Red brick homes fused together like Lego blocks, in rows making towns out of city blocks. It’s a maze, one-way in for the residents and one-way out. All the love and hate one could ever bear color the walls there in that place. Despair lace the outside so thick you can see it sometimes in the early morning like fog or hunched up pretty thick like a wool sweater on the shoulders and backs of the old and young alike, the men and women alike. Where sometimes to them the only hope is the new religion held in the keys of the Arab men lifting the gates of the liquor stoes or in the kindness of the many customers going in and out, trying to dodge the hands and eyes of their future only two-to-three heartbreaks and disappointments away from themselves, sometimes the feel of a crisp twenty dollar bill in their pockets and purses allows for them to spare some change (in the back of their minds knowing that could be them and maybe being generous now will save you some pain for later).
Sprinkled into the despair are some of the most gorgeous black, some of the prettiest black, they call em’ the envy of the world, the most wanted, the lost boys. Them boys out there making that money from off the souls of dead folk, slanging escapism, givin’ that higher power out, take calgone, “please take me away”. Them clean, fresh so fresh niggas minus the growl of the “er” that’s held so tightly in the ears of the seniors, they don’t anything as gruesome as slavery, as the middle passage, as Emmet till, or lynching’s can ever be endearing, and their mind takes them back to it like yesterday, connected to red spitting faces dehumanizing. The word attached to shamed black tight faces, thieving, dirty, lying no-gud, and no-count niggah. They don’t understand loving embraces of you my nigga if your dick don’t get any bigger nigga. What loving embraces can come from that? They don’t understand the ones, the takers inspire to be. The prettiest black with fresh kicks, fresh whips, cold so cold inside. They so busy making money, looking over the shoulders for da white man, the police, the other takers, they know very little about love, only sex and hoes and holes, the best the very best was cut quick from the embryo cord, they don’t remember the mothers, or remember far too well, but the know the bricks, it is a sure thing, the bricks.
In the bricks, some houses are laboratories for the madness, the answer to living life in the underground. You ain’t got to go where you ain’t wanted stay here and fly. The bricks got them white kids coming in racking up a bill till they handing over their holes and souls. Their children dying in the dirty bricks should be enough to make white Jesus believers mad enough to put an end to it…no no no drugs and prison is big business ain’t going to stop, not even for Mary dying half nude on the floor in the bathroom of the bricks with the answer to freedom in needles still sticking out of her arm, where one house is shut-down and an hour after the dust has settled it is open again.
Inside the bricks mothers preach sermons had the of love knowing fifty-fifty chance their words will be seen over the bling of the underworld. They know they all didn’t house the scuffling of mice or rats behind the walls. Most of them know that they are portrayed a certain way so they embrace others fears. Most mothers they know that their children flowers grow stronger there, even though not many more than them care, how that song goes? Most intellects don’t believe in Gods yet they fear us just the same.
In the spring it is the ugliest place you would ever want to see, so is true with late Fall when all the colors had died off. But early fall is full of sunshine and colors and we could/would dress without looking a mess. Winter is so fresh with all that American whiteness covering everything and Negros most definitely looks good in white. But summer, summer the bricks come alive, all that beautiful brown, bubbling brown, bouncing brown. Men the color of mud soil playing basketball, the color under sparkling water, pants hanging low, just low enough to catch they hairs rising above that paradise below the belt line. Honey smooth women in shorts just busting all over the concrete, thickness thanks to great-grannies cornbread, sugar and milk, shaking off their winter men like the trees did of the frost and vice versa. Celebrating sounds coming from almost every house, the bump, bump of rap, the cool swoon of jazz, the dirty whomp of the island, the push, push of blues and the message, the stories, the uh moment of hip-hop and oh yes the sounds of living so close to the edge…The don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head”. Jail and death is waiting. Jail and death is waiting. It is only a short inhailization away, only a couple of heartbeats, heart skips and heart misses away. In the bricks it is a fine line of Becky’s hair between here and gone. Only a fine line of Becky’s hair between here and gone.
The good, the brightest and the best is here in abundance, you can see them on the face of the world, but it ain’t really news worthy to everyone or anyone else. Cept now and then comes some-white one whose special and think it is special enough to share…rags-to-riches. The forgotten ones, low-down bottom ones, lost and forgotten ones, the teenagers fresh with adulthood on their breath.
Male teenager’s fresh with adulthood on their breath want the ritual of man-child smeared blood like paint and paint like chalk. A beating in their chest yearning to stand out and above the rest, he takes the gun, he takes the car, he takes all dares and bets, he takes life eventually, the takers cause ain’t nobody giving anything. The takers are the men here the ones that take all the women and women-child. Who takes the money out of families mouths? Teenagers fresh with adulthood n their breath mixed with stolen cigarettes and blues. Aw, yes the blues see the women with bobbing necks, just to ride wit the takers, just for a v.i.p. ticket, just for an outfit, hairdo or sporting piece, they peck each other out for a piece off the takers, they have titi brawls out in the streets for a piece of the takers. These teenage girls, young ladies scrap like dogs, no hogs in barnyards over the best view, not for their eyes but for eyes to show leadership, to be the first to be plucked, cause the takers are watching want them full, full of juice, want them able to hold their own, final home right in the bricks government cheese and powder milk fo the babies. No picket fences, weak white-washed senses, no it is off to barbwire top o sxf fences, for my wobble left holes in defenses. Everybody and nobody tell them you are better than that.ac 3 Everybody and nobody tells them there is a price to pay, glorified er’day over dope ass beats, banging dope ass beats, thumping over dope ass beats, bouncing off the walls of the bricks. The beats reach into their inner core, triggering the brain like any drug, 60’s panther know what I’m saying, once hit take that lick and oh how the women wobble. Oh how the women wobble, tilted axis of my wobble, of teenagers in the bricks fresh with adulthood on their breath ain’t seen that before they was born, I was standing alongside our men, gun in hand way before they was born I was addressing a room full of red faced haters over our survival, over their survival. God had my back, but all these takers see is my wobble and bobbing neck. All the takers see in the bricks is my jelly and my hole and my hole and my hole labeling me bitch and hoe.
These teenagers in the bricks fresh with adulthood on their breath my own sons and daughters fresh with adulthood on their breath, they don’t see me being opened up for feel goods, and now it is in my stream, this feel good, it is in my wobble over dope ass beats, hot ass tracks, hip-hop knows but it sometimes feel so long ago and rap, rap only reports on my wobble, my bobble neck and my jelly.