied
What’s the difference: 
liberty, victory, 
book, sword, 
crown, eagle’s nest, 
For twenty-seven years I was convinced 
The Statue of Victory faced north
and had skin like mine
until I took a picture 
in the tallest building  
Salesforce Tower
Chase Tower
Bank One Tower
American Fletcher Tower
Fletcher Avenue 
Fletcher Place (probably some white guy’s name)
above Lady Victory
facing south
This is the closest I’ve ever been
to this bronze-skinned sistah
and I don’t even know her actual name
only the one she was given
With a mobile camera I follow her
down her maker’s assembly of history’s stone still shots
come to life in my tilting and panning
surveying and strolling and shooting
Police cars on S Meridian (another European term)
I thought were corresponding to the traffic cones directing the opposite lane
I dare
not open the doors in front of signs that say “Welcome” 
In front of the cops
as they cuff escort a brotha to the back
of a paddy wagon 
I didn’t see them lift him
I only heard the first door shut behind me
I turned to see his last sense of freedom
There was a white wall and black holes
like a crate 
My last name means one who “transports goods by cart”
a family name 
my family name
my father’s 
family name 
my slave name

Malachi Carter is a proud Far East Side Indy poet. He describes his writing as “those inner city school field trips to a Broadway musical (before, during, and after).” As a third year poet in his thesis at Butler University, his works are a nod and dab to the city. His daily commute consists of teaching English and history at a high school for adults, The Excel Center. When his student asks if he has kids, he replies “yes, about a hundred,” serving as the Director of Elementary at Overcoming Church. As his weekly schedule would suggest, Malachi is occupied with joy in his heart. Other joys include performing spoken word, rapping, shooting photographs, and swing dancing. He loves drinking tea, so maybe over a cup Malachi can show you his podcast, Unapologetics Podcast or his mixtapes, blackhistory and blackhistorytoo. Malachi interchangeably expresses his art as “A+scribe” and would like for his listeners to know that the plus sign is silent.

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