here’s to the cottage grove

corner store                 newports

& nachos


from the king drive      free

bus ride           to the sister

talk      “always be carful”


here’s to her reminder:

“you are a fragile

on the fourth”



On Drowning


I dream me a bloodied thing.


Covered in a

not a cleansing blood.

But rather, one to be laid on thick;

on door posts, on school doors:

“No lead shall come here!”


I dream me a liar.

Make me a lyric

in a sorrow song.


Drown in my morphemes.


Metamorph me to a white

aspiration: full human.

full human.


And let us live beasts. Best

we choke on that blood. Best

we drown in the purest one. Best

we cough

us up a violent storm

& choke. & choke. & choke.

& choke. & choke. & choke.


And learn better to live

without this oxygen.





South-South-South Side

—Kanye West (2014)


SOUTH(side) a runaway from a bird call —

a mothafuk to a Jim Crow,

a side swipe                and a middle finger.


SOUTH(side) a red line          and

an L train at the same time.


SOUTH(side) a picnic — a run towards

for potato salad and fried chicken.

SOUTH(side) the broad-shouldered boulevard

— the uncle at the picnic

who slide you few bucks in handshakes and

might slide you a High Life this time.

A “come here nephew.”

An “I don’t like this.”

A show up at next picnic        no handshake.

A show up at next picnic or               graduation.


“no one believes me.”


SOUTH(side) make life quick like —

left lane on the Dan Ryan

or Harold’s      from 87th        after marijuana.


Chicago the most like America —        an industry,

a North Side electric death.

A little destiny manifested

as an off duty back head bullet shot unlike                the Bulls ever seen:

— Crowd goes wild

— officer not guilty

— salary paid by my blood taxes.


Add a school closing. A teachers’

strike. And school closings.

And a “You not from here.”

And more school closings.


SOUTH(side) a baby’s cry —

born in a choke hold                and pockets filled with cigarettes.

A 1996 product          of a mothafuk.


Immanuel Sodipe is a poet, essayist, organizer, and fried chicken enthusiast currently living in Chatham.





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