welcome to the ‘hood

hood life

welcome to the ghetto

where the old men sit on porches

and reminisce

about the days gone by

when they used to be high

on top of the world

at the top of their game

boasting of all the young girls

that shrieked their name

crying out as they passed

hat leaning to the side

body locked deeply in a

pimp or gangster stroll

when the afro was king

and the words black power

still meant

something……

every now and then

they shake their heads and offer up

lamentations

about the young thugs on corners

claiming they’re taking over

chrome plated pistols rest low in

boxer short bands

necks and wrists dripping with

platinum ice and crystals

while they keep office hours from

12 to 9

with numerous breaks for

incidentals

scowls marring their faces

as they check the vicinity

for the boys and girls in blue

who drive by three and four times

daily

scanning the crowd for those who look restless

checking for telltale signs of hot tempers

and fingers getting twitchy

offering spotty cash flow

for those feeling a little snitch-y…….

matronly mamas still pulling switches

off trees

catching wayward grandkids with blows

that bring them to their knees

sweeping the sidewalk

cleaning up the daily debris

calling to their friends

two houses to the east

asking if pastor is coming on sunday

to preach

if the church bus is running

and if it’s still free

laundry hanging outside on the line

whipping in the breeze………

clean cut brothers with bow ties and bean pies

hawk their wares

calling for the lost to become found

waging a war on poverty and disrespect

crates of fruit and newspapers in bundles

comprise the arsenal at hand

reaching out to the people in the place they call

home…..

the sisters take center stage

got the area on lock

whistles and stares

hoots of appreciation

jeans slung low on hips that are made to carry

a baby on one side

schoolbooks on the other

in this age and day

15’s too young to be a mother

the natural beauties in locs and headwraps

ankh rings on their toes

golden hoops in through their noses

grassroots workers trying

to keep a dying

movement

off life support…..

traditional families

trying to scratch out a living

worried the schools aren’t good enough

for their 3 kids

sitting down to dinner

teenage son’s friends roll by

blue cadlillac

20 inch rims that spin

bass thumping rattling the windows

papa checking his watch

got an extra shift at the plant

nervous about the pink slips

making the rounds

mama’s hours got cut

she’s down to part time

struggling to find the blessing

in barely staying alive….

welcome to the ghetto

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