Eight years out now

And stayin tame

Stayin low

Kilt a man over a woman

Kilt her next

Dese hands, dese crushin hands

Den came twenty-seven years

Indiana's guest

Locked in my cell

Locked in my head

Locked in my heart and hope.

Don't neva rock the Man

Don't neva speak out

But crack a black man

Sometime for respect

Or for an orderly house

Dass allright.

My little quiet place

Poor, puny and peeling

But mine.

And I collects things

From evywhere.

Also cans and bottles for refunds.

Brought a boy here

For a break and a bite

He so close to dem gangs

And death

Watts here is a smolderin fire

Hate and hypocrisy.

He been comin along.

First sight was him

Killin my chicken out back

Didn't know no different

And he come to know

I was OK with dat.

I was a man of murder

Lookin straight and quiet now

Missin a wife and kids

Missin they laughter

And purpose.

Coupla friends meet

With me at the Book Store

Talkin bout everything

Sizing up our ways and arguin.

Old Lady at the counter

Lets us come

And smiles extra hard

When her Man arrive

Gentle stooped ovah

They saints to me

And friends lettin me speak.

Lettin me come.

New job is a blessin

Packin and deliverin groceries

Fine old folks

Smilin, sayin “thank you”.

A wage, a walk and a way.

I hung on applyin

Til they said “yes”

And I woik hard an strong

Kids around me shapin up

Curious about dis ole man.

But so many

Messin with girls, guns and drugs

Would they see

What I seen.

Who knows?

Mebbe I'm heppin a lilbit?

Sleepin comes better, easier

Even with dem fights and fires outside.

An some o my dreams

Turnin bright.

(Images inspired by excellent book Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley. And the memorable character Socrates Fortlow.)


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