south side / apartment building no stoop / alley cat strays /  pit bulls in empty lots tied to gate posts / barbecue grills with no meat /  no heat /  no charcoal / propped up on cement bricks / gangways with teenagers grinding to future baby’s lullaby / grab dinner from the candy store /  chips and cheese /  nachos with beef / hole in the wall northeast corner chicken coop / on the next street

nine months plus six to prepare / didn’t step up your game / arrived to half a mess /  chaos sleeps in garden apartment 1b / almost had an empty nest

i attempt to catch up on childhood play / born dark / little black girls don’t get pigtails and swings / get to pick the mustard and turnip greens /  mama yell from open window with no screen / come inside! /  get the remote to change the channel on the tv! / grab a drink! / go buy a coke if we’re out of pepsi!

pig parts simmer on the stove  / stirring cornbread to bake /  leave no dirty dishes in my sink! / instead of summer fun / i’m the live in maid / room and board / earning my keep / room clean / bed made / trying to make it outside  / softball in the field / shirt and skins football on the right side of the street / i’m skins / pink shirt under a skateboard wheel / pretend i’m black girl running free / before i’m back to picking peas / running high beneath sun set streaks / only see street lights when i sleep

have your friends over  / chips and dip set out / heavenly tobacco smoke float over the kitchen table / pan fried catfish / stay in my room / visualizing myself smelling trees / locked behind closed doors / your last dude pissed in the corner near the fairy tale shelf of my bookcase

try to sneak out / a game of spades / fisticuffs and switchblades / blue lights paint the walls  / justice breaks down the doors / i hide behind trees / crack pipes at the root / heroin needles underneath my feet

take out trash i didn’t make / plastic cups / beer cans / 40 ounces of brown liquid dreams / drowning in virginia slim newport short smoke / negroes gotta cope / prefer to soak up the cartoons / but the room is watching daytime stories / reruns of the inner city news /  black and brown blues

hiding in closets for peace / just to read / sketching trees /  writing alternate realms / so when she calls me / with my notebook & flashlight penning my dreams / so when she calls me / grab the remote! / hand me a smoke! / go in your room & shut the door! / get the chips! / clean the dishes in the sink! / so when she calls me / i put myself within these four walls / swim in ink / cover my ears with words / drown out dysfunctional south side bull shit / focus on rewriting my reality / so when she calls / so when you call / next time / i will just let you be