Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Playing Jacks

Because your hands like boats
docked into evergreen jumpers
and nylon stockings

Baba didn't tell you so
that the multicultural bulletin
-shades of tan paper dolls hand in hand
were a game of darts.

That you were just the right shade
and the right height to be baby
and not a delinquent
a vagabond, a loafer.

That waiting for the bus
twirling hair and sucking fingers was
not arrestable on the terms of loitering
that the road to Winchester Thurston School
cut through Black Wilkensburgh
Wilkensburgh of cop cars and sirens
scraped knee and dawgs
and drug dogs and Baba
was the pack mule and
you the cargo
the contraband of masala brands
that were not quite not white
but so close to right.

Nena he didn't tell you
that your nail file was a weapon
and playground rounds of cops and robbers
was a punishable offense
Feds breathing down Mumia's neck
when Baba told you speak the truth

he didn't mean to tell
the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth
hey baby don't lie
stick a needle in your eye
or tire swing banter.

When you spoke of Andhra suns
and girls under tents
you pouted
just like you were trained, daahling
Ms. Dialis smiling, pashmina shrugging

orientalism was the only drug on the block

thought it was just all right
bros and hos
booty shakin' ghetto getup
at the school social.

Nena blinded to the west side
school house rocks couldn't be jailhouse rock
imprisoned in the privilege
of semetrically cut cucumber sandwiches.

When you were 9
cops were your heroes along with mama and baba
and the boys on the block
who wore baggy clothes as dark as you were
in the summer during wintertime
were up to something

not imagining 6 year old Regina
was escorted out of class for screaming
because she didn't share because
you didn't either

imprisoned by visions of Amreeka
Baba painted for you to protect you
from school prisons and prison schools
what difference does it make anyway
when you are hanging on monkey bars
swinging, swinging
hiding under jumpers and lace.

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