You wouldn’t think that a city that was burned
and razed during the Civil War
and had a chance to restart
would still have an infrastructure like this.
The highways aren’t for the weak.
Driving isn’t aggressive or defensive,
it’s reactionary. Why get closer to the exit lane
when you can coast in the furthest left one
and merge into four consecutive lanes
right before the exit?
Billboards litter the sky more than trash
does the actual roads. There’re signs for:
– Don’t vote for this guy. He’s racist
– Either a chain, gentrified, or overpriced
– Not as racist
Rules of the road,
– Don’t text and drive asshole
The trains aren’t that far from the highway.
If one of the carts were going fast enough
and happened to derail, it would probably land
on the interstate. Don’t fret, cause public transportation
is as safe as it’s been for a while. There was a time
when the towers fell. That’s when it didn’t feel safe.
No one felt safe.
The woman clutched her bag a bit tighter
when she laid eyes on that teen.
It’s hard to imagine that the city that once held
the eternal Olympic flame, harbors the flames
of hate on its mountain. The KKK
still meets on top of Stone Mountain.
The same mountain where on the 4th they use lasers to bring life
to the confederate generals plastered on the mountain’s side.
Those pyrotechnics for those racists on the 4th
turn into gunfire from racists on the 5th.
I don’t feel safe.
There’s a rainbow crosswalk near the city’s heart
but its not for folks like me. The Gay Mecca of the South
doesn’t want any brown. They’ll spit
upon your temple and hurl slurs with the weight of boulders.
It may be the Hollywood of the South,
but I don’t see any luxury in these hills.
Our queens are dying.
Our voices are being drowned out.
Our blackness is a mere shadow
ignored and exploited by those of the fairer skin.
Welcome to Atlanta.
Fend for yourself as the city sure won’t.
The White men in the gold domed building
look out for people like them.
White, wealthy, and privileged.
The queered and colored beware.
We aren’t safe.
Trey Rhone is a senior writing and linguistics major from Augusta, Georgia. When he’s not writing poems about his dad, he enjoys listening to music (ask him about his funeral playlist) and playing video games. He wants to become a professor of creative writing with a focus in poetry.