When we drove, we saw
overgrown weed on chipped brick,
barbed wire on stick,
and our eyes read poverty.
Our eyes read trouble.
My mother sat uncomfortably in our van,
but I wanted to ask her:
“have you forgotten where you came from?”
There was spray paint
and we read gangs
when they were only signs.
The true city was here.
Cracked foundation nation,
our people were the glue.
We drove ourselves away when
we were only the trouble,
missing the beauty under stubble,
I sat in a car among pessimists,
maybe just realists-
I was the head-in-cloud therapist.
We left people who sang Obama on their lips and
family barbecues in their hearts.
Our eyes saw luxury apartments
lined with chrome silver
and we thought we were blessed.
But the very roads we drove on
we’re just as chipped as when we left.
“I like places that are flat,” my father chanted
deep in a land hugging mountains
with a life that’s been everything but.
and I pitied our conditioned hearts
for I was the only one who saw light through the overgrowth.
do not slab chrome over color.
Do not build brick over black.
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