Utica Ave.

hectic street


dollar vans

gypsy cabs

jovial juve

thugs slink

ripple of looks

watch the horde

march by

white castle

the parkway


jerk chicken



with the excuses

they’re just misunderstood youths

unlimited stop

two fare zones

from home

defenseless to the ghetto

spit out a diss

be different


something new

ice grill if you have to

but be yourself

and nothing else


The Call: Part One

I am the coming development

envelopment of progress, oh yes

that vacant lot you park your rental benz

in front of is embarking

I’ve been called on from city government high

to cut down the weeds sprouted into trees

clear the land, so to speak

trash, discarded shopping carts, and birthday cards

to be tucked deep

into your memory

Make way for the gentrified mortar and bricks of an

Aid-Rite… “Your Get Right In A Hurry”

don’t take offense this is just business

a much bigger family than your province

Look we care  for the urban community

creating all these jobs, revenue, and unity

breaking down this ugly eye sore of a vacant lot

for crisp



Stop it

we don’t have time

for your repine

you can’t fight the new world order

with your skewed cognizance

You could’ve built a playground or a garden

a community hub to grow-in


you have chosen

to languish


on a stoop with $5 Chinese food when

Lucky Garden

sells their colorful candy packs

next to the fruity cigar wraps

and condoms

because those are the

products your people perpetuate

the children your people germinate

the fat, fucked, and lazy

spitting them out like vending machines with hood dreams

you think you can lay claim to those blocks you don’t own

no assets no appreciation

a mortgage not even a rent note

little do you know

I can flood these streets with police

trumped up charges and property leans

un-subsidized loans

unpaid taxes

I can take your home

I am what’s next

I am revitalization

there will be no more dead lots and drug spots

the path of my destruction will enter

it will either leave you in jail

or in the system swallowing repetition until you’re too old to function

in the meantime

we’ve secretly siphoned social security and that bullshit retirement fund

so please

lose focus

it won’t make a difference

I am

still coming




Mighty Pawns

If I told you Earl, the toughest kid
on my block in North Philadelphia,
bow-legged and ominous, could beat
any man or woman in ten moves playing white,
or that he traveled to Yugoslavia to frustrate the bearded
masters at the Belgrade Chess Association,
you’d think I was given to hyperbole,
and if, at dinnertime, I took you
into the faint light of his Section 8 home
reeking of onions, liver, and gravy,
his six little brothers fighting on a broken love-seat
for room in front of a cracked flat-screen,
one whose diaper sags it’s a wonder
it hasn’t fallen to his ankles,
the walls behind doors exposing sheetrock
the perfect O of a handle, and the slats
of stairs missing where Baby-boy gets stuck
trying to ascend to a dominion foreign to you and me
with its loud timbales and drums blasting down
from the closed room of his cousin whose mother
stands on a corner on the other side of town
all times of day and night, except when her relief
check arrives at the beginning of the month,
you’d get a better picture of Earl’s ferocity
after-school on the board in Mr. Sherman’s class,
but not necessarily when he stands near you
at a downtown bus-stop in a jacket a size too
small, hunching his shoulders around his ears,
as you imagine the checkered squares of his poverty
and anger, and pray he does not turn his precise gaze
too long in your direction for fear he blames
you and proceeds to take your Queen.
–Major Jackson


I Walk

I walk

Hearts beat slow like molasses

Classes cant teach this

Cold flashes as wind passes

Little faces pressed up against glasses

Intense invincibility crashes

I walk

Through poets snaps

Heads high under fitted caps

Down piss stairwells and rainbow train maps

Past tense strangers as litter makes laps around the tracks

I walk

By gangs of accents that flood these streets

Red and black pleats on the scarves that match the weaves

Heats me headphones spill with fierce beats

Cars breathe

I walk

Seeing encroaching high risers and pushy condos forcing out mom and pop stores

Franchises envying the space across the project mother’s floors

While workers huddle exiled nicotine in front of their doors

Corner hustlers beg for more

I walk

Dreadlocks swing free as sirens sing

Birds screech while fluttering cross musical intersections that play for buildings

I walk

Triumphant stut past soup kitchen line where my father spent some time

Anklet bells chime like inmate shackles as they echo in the officers eyes that watch mines

Pupils black like trigger happy minds patrolling the confines of my borough

I walk

Past Brooklyn roots sucking memories out these trees

Fleets of preachers moving boulders

Africa seats himself amid the sunset on his knees

Praying for the priests in the country of nativity

I walk

Flipping my hair to portrait still water in a writer’s paradise

Helicopter star lights freckle the night hates on my smile lit bright like a torch carrier’s stride the day feels right

I walk

It seems all roads lead to the county of kings

Where drunks marry these blocks children liquor fiends

& conceit glistens off door knocker earrings

The hood stings like

Corruption flowing into my dreams

Like the sound of a smack to the back of the head as it rings

Like 10 000 mosquitoes bites on one of them hot ass summer nights

I walk

Admiring gargoyles that architects took time to chip into existence

Too bad they don’t exist in neighborhoods where copper skin is plentiful sense

Their meant to keep out bad spirits

This painful shutout we spray paint onto the breast of our buildings

Given shades of cool mints and reds so when the sun hits

It sprouts yellows and oranges in different hues

So beautiful that in blissful unawareness the bricks drink  our pride

images (24)so we are unashamed to walk in the daytime

© Perception 2011, Ariama Long

It’s Just Another Day In the Neighborhood

A neighborhood’s blood pumps thick

busting through vessels stickin to the sides of deactivated muscles

limp fingers flail where once a fist formed

forced acceptance replaces the anger

‘that lingered in every household

silent voices reign

into the gutters of the ghetto

cold sunshine drapes clotheslines packed with designer labels

but still bills laid unpaid, slurpin government checks through the mail slots

Lives tormented by words unsaid

Shoot up the anecdote to the ebb and flow

as T-cell counts drop low down through inconspicuous  looks of lust tossed

affecting the whole race of us


are these perforated prophylactics littering school grounds

children bearing children already heaven bound

as boroughs pulsate

unclean red hate spilled onto the pavement

meant to transport

the souls of our soles

steppin over the next gunshot victims ghost as he grabs at your ankles

On your way to the liquor store?

Or Crown Fried?

condemn this hood’s arteries

facilities cloggin the mentalities of the people

bleeding onto insulin detectors

kidney failure running rampant shutting down our natural bullshit filter

sprinting through our systems

Break our blood

drop  by drop into America’s pot

before they cleanse our culture in assimilated soaps

exalt our hope for freedom in sudsy prisons

where we sing our souls blue through bars on hip hop notes

Spit this verse written for you

Money fuels the industries manufacturing artists

willing to appease the crowd


i want bloodfire pumpimg in my veins

to see clearly the obstacles placed in front of me

take every neighborhood by the lifeless limb to the mountaintop

just over the horizon

wars peace isnt between death and defeat

our blood shed will never be a means to an end

a means to an end

is our blood boiling

with a renewed sense of justice


This is a call to action3885668363_12d2876299


Everyone trailer parks Bayamon boogie down boriquas in their mothers kitchens cooking rice and hotdogs downtown chinatown italianos chicanos the village jamaica in queens

This Is A Call To Action

Life, Love, and The Pursuit of Happiness

its in the blood

get it pumping

with revolution

into those dead fingers

then ball it

into a fist.