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Weed Brownies (Allegory of the Dispensary)

By Rasheed Copeland

weed brownies      weed cookies            weed Cheetos
lollipops                  and gummies           what a great idea—a weed bar at the wedding
a better idea?         a weed stand at the farmer’s market

               the times are changing

Denver is a blunt-lit city on a hill of hash stuck in an unending cash harvest
and the entire country wants in    from statesmen to soccer moms
who claim to be better moms after they’ve smoked       who pose for periodicals
with their children un-snatched from their arms           their urine, never cupped and sent to lab

               there are some who want out           many mouths of jail cells
tell of different moms caught with crumbs of their boyfriend’s ganja in their cars
lives seized around the time our nation got a head-start battling a war on drugs
it had not yet invented 

                            the block got hot when the propaganda caught fire
and became a televised sermon—viral as the holy ghost       shot up in every city
and suburb          imagined an entire colony of plump-nosed and wooly haired monsters
living below the poverty line as if it were the underbelly of a bed they haunted

elected the cannabis to be the gateway to the guns and theft             a prelude
to the dads with a pox of track marks climbing their arms   the moms
with eyes empty as poppy fields swallowed by brushfire. 

it was a horror campaigned and canonized in the cells      until it could not be unseen
so even when you closed your eyes          it was still there                not in the nightmares
but in the prayers             and what an awesome god fear proved to be
to have the masses offer their reason to its altar     for the right to remain tucked away
in the safety of their skin, 

for what is faith, if not the evidence of things not seen      on a corner
kept far enough away       for the alto of a police siren to be heard
so faint it lulls you to sleep             the remote blare paired with an endless percussion
of baton to skull,                of boots laying doors flat on their stomachs
of flat palms patting pockets in search of mere leaves               the leaves sprouting into trees
at the whim of a judge’s gavel slamming against a sound block

it all makes for someone’s sweet dreams   a brown citizen stripped of their rights
to the sun          scolded for not choosing school                     and given a run-on sentence.

a hipster given a business loan         a set of new rules that fit like spandex
and bend to their every move           a corner of real estate held at ballpoint
where the cops rush through the doors and pat their own pockets

                                                                                                                              in search of exact change.




Listen as Rasheed Copeland reads "Weed Brownies (Allegory of the Dispensary.

Added: Wednesday, February 27, 2019  /  Used with permission. Photo by Naji Copeland. This Split This Rock poem is presented as part of "What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy," the third annual programming initiative of the Poetry Coalition. This national initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation secured by the Academy of American Poets.
Rasheed Copeland
Photo by Naji Copeland

Rasheed Copeland is a native of Washington, DC. He is the author of The Book of Silence: Manhood As a Pseudoscience (Sergeant Press, 2015) and is a recipient of a 2016 and 2017 DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Award. He placed 2nd in the world at the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam. He is currently studying English at the undergraduate level at Howard University. His work has been featured in online publications such as The Quarry and Public Pool. He has performed across the country and has been featured locally at renowned venues such as the Howard Theatre and the Lincoln Theatre.

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