Ode To The Cell Phone

Ode to the Cell Phone

Lew Rosenbaum

We were sitting

in Royal Coffee

talking about

Ferguson, Missouri

cops killing

a young

black man


in the act of surrender

shooting him six times,

we were reading the

newspaper story

written by people


no different

than you

and I

a man and woman

outraged by events

wanting, needing

to give voice to

ordinary people

in the pages of

the People’s Tribune


When through the window

we saw a late 90s


cruise around the corner

come to a stop on Pratt

right there

across the street

under the amber

street light

followed by,

pulled over by

a blue-light special SUV.


Two cops stepped down

from their perch,

approached the olds

the one on the driver’s side

barked a command

and the driver

hands on the dashboard

an attitude that screamed

“I’ll do whatever you want

but see I don’t have a gun”

sat back

opened the door

with one hand

while keeping the other

in plain sight

gingerly planted his feet

outside onto the ground

slowly stood

then reached in his pocket

for his license,

the whole



like a liquid



A young woman

rides around the corner

on her bicycle,

dressed in shorts

this late summer day,

carrying her back pack

on her way home

from work?

or school?

mouth watering

as she almost smells

the barbecue waiting

on the table,

perhaps dreaming

of her children’s smiles,

gap toothed,

welcoming her home


but she stops short

to watch the

grim scene play out

the traffic stop

across from Royal Coffee

maybe it’s

more than it seems,

she reaches into her jacket

withdraws her cell phone

from her pocket

and records

the transaction


This time this wasn’t

Roshad McIntosh

Charles Brown

Ezell Ford

DeSean Pittman


But she was ready

to record

and spread

the news if

the unspeakable


bring us all

into the conversation

dig deep

into the groove of

our common humanity

demand our response


we could not dream about

a decade ago

bring us all together.


Think about it!

Were there others

peering from the

apartment windows,

cell phones in hand,

ready to record



Think about it!


That electronic technology

that chains us today

in the prison of

unemployment lines

what could it do

in the hands

of the people

what spirit it could unleash!

what possibilities accomplish!

what wounds it could heal!