Words for Sean Bell and Thoughts on Troy Davis

I wrote the following piece “Words for Sean Bell [1]” right when he was shot and murdered by NYPD. It was also in my book, “Cold, Black, and Hungry”. I’m not sure of the relation, but with the Troy Davis execution yesterday, my body was chilled and I was reminded of how I lived in Jamaica Queens, one block from where Sean Bell was murdered. I believe it was truly the fact that both were black men, somewhat young, and victims (in my eyes) of injustice. I’ll probably end up writing more about Troy Davis soon. But for now, here’s a brief poetic-prose piece I wrote about Sean, and importantly how the streets and society will always see a black man as nothing more than an animal to be put to sleep.


Bronx skies are dangerously appealing, like the streets by Zerega Avenue off the 6 Train, seducing young Black men into their clutches, or murdering one (as in Queens) after his bachelor party as if he were Sean Bell. But this isn’t Queens—it’s The Bronx, where we can assume that things just don’t go down like that. Where we can assume Black men won’t be shot 50 times by a NYPD officer. Where we can assume that times aren’t so rough. But it does happen like that. There are no assumptions, just miscalculations, like how many rounds of ammunition it should take to kill a nigger.
The sky battles with the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice with handguns disguised as bare limbs with fallen leaves up to its ankles; and she is no longer the referee—nor does she want to be one any longer. The sky knows that she must take sides. She also knows that it takes 50 shots to kill a Black man because they are indestructible, the modern-day Superman without a cape who’ll never fly in these skies unless he chances upon a ride into its real inner city.


[1] Sean Bell (May 18, 1983–November 25, 2006) was a Black American who was shot and killed by plainclothes NYPD detectives on November 25, 2006. Bell was leaving his bachelor party in Jamaica, Queens, sparking criticism of the police for the killing of an unarmed man, comparable to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo. Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting were indicted by a grand jury for the incident.

About Stephen Earley Jordan II

Author of "Beyond Bougie", "Cold, Black, and Hungry" and many other books. www.StephenEarleyJordan.com
This entry was posted in Class, Gender, Race and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Words for Sean Bell and Thoughts on Troy Davis

  1. Sumeeta Patnaik says:

    I love this poem. As a reader, I feel as though I am an eyewitness to this event, and I am left with the feeling that, sadly, nothing will ever change. The wheels of justice never spin in the right direction.

  2. Lena Townes says:

    I liked it alot…I’m aging myself,thinking how growing up in the Bronx during the 80’s I remember Eleanor Bumpers…as a young girl, it awakened me that NYPD just doesn’t care. I thought we got passed such obvious racism and then Sean Bell, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard (109th & Columbus creepin…) I went straight home crying thinking how I have a little black boy that has to grow up in this world.

  3. Stephen Bess says:

    Fantastic writing as always. Love the site Stephen.

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