Seven Modest Weapons 

For Junito

I wish the last words you heard were prayers 

 from the comfort of your bed 

Surrounded by the warmth of your family and loved ones  

In the well-earned Autumn of your life 

Instead, your Last Rites were traded for chaotic commands 

Misguided through a rolled-up window 

Priming the glass for the bullets that would soon follow 

On a residential street 

 One late afternoon in the waning summer heat. 

A cold body leaped… 

I will f–ing shoot you!” 


wanted to do your legacy justice 

But a “quiet, humble, sweet, mechanic, cousin, brother, son” 

Were all the descriptors I could gather amidst the coverage and the cover ups 

Six modest weapons struggling for sunlight, to combat a convoluted narrative determined to suppress 

And one extra to outweigh the charges of your pest… 

Sweet<—> (aggravated assault)  

Quiet <—> (simple assault)  

Mechanic <—> (reckless endangerment)  

Humble <—> (official oppression) 

Cousin <—> (voluntary manslaughter,) 

Brother<—> (Murder) 

—>Son. <—


…like the regard for your life.


I don’t know what caused you to maneuver the way you did 

What unfolded in your day, 

your heart, 

your mind, 

But I know with certainty…  

 that you didn’t deserve to die 

Knew that you didn’t stand a chance 

When the footage revealed 

That their minds were made up  

Even before they advanced 

and two officers of the law 

left the car with guns drawn  

Hard on  

Crime in their execution 

But what was in their hearts… 

when they couldn’t discipline themselves enough to Dial back on the Mark? 

Puerto Rican at point blank 

Your car parked 

Yelled gun, when in the end all they found was a knife 

Eddie, I’m sorry 

That you were surrounded by people who chose not to see your humanity 

Who lied on your name 

And called you a threat 

Who could only think of the reputation they had to protect 

While you gasped for air in you last moments of breath 

Leaving your family to soon grieve your untimely death 

I’m sorry that part of your memory is that you were unjustly slain 

Then dragged and loaded into the back of a police SUV like a dutiful hunter’s game 

That for so many it was just another day for an:  







By an aggravated  

simple – minded  

trigger-happy coward with a reckless erection 

Official-lie protected 

Because of voluntary ignorance 

In a system that paints the victim complicit in their own murder  

“Heartbreaking that Mr. Irizarry won’t have a second chance to show he can comply,” said one. 

“Man seeing him taking his last breaths is a haunting sight,” said another. 

But for this humble brother, quiet mechanic, sweet son… 

Shoot first ask questions later 

Lie first, tell the truth if you get caught 

Unlikely to result in any consequences 

“We will  protect you from the onslaught” 

And Junito…  

I will be sure to say your name: Eddie Irizarry Jr. 

Your age: 27 

Who you were: Puerto Rican, mechanic, cousin, brother son, quiet, humble, sweet… 

I wonder what would happen if they actually let the public see 

The inhumaneness of police brutality on primetime tv 

No edits, no spin, 

Just the grim truth of it all 

That all lives matter 

But some lives don’t matter to all. 

“Man seeing him taking his last breaths is a haunting sight.” said one 

“Heartbreaking that Mr. Irizarry won’t have a second chance to show he can comply.” said another 

Some protested 

Others used your name in vain to justify why they loot 

Those without discernment write it in history as one truth 

“Do exactly as I say, and I will still f–ing shoot” … 

A loud/quiet, proud/humble, sour/sweet, cousin/best friend, sister/brother, daughter…son.  

I pray the last words you heard were prayers 

As you sat there in your car 

I pray you comforted yourself, 

on that August afternoon,  

That you surrounded yourself with the voice of God 

That you meditated on loved ones and the laughter-filled memories you made… 

in the Summer of your life, 

In that instant before making your way home.