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a new poem because it seems like everytime i read the news, there is an item about disenfranchised youth rioting in the cities

for those worldwide riots

In East Timor they burn
In Sao Paulo they burn.
In Paris they burn, too.
Buildings they burn and their glass
explodes but here in these United
States the last time
the youth exploded was over
a generation ago like too hot
light bulbs spent, shattered

in the middle of the street the
tar strip, the ink line, in this
city of cities torches and cocktails
don't pop. Eyeballs, they pop, when
the nascent woman flowers in some tight jeans.
She pops bubblegum while
grown men on the corner pop their old dreams like
overinflated balloons. Basketballs reverb
off of rims, bass rumbles somewhere down
the block but fire
is for when hustle
man hustles lung cancer on the corner,
fire is for the enlightenment of the local
potheads, for the kids with the summer
firecrackers. That's when the sky
lights up. That's when even shadows blaze.

If no smoke in the sky provokes tears then
who will cry for Bed Stuy? No blinking, I won't
cry for the new pink and glass condos
the boxy townhouses, and the men on the corner
will eyeball the white bohemians who infiltrate.
The black bohemians will know well enough to blend
in, so eyeballs won't pop at them. It's been
more than a generation since we burned since
ideals, round here, were life, death, future, present
righteous, and illicit.
The youth they risked their young necks cuz
whether right or wrong, they wanted to live
as they wanted to live or not live.

Sometime between colored person
and person of color revolution
became that which we roll our eyes at.
When politics decided to stop taking prisoners,
to just snap necks instead, we forgot that apart
from politics was justice. We thought maybe
there was equality, or at least power, Instead of burning we
consume their goods, ipods, cell phones, and playstation, too,
if the next world is an electronic game, then we
are ready for anything. What, burn? We'll live
in shell houses like we are shell people and
anyway burnin leaves only ash, singe, and melted stuff
like light bulbs and their filaments, shattered in the street.

Super color scheme, I like it! Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site with us.

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About me

  • I'm call me aja
  • From nyc
  • 20something, black, woman, reader, writer, about to be a student again. i think i'd like to be heard (or read). child/grandchild of immigrant folk. yearning to travel. desirous of wisdom. a little bit ordinary, but working at being less so.
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