How Many More Must Die? – Walter Wallace, Jr.

How Many More Must Die?

Your words
laid dormant
in your throat 
Trapped, unsafe
to release like a
cocooned butterfly
in harsh conditions
unable to escape
its prison
as doing so
would be unsafe
Your sounds, that
of pain and frustration
Not violence
Your illness was
not a crime
Needing help
and understanding
The color of your skin
Yet misread
and calculated 
as dangerous
You died from
their hatred, power
and systemic racism,
not fear
Fear is their
convenient crutch
Worn away from
over use
They looked you in the eye
With fire power pointed
at your heart
Ordering you to drop
a knife
When you did not
you were not
wounded or restrained
You were murdered
before your
grieving family
What is one more?
Two more?
Many, many more?
Enough, it is enough
we cry!
They refuse to hear
We shout our protests
but to be heard
we have to become
like them …
… then they will listen

Copyright © 2020 Christine Bolton - Poetry for Healing
All Rights Reserved

Written in memory of Walter Wallace Jr.,
a young African American man suffering from Bipolar Disorder, who was killed by police in Philadelphia
on Monday, October 26, 2020.

Bjorn is hosting Open Link Night at D'Verse Poets

  24 comments for “How Many More Must Die? – Walter Wallace, Jr.

  1. October 30, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    One more is one too many. It’s disgusting. I watched ‘Selma’ the other night and I was so depressed as it doesn’t look like we’ve made much progress.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2020 at 9:02 am

      It’s gone backwards Ingrid.

  2. October 30, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Powerful words, they resonate deeply …. will we ever learn?

    • Christine Bolton
      October 30, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you Helen. I do appreciate it very much ☺️ I hope we will learn. Enough is enough already.😢

  3. October 30, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Its unfortunate this story keeps repeating over and over.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 30, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Yes Darnell. It’s like school shootings. They just never seem to stop. When is enough, enough?

  4. October 30, 2020 at 9:09 am

    More frightening than monsters

    • Christine Bolton
      October 30, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Yes it certainly is. Thanks for reading.

  5. October 30, 2020 at 3:35 am

    Police need Crisis Intervention Training…a CIT trained officer saved my dad’s life when he was suicidal during a bipolar crisis. I can’t help but think, if only Walter had dropped the knife.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 30, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Oh Lynn isn’t that the truth. If only … I’m so happy your dad was saved with the right help in place. Lisa commented here on this post about having a social worker go with the police in these type of calls. You have shown us that with properly trained police personnel in these situations, killings would be greatly reduced. Thank goodness your dad was a success story. 🙂💕

  6. October 29, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    So so unjust and cruel.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 30, 2020 at 9:42 am

      So unnecessary. Poor man.

      • October 30, 2020 at 9:47 am


  7. sanaarizvi
    October 29, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    It seems like the entire world is out of control at the moment. Such appalling things are taking place that it feels as though police either aren’t interested in intervening or simply can’t.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 30, 2020 at 8:27 am

      Thanks for commenting Sanaa. It seems that it is both. Some officers are put into dangerous without the proper training and others are proving to be murderers.

  8. October 29, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Just now hearing about this. With tasers available there is no reason at all to shoot and especially shoot to kill 🙁 More training, and I think that whenever a domestic or mental health call comes in, a social worker needs to go with officers.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 29, 2020 at 7:22 pm

      I agree Lisa. Sadly the officers did not have tasers. The family had also called for an ambulance first and somehow the police arrived there and everything went south. Yes more training for sure but I have no faith in it anymore. I do agree with you about the social worker. A brilliant idea my friend. In a normal year we would likely have had more school shootings but with mo school for so long thankfully that never happened. Sadly we are witnessing a sharp increase in police shootings of innocent black men and women. This affects me so deeply.

      • October 29, 2020 at 7:29 pm

        I fear without sweeping changes things will only get worse. Inequity, exploitation, and violence seem to permeate the fabric of our culture. 🙁

      • Christine Bolton
        October 30, 2020 at 8:52 am

        We are already seeing militias on the streets. It is insane.

  9. October 29, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    I wonder if police are even trained to diffuse a situation properly… mentally sick patients have been shot a few times even in Sweden, and it seems to be something they cannot truly control.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 29, 2020 at 6:56 pm

      I wonder that myself Bjorn. In the US they seem to shoot to kill regardless of the situation. It is totally out of control and something has to be done as it is unacceptable .

  10. October 29, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    A truly brilliant piece Christine… and I’ve been listening to Amanda Palmer lately, maybe this song sums up your powerful poem….

    • Christine Bolton
      October 29, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      Oh you’re so sweet Ivor. Thank you my friend ☺️

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