We’ve grown accustomed to the constant barking.
Dog seated behind the chain link fence on the corner.
Off white ice cream trunk blares music as
A little girl chases behind “I’m goana get you!”
Mother quickly catches up to the restless child.
“Why can’t I go by myself Mommy?”
We know too well that it is not safe here.
Slick Rick shuffles by, the representation of danger.
“Bruh, come on. Don’t be such a bitch.”
Identical home boys in white tees and blue jeans.
We know your mom bought that outfit
And the gold cellphone receiving the threats.
“Yeah, we went to East Oakland stayed there
Until around ten o’ clock. Didn’t hear no shots.”
We knew our shots would come tonight when the
Newly installed fluorescent street lamps came to life.
We expect bike tires screeching to a halt everyday
At the rustling of a liquor store brown bag.
Streets filled with broken English and broken dreams
Gathering at the gas station with cracked price numbers.
“He sat behind me and kept looking at me every
Time I turned around. What a creep!”
“Oh trust, they gon’ know where I’m from.”
We are left to protect the graffiti filled homes.
“It’s a nice neighborhood” saturated with sarcasm.
The black chihuahua begs to get away from these avenues.
Freshly painted orange Camaro roaring through
Carrying condescending looks in the passenger seat.
Sitting on a concrete slab at the corner knowing
That just being there creates a certain image.
Noise pollutes the streets with hopes of escape.
We feel the separation from the general population.
We know the label plastered to our front doors
And we don’t care.