Where I’m From

Shadows cast by cemetery trees and skyscrapers…

Hot dog trucks along grassy greens.

City pools, train tracks and Edison’s old factory

Black Maria down the street

Super fund site in, my backyard

Next door neighbors’ grape vines sprawling over an almost unwired fence.

Two mile wild walk from the promise of well integrated schools where grateful families bused their children to greatness…

Hot pressed hair after choir rehearsal for white dress and badges on Sunday. Thank you Lord for hymnals falling apart in the pew. Lights flickering in the fellowship hall from foot-stomping joy above.

Lights out, kerosene and cornbread too salty…too sweet. Yellow like cake, not white, like right…with buttermilk and love stirred by hand with bacon grease from the can on the side of the stove.

Where’s daddy? Why daddy? Mommy when?

Subways screeching, escalator rolling, conductor mumbling


Sit down girl, get up baby, pancakes steaming love.

Where I’m from, we love on purpose, play on purpose, talk on purpose, walk on purpose, take on purpose…

Wearing her on our shoulders like grandma’s fox-faced stole.

From Brick City to O’Jays’ home, Jackie Gleason’s school across the street, Latimer’s legacy, Radon Girls, Black Girl Magic from Jersey to New York, Ohio to North Carolina…I’m from good, bad and wonderful.

Black love and joy.

One parent, two parent, three parent



Work done to grow me and show me God’s love and pure mercy.

Over dinner,

Over Roots,

Over Good Times,

Where I’m from…

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