Thursday, August 28, 2014

Going Home: Are you willing to be killed?

In looking at the anthology (African American Alphabet) we edited with our friend Kelvin Rodriques, we ran across a street poem that was recited by a poet sitting in a convertible on a hot Florida night in the summer of 1995. What the poet rapped under a Miami moon is a series of purely spontaneous lines. He told me later that he was making it up as he went along. But the interesting thing is that in the1990s his fear was mostly that he wouldn't get home, not that he'd be shot dead trying. I have never heard or read anything quite like this -- and oh, how things have changed! For the worse.


They stop you
and search you
you want to

go home

They tell you to stand by
while they get inside
their car

You wait as they watch
because you want to

go home

They hold you in the hope
you will run
so you wait
because you want to

go home

They have you thinking
that to

go home

is a crime
for which
sooner or later
you will do time
so you wait
on those who

go home

whenever they
want to
and who
because you are you
and they are they
make you wait
and wonder
if you will ever

go home again

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