Looking for Mercy, Stuck in a Nightmare
By Luna Azcurrain
These poems explore the injustices of the criminal justice system in America. Too many people have been targeted. Too many people have been wronged. These poems can’t bring about immediate change, but the goal is to draw more attention to the issue. The original works I selected are from Just Mercy, a novel written by Bryan Stevenson, who has done lots of work with death row inmates. The second piece is the song “Dreams and Nightmares” written by rapper Meek Mill, who kept on getting tied back into the system for small probation violations. These poems emphasize the encounters black men have with law enforcement.
Looking for Mercy
Weapon Pointed at me Run “Move or I’ll blow your head off” the ofﬁcer shouted I tried to stay calm White man, black uniform Pointed gun He seemed nervous Remember it’s okay Afraid. Terriﬁed. I kept saying the words over and over It’s okay.
Stuck in a Nightmare
I used to pray To shine Spent time Locked up Cuﬀs on wrists Nightmares come true Bless me please Before them triggers squeeze Tryna take my life All I know its murder when it comes to me They love me when I am stuck Hate that Im lionhearted I don’t say a word, I don't say a word Was on my grind and now I got what I deserve King of my city Had to wait for my spot Hating on me Waiting on me Remember me Friends turn in to enemies Turn my enemies to memories Im gone
Poetry has never been a genre of writing that has sparked my interest, but after learning about erasure poetry through one of Girls Write Now’s monthly workshops, my perspective completely changed. Erasure poetry allows you to create your own work through someone else’s. I chose to work with two pieces relating to the criminal justice system, which is a topic I am very passionate about. Through erasure poetry, I was able to take the parts that most inspired me from the original work and create a more dramatic piece.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE LUNA AZCURRAIN & MENTOR CARINA STORRS
Luna’s Anecdote: I have had the pleasure of working with Carina for two years now and I couldn’t have been paired with a better mentor! She makes the time no matter what to consult with me and talk about my work. Her feedback is always well thought-out and teaches me so much about the writing world. The positive energy she brings makes it so easy to work with her. I look forward to many more Wednesdays at Pret A Manger!
Carina’s Anecdote: Luna and I clicked right from the start over our love of travel and food. But we really connected toward the end of our first year over our similar experiences having divorced parents. I was thrilled when Luna started putting these down on paper during one of our meetings at whichever Union Square coffee shop had an open table that day. She has a gift for portraying the bittersweetness of family relationships. I hope many more people will read her words! Our second year working together has just made me more in awe of Luna’s understated talent. I will not be remotely surprised when she heads out and changes the world.
Luna Azcurrain is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.