John Lee Clark
Feeling my way down the street, if I ever
feel the cold
kiss of a gun or the cold
lick of a blade, I shall
break the law. I'll
inhale the sweet night air and then
kick the mugger down, my hands
clawing for his throat, all my blind strength
pounding his head. Or else I shall
fall to my death. Please
understand that I don't want to
walk away only to
run smack into a world where every shoe my cane
kisses could be his, every
passing breath could be his, every
leering pair of eyes could be his, every night would
stalk me with his phantom, and such nights would
consume all my days.
“Excessive Force” appeared previously in Aunt Chloe.
John Lee Clark was born deaf and became blind in adolescence. His chapbook of poems is “Suddenly Slow” (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009). His work has appeared in many publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, McSweeney's, and Poetry. Clark lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and three sons.