John Henry’s Woman

my daddy’s name was john henry

my moms name was polly ann

he never sold crack 

but was a hard workin man who laid track in the subways

bent back like his people 

and when he died from all that 

he gave ma his legendary hammer

she had a slammer that was mean 

and took no shit from men, white brown or black

weary, she 

me and your daddy built this city

so you wouldn’t have to

now take this hammer 

and show’ em what you can do

 

 

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Dedication

i wrote a lil diddy

dedicated to daddy’s nickname

that i got tattooed 

when i was 22

it went like this: i am to soar, evermore, like the eagle above the clouds do 

then i wrapped my skin in wings so i’d always feel free, got a job and two degrees to support a writing habit, see

when he stopped writing her

the letter always bled for her for her eyes (brown as those old bottles in the medicine cabinet) bleeding words like teardrops yet without spilling onto the green tile floor those words always pure only staining the paper glossy black ink blood like muslin stuck to an old wound those words always strong yet blurred, obscure words only a scholar would find obscene

happy are those who die because they have returned to those first crumbs of dirt that fed us to that first hole to that soft black and smell of coal

-Pablo Picasso

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