Dilemma

Dilemma

After telling him I was broke
Had no car and no job
And couldn’t get one without the other
He turned to me with that slight grin
That never leaves his face
“Nigga, you better sell that neem”

Neem being a word used for crack of course
Funny story behind that but at the moment
Not so important

Just remember
That every now and then
The language shifts

New metaphors
For the same life

Gotta keep it fresh

He goes on to tell me my life’s story
“Son,”
He says
“You are the only person
That doesn’t touch the stuff.
Your brother, your uncle, your aunts
Got it to distribute.

Your fucking grandmother got re-up!
How fucking ill is that?”

Not ill meaning ill
But ill meaning real
Not real meaning concrete
Or tangible like steel
But real meaning so deep
Transcending the surreal

The vernacular of the hood
Is poetry itself

So many meanings in one word
Like English deferred
At the same time sped up
During meetings at the curb

I watched my mother smoke it
From as far back as I can remember
I watched my father pull guns over it
I watched my grandmother cut it up on
The kitchen table as I asked her what
She was getting me for Christmas
I watched my younger brother go to jail
Police showing photographs of the sale
I watched my other brother’s behavior
The hyperactive personality
As natural as calves with two heads
I watched from the insides of more houses
Than I care to remember
Passed from place to place like a parcel
I watched police kick in doors
And FBI follow

Watching my surrogate grandfather
Wither away into nothing

“Didn’t you use to sell it?”
He asked me interrupting my reverie

Yea for like a day
It was too cold for me to be standing on the corner

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More Poetry by Silencio Barnes

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