Kansas City Artist José Faus Responds To Video Of Philando Castile's Death With A Poem
Kansas City artist and writer José Faus was getting ready for bed when he first saw the video of Philando Castile's death at the hands of a police officer in Minnesota.
"There's sun coming in the car window," he remembers. "I see the glare, to the left the open window, the sky, the trees, the [gun] ... and then, the wound."
He says he will never forget the crimson of the blood against Castile's white shirt.
Listening to the faceless voices of Castile's girlfriend and the officer, seeing a gun unwavering, aimed at what Faus describes as a "crumpled" body — it got to be too much. He turned it off.
"Then I thought, you know what, I owe it to this lady to listen," he says.
Nearing the end of the 10-minute cell phone video, Castile's girlfriend begins to break down in panic. It is at that moment that another voice emerges, a smaller one from the backseat: the little girl says to her mother, 'It's OK. I'm right here next to you.'
"Oh. It just hit me in the solar plexus," Faus says. "I thought, 'Oh my god. This is a call for us to do something, to be something.'"
So, he started writing. He says it was his duty.
"We've opened up such a deep wound right now," he says. "We have to stitch it up."
"I'm here next to you," by José Faus
The news came like it
comes most days now
late at night a feed
on a Facebook page
a text from a friend
a notification from sources
used to filter out truth
create a narrative to make sense
of a world spinning counter to our hopes
I am right here next to you
She says it softly to a mother
at last overwhelmed
soothing her and with her words
demanding we be present
stand next to each other
to fix what needs fixing
her words not the headline
but the clarion call
I am right here
next to you
Andrea Tudhope is a freelance reporter and producer for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @adtudhope.