I will not shoot myself

In the head, and I will not shoot myself

In the back, and I will not hang myself

With a trashbag, and if I do,

I promise you, I will not do it

In a police car while handcuffed

Or in the jail cell of a town

I only know the name of

Because I have to drive through it

To get home. Yes, I may be at risk,

But I promise you, I trust the maggots

Who live beneath the floorboards

Of my house to do what they must

To any carcass more than I trust

An officer of the law of the land

To shut my eyes like a man

Of God might, or to cover me with a sheet

So clean my mother could have used it

To tuck me in. When I kill me, I will

Do it the same way most Americans do,

I promise you: cigarette smoke

Or a piece of meat on which I choke

Or so broke I freeze

In one of these winters we keep

Calling worst. I promise if you hear

Of me dead anywhere near

A cop, then that cop killed me. He took

Me from us and left my body, which is,

No matter what we’ve been taught,

Greater than the settlement

A city can pay a mother to stop crying,

And more beautiful than the new bullet

Fished from the folds of my brain.

Watch Jericho Brown read “Bullet Points” at the New York City Poetry Festival.