Monday, March 30, 2009

Poem: These Streets

I wote this poem a while back. Sometime early last year.

These Streets

I’ve been down these streets before
walked them so many times
my feet need no directions
know every sidewalk crack
weeping flakes of paint like sunburned skin
vibrancy a long gone memory
these colors are barely surviving
but the patterns left behind tell stories
there for anyone that can read the street patois
the pig Latin of the ghetto
that gives young eyes the gift of x-ray vision
lets them see the roots beneath the sidewalk
through the sagging sheets hanging in the windows
beyond the rib cages of yard dogs
skin stretched tight
kinship found in hungry canine eyes

I’ve been down these streets before
walked down t hem so m any times
watched dreams cashed for rent money
watched rent money cashed for a dream high
watched the junky prophet proclaim prophecy
whispered in his ears by the monkey on his back
toothy, grinning, picking hopes like lice
lips smacking
the monkey savors each one, whispers and waves
as the street opens up
swallows them whole
I step over the chalk outline
the street grave marker
requiescat en pace
a memorial
until the next rain
or morning piss

I’ve been down these streets before
seen single mothers press bottles of Similac
into mouths screaming umbilical rage
at fathers that found peace in fists pounded into pregnant bellies
into the girl-next-door, high school sweethearts, white picket fences
that never lined these streets
lined fantasies in heads
nobody told us that white picket fences were meant to keep us out
loan denied
bad credit
pickets turned into red lines
by bodies hurled against them
fences made of white steel
liberally distributed
one nation
divided in two
all for some
and little for us

I’ve been down these streets before
cuz these streets pave my mind
a city built and peopled by our fears
the can’t dos, and the can nots
the not qualified enoughs
the you speak so eloquently
the relapses
the system tracking
the racial profiling
the unemployment
on these streets there ain’t no schools
only prisons
on these streets every home is broken
and no way to fix them
on these streets segregation has been perfected
it is illegal to sit with yourself
high treason
to ask yourself why
premeditated murder
to come up with your own answers
to better yourself
your only choices
drugs, jail or death
all available without a prescription

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-Minneapolis, MN

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