Poem: I Hate the Police

I wrote this poem in September, reading it at an open mic poetry night over at the Steep Mountain Tea House. It was in response to police brutality here in Bozeman.

I hate the police

I hate police passionately

Never met a cop I liked

Hate how they beat black men in the streets

With my own eyes, I once witnessed

More than a dozen DC police

Beating one black man


Now they also hog tie women

Here in our town

Here in Bozeman


But what I hate more than police

I hate that we think we need them

I hate that we think we have no power

To take care of each other

To protect each other

To stand for justice together


I hate the radical disempowerment

The powerlessness that people feel


And I hate that when another cop

Assaults another person

We think there are just a few bad apples

Not that the system is rotten

Not that we have given up our power

To them

To these abusive monsters


I hate the police

And I hate that we think

That collectively

We can’t do anything about them


I hate that I will share this poem

And you, you who sit there

If you’re even listening

Will think my radical words



Somehow, humans lived 150,000 years

And only dreamed up police

In the 1800s to protect property in the North

To protect slaveholders in the South

And we think this is normal

That we can’t live without them

That we need them to protect us!

Less than 200 years wipes out 150,000

Just like that

That I’m the radical one

When there’s nothing normal

Sane, or conservative about a

Militarized police force


And sadder still, you’ll think that

We are powerless

That solidarity is useless

That we can’t possibly do anything

Such a self-fulfilling prophecy


Or you’ll vote

You’ll vote for someone else

To take the power from you

And hopefully do the right thing

And when they don’t

You’ll vote again

And again

And again

And what will ever change

When did any significant change

Happen by voting?

What if MLK and Gandhi had decided

To wait for someone else

To make change and simply vote


So, I hate the police

And I hate that so few of us

Believe in us

In all we can do together


But I still believe

So, if you still believe

Find me, and let’s get to work


-jsm 9/24/2021

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