Monday, December 13, 2010

2 first drafts - poems

Equal Opportunity steady pissin in my cereal

He’s 19 – already done things I know
I’ll never get to – has talked himself
out of point-blank, gun-slide, break-
yourself-Joe dialogues. His dialect
is smooth – homie can spit; can move
from UFC to death’s rifle truths
by rhyming Kimbo with limbo.
Makes sure I know he’s got a long life;
that for those who don’t respect that
he’s got a long pipe


The boy sitting across from me knows
at least seven things I don’t.

There are words for the things he knows
all street-coded and mash-mouthed

in a language unfamiliar to me.
He Westside, Missibamasee drawl – sometimes

I stop and ask him what he means –
bundle, pole, whip, trap-house

and errthing he fi’in to do
when he get out.


We’re in the Cook County Juvee
and youngblood will not write
and of this genius down; straight
says I’m blowing him, asking him
to fuck with this poetry ish. But he stays
spitting the illest Chi-town business;
reps West Side and could give a fuck
about a G-D he say. Young money
is free-styling entire planets into being
and already knows that for real
ain’t a damn place the police show up
that he need to be fuckin with
and that includes school. Young brother
cooler than a nigga in a Cadillac.

Sure bout how real he is
when there’s money in his pocket. Solves
20 problems a day on his cellblock
alone. Pretty sure
he’s gonna get out and pretty sure
he’s coming right back

Black can outsmart me
Black can probably outbox me – keeps
households alive and living
Momma comes to visit crying –
hoping; he’s her baby – her l’il man

even though none of us busters
have managed to teach him
how to read.

Still life with boy, bus.

Andiamos says the Father. He is
trying to wake the boy who sleeps
as soundly as if he’d been on hat bus
since 79th on the south side, but
we’re going past Lane Tech now
and well north, and it’s their stop. The boy
is maybe 5, and the Father might be
the most fatigued man in all of Chicago.

Again, Andiamos, as he scoops up
his gloves, the boy’s; to prepare them both
for the sub-zero night, and the boy
is a muppet of dead arms and legs
as the Father gathers up the bundle
of him and fixes him over his shoulder
and says thanks to the patient woman
at the wheel.

Over his shoulder the boy’s eyes slip
open and he smiles, half content, half
mischief suggesting his refusal to wake.

Oh to know again such love – to know
you will never be left behind – never
have to fear the night, the dark, the cold,
your father’s hands, a stranger’s. To go
into the chill asleep; blameless, weightless.



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