tell me who has experienced happiness most—
two relentless boys at it again right under
the living room window. By now,
a part of the rhythm. I call this life,
here at my corner.

Admittedly, it takes several forms.
Fried dough. Sugared Milk. Ice.

The sun shines different

on this side of town. Perhaps the old &
new air pollution. Perhaps the difference
in laughter.

There is music on this side, a beautiful holler
connecting mouth to sky. A guitar,
or a horn glowing red,
just out front, or passing
as you look back.

Blocks of color
deep deep blues, and juicy yellow
that amount to an old mountain green

one on the outskirts of Mexico City,
or somewhere in China covered in mist,
or Puerto Rico, or Nicaragua with its 4
king volcanoes, or flat top
Kilimanjaro in the distance,

and now Sears, or do I mean, Daley

which I can see outside my bedroom
windows. The sunrise bold
as my mother waking.


It’s here and alive baby
a tad underground, queer, dirty,

but the heart still thumps
and rocks steady like a southbound 4
King Drive on a Sunday.

Which in many ways heals me,
holds me together. Checks my uppity
art school ass and brings me back
to sweet Annie’s porch and Uncle Bop
Splitting catfish on a table and spitting bull
to no one
as I blow bubbles, out and up.

can I feel a community slipping
over me, and how does that
happen? You scratch my back.

I scratch yours.

What happened to that? Perhaps
it starts in me a slip that shifts
and shakes up the math
of me VS. them timetables,
new reductions, pointed capitalism,
no sunlight segregation, ghost school,

Where is that human touch?
That good day,
that hello gorgeous, when I was holding
myself as I rounded the corner of State
and 68th

a mechanic reminded me we are
both human and more.

When Nina Simone played Chicago,
on her last world tour
they say she was a presence to behold,
but she was tired.
Of what you ask?

Holding her stance.

Check out the present moon, high, high,
in our toxic sherbet sky. Check out the
house at the end of Mango Street.

In the city, what I love is a community
garden, the one next door is full of orange lilies
and tall stalks, painted rocks, thin trees,
and believe it or not butterflies.

Maybe art that heals will save us,
art that talks to more than the artist.

Maybe boldness might save us, wielding
the machete and calling our own names
calling our own shots.

As we wake in the morning
to the same sun I know we are brothers
and sisters. My dear, as siblings
what a volatile time we are living.

Highly sensitive,
charged, a pregnant
moment in history that needs to be popped,

opened up, read

and cleaned off with water and loving hands.

Hands that know what was, and what can be,
a knowing driven by actually giving a damn.
A back against the current. A concerned raised
hand in the classroom.

Someone gasping for air.
Teachers in all shapes,sizes, genders,
and colors

on the bus, on the street, in the market
who can afford to give, and to give,
and to give, and to give, and to give
until the light is received.

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