Ode To My Ghetto
(Summer 2011 Issue)

Jose

I was born into Her world on a July afternoon in 1974.
My Ghetto cradled me in Her bosom.
I can still remember Her beating heart—
The way She stared at my nakedness
Through hospital windows.
There’s many a Ghetto across the land—
But none like mine.
Dressed in shards of broken bottles and spent beer cans,
She glitters!
Her walk drums softly, like thunder between alleyways.
Her sweet scent of urine
Loitering against the walls of abandoned buildings.
There’s many a Ghetto across the land—
But none like mine.
Her soothing voice sings like punctured speakers
When police sirens ring.
Empty marijuana bags snag
In the cracked pavement of Her gapped teeth.
I love Her—
But She always finds a way
To make me love Her more.
This Ghetto of mine is like fine wine
Like a wet dream multiplied
Like a shoot-out scene in a movie
Like candy-coated raindrops.
Late night, alcohol-fueled arguments spill from Her lips,
Warmly melting into my ears.
Early morning, dogs bark at gunshots,
Waking me.
She is so supportive—
The way heroin addicts
Lean against Her light poles to nod off.
The way STDs
Ooze from Her nostrils.
The way She exhales
Her smog fills my lungs with asthma--
It’s breathtaking!
The way Death kneels
At Her feet to pray--
It’s heavenly!
I can still hear Her beating heart--
Especially when She stares at me
Through prison windows.
She misses me.

There’s many a Ghetto across the land—
But none like mine.




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