Homey Don’t Play

when I was a kid they still burned crosses on Stone Mountain you know

I am old

obsidian war-like headstones jutting out from the ground


stumped, roving, mad


there’s too many mysteries for answers

known unknowns that fill the cracks of conscious when we probably should be paying attention

but I’m over it

that shit will swirl in an endless cycle

pale faces speak,  brown preach, women woman all over the place

just provide me with pretty and silly thangs

I’ll cradle the corner and entertain the children

as the world burns


Letter To The Police


Photo By A. Long

Dear Sirs:
I have been enjoying the law and order of our
community throughout the past three months since
my wife and I, our two cats, and miscellaneous
photographs of the six grandchildren belonging to
our previous neighbors (with whom we were very
close) arrived in Saratoga Springs which is clearly
prospering under your custody
Indeed, until yesterday afternoon and despite my
vigilant casting about, I have been unable to discover
a single instance of reasons for public-spirited concern,
much less complaint
You may easily appreciate, then, how it is that
I write to your office, at this date, with utmost
regret for the lamentable circumstances that force
my hand
Speaking directly to the issue of the moment:
I have encountered a regular profusion of certain
unidentified roses, growing to no discernible purpose,
and according to no perceptible control, approximately
one quarter mile west of the Northway, on the southern
To be specific, there are practically thousands of
the aforementioned abiding in perpetual near riot
of wild behavior, indiscriminate coloring, and only
the Good Lord Himself can say what diverse soliciting
of promiscuous cross-fertilization
As I say, these roses, no matter what the apparent
background, training, tropistic tendencies, age,
or color, do not demonstrate the least inclination
toward categorization, specified allegiance, resolute
preference, consideration of the needs of others, or
any other minimal traits of decency
May I point out that I did not assiduously seek out
this colony, as it were, and that these certain
unidentified roses remain open to viewing even by
children, with or without suitable supervision
(My wife asks me to append a note as regards the
seasonal but nevertheless seriously licentious
phenomenon of honeysuckle under the moon that one may
apprehend at the corner of Nelson and Main
However, I have recommended that she undertake direct
correspondence with you, as regards this: yet
another civic disturbance in our midst)
I am confident that you will devise and pursue
appropriate legal response to the roses in question
If I may aid your efforts in this respect, please
do not hesitate to call me into consultation
Respectfully yours,
–June Jordan

The Fanboy

breathe easy youngling. we know you bury yourself in characters, trying to recreate your own story

a hero noir as dark as you

they don’t know the night you’ve faced at such an age.

the lil and lonely homey

hiding behind his mask while the city he loves screams and shoots and beats him down

the quiet one with crossed wires and bloody sneaks

nose deep in a book

when we all know dark side boys don’t read

they’re too black

of heart

to fantasize about anything other than their own dry ass reality

we see you future.

you are valid

Where Broken Hearts Congregate: Part 2

where the wind tears through the thickest coats as we huddle in awkward clumps, side by side, for warmth. praying the show will start so we can go. peer into the horizon, gobbled up by the explosion of lights. sanctioned dynamite, the cold, and pretty dyes are all that separate us from a war zone in Aleppo.

where we gaze at the skies, waiting.

for them to come back. to reach down out of the full looming moon and grab your hand. and skoo dee whoop, scat, skip, and shimmy across constellations. to throw in a twirl or two so that your yellow dress whirls in the approaching star’s gleam.

where mouths stiffen instead of commence kissing

is there such thing as a new beginning? it is started by definition, therefore it was new. once lived, if uncaptured, its never reclaimed. remade. re-hymenated.

wherein that sliver of sour before one cries at another’s pain. before the shouting is deafening. before the thunder of fireworks bashing an eardrum. before we fade into the blankets of night, trying to regain life and limb in the warmth. 

where the before exists

and hearts heal

and the broken

no longer congregate


Jamaica Bay Machhua

she slang her dress over her knee

tightly bundled 

tucks her carefully pinned dupatta into her sweater

already damp and heavy

from leaning into the water all afternoon

squatting into scaly run off 

legs and back bent like a frog’s

As the sun runs 

from the docks 

she scrapes peanut bunker into a bucket

from the tarp 

spread across their commandeered

section of the pier

Warning the ladkis not to play

near the railings

she spies the looming quiet

amongst the overhead planes passing

the quarreling chess players

brightening bachata music 

and distant rumbling of cars on the Belt Parkway

that surrounds her family 

Serenity seeps into every fisher face

gazing into the bay

the darkness soon come

as they say

Time to get home for dinner

Minister Mama

no stabbing demons

or slaying dragons for me

I didn’t save your legs from breaking

or solve the world’s aching

heroics aren’t really my thing

no mountain of lies did I chip away at

or speak great truths to be had

I lack luster and deservedness

less than special

but I did get through this day

Doggedly rode out the pain

in between bad caffeine shots

and propped eyelids and bandaged hearts

because the mission mandates 

that I just

I just 

make it to tomorrow 

The Month After September

It’s cold out as tourists snap pictures of the gaping hole in the center of the 9/11 Memorial site. People are unfazed by the rain as it mixes into the constantly churning waters. The sound of the giant, cubic waterfall drowns out the rest of the city in this congested part of lower Manhattan. In the distance, the museum gleams, packed with even more people.  

Officers wielding large weapons appear every few minutes or so, scanning the area instead of taking it in. Some people march by, dressed in suits or business attire, barely glancing at the memorial as they file by in herds towards the rebuilt train station. Others stare down into the gushing rapids, or carefully run their hands over the hundreds of names engraved in the black stone surrounding the water. Everyone is trying to take the best picture to bring home in commemoration. They have to bend in awkward angles because the memorial sites for both buildings are vast in depth and size, and hard to fit into frame.   

The blown out windows in all of the bordering buildings are all fixed. Dust in the streets has been replaced by sturdy, dark concrete that stretches in every direction. A new Starbucks is bustling, while the destroyed corner church’s construction is still underway. It’s walls will have vines, green patches, and an observation deck overlooking both of the tower memorials. In the background, the freedom tower is tall and brightly lit in the onslaught of night. The first few floors flicker on and off in a subtle pattern. From the plaza there is no bottom in sight to the waterfall. It seems to go on forever into the ground.