After Winter comes spring, when ghetto voices remember how to sing,
selling bling-bling, captured in a spiral of suffering,
I told ’em “nothing” when they asked if I was holding
got scolded by hot verse reserved for high kings
I woke up, spoke up then got my spokes choked up
drummed up and had to hitch home with my thumb up
a broken cup couldn’t hold water even if it were wine
A fierce mind falters if it doesn’t have a strong spine
Trading dollars for dimes and balancing on a fine line
Crying, “don’t take me back to court”, I said
drying dreads, four decades since I seen my own bed.
Snorting dried five-alives looking for street cred,
Now, scratch marks on my coffin to prove I was never dead.
Daddy said, “I can’t give you what you need,
so you better watch your mouth and you better watch your deeds
no stallions for steeds but there’s a battalion rallying in the words that you read.
Every single man has got to have a creed or a code ‘cuz hard lines are tough acts to follow,”
So, with classical largo, I spit slow to make it to tomorrow.
Calling out to Jim Crow, “I recognize, never fail to historize
and memorize all the times that you been terrorized.
There’s a lot of victims in a genocide and everything I know comes from just this one life of mine!
And when their souls sigh, they never leave a dry eye.”
So when it’s Do or Die, you’ll stand up for your rights,
the podium erodes in the absence of the people’s might.
‘Cause we carry the light! Every furnace is counted in candles –
Too hot to handle, we run deep like the mantle of the Earth.
The foundation of every birth – be it a blessing or a curse.
I’m confessing that a Mother can be smothered by the trial of giving birth.
Playing circles in her mind like seeing violence in reverse.
Spit a cycle of curt words to break the wings of her birds.
It doesn’t matter if you were born first or third,
‘cuz that Hate is bound to spread when it’s heard.
But now we’re here, so nevermind, smile alive and have some compassion
We could save ourselves a whole lot of queer-bashing,
if the spigot of bigotry had no symmetry,
if ignorance of experience was filled in by family,
Maybe even happily!
Then walk a mile in the Other’s shoe.
Didn’t you know Johnny Appleseed had rotten roots?
You can learn a lot from someone by the stains beneath their boots.

by Michael Cody Clarke
All Rights Reserved.