Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Vanessa German: New Crack in the Neighborhood

there is new crack on the street today plus the first of the month was yesterday which means checks been cashed all night and spent on the block. you can always tell when there is new crack on the street cuz it dmn near be like a farmers market up formosa way n down past the old apple tree house. which aint there no more cept the architectural remnants of a garage that the men pee against like it is an outdoor urinal. and then there is the matter of the sickness in the face. how sometimes you kin see the crack in the face. it shows up like a ghost up under the eyes. in the hollows of the cheeks in the slouch of the feet when there aint none or in the kick n the step when there iz. & i have counted at least 2 dozen steadies. lotsa women. some just girls young az 16 or 17 young az high school use to be cheerleaders track stars. some of them with fathers who handed them the pipe first. a genetic history of the blues. how hard the fight is. to get offa it. how hard it is to go up into the jail something short like possession or aggravated something or other. n then to come out lookin for yo people. lookin for a place to be made whole wit some goodness some grace n a clean place to sleep at night. a pillow like to smell of yo own mama’s goodness. when you dream. but what you got to come back to is the same. block the same people who know alla yo nicknames. convenient places to lay down between block swaths. and another one to two months of makin it. n this i only know cuz my friend. she goes in and out in and out halfway houses fights then back on the block wit an old cell phone n a list of contacts who aint worth shit no way she say. when she drives through wit her mama who only recently let her back into the house after 5 or 6 years of wanting better for her so bad that she decided to just let god or the wind have at the whole situation and stopped speaking to that child all together. and here now she is clean 4 or 5 months i guess. and stops by to say high to me. and the way her eyes haunt this block. where everything horrible just went right on ahead and stood on top of her. stacked itself up against her rib cage till she cdn’t hardly breathe at all no more. just half-happy to have made it out wit her own life. i guess. she visits and her eyes haunt this street. sayin. yeah. i . i. i. i. i. cain’t come to dis part of town no more. n i feel her n know that it is the truth. that this part of town is evil for her. it is evil n it hurts her. n i know why. don’t need no hypotheticals or guesses. she is right to stay away. specially when there is new crack on the street. thank god no gun shots. cuz i don’t care what they tell you in the land of wishful thinking and social services. it is a wreck and a half to the soul to watch that shit go down. aint no easy way outta of it or getting use to it. uh-huh no. and don’t believe them when they try to pass that shit off as regular. cuz it aint. but cd we talk about the pain? cd we? cd we discuss– addiction? cruelty? the epidemic of broken souls houselessness joblessness n the american way of forgetfulness. cd we please? or no. ok then that’s fine n fair if we don’t talk about it all right now. but what i wanted to tell you lastly in this long list is that Mary one of the oldest street ladies. not old as in age. but old as in been on the block so long that she is tattooed into the street corners. can even see her in the shadows you know her resting shape when she falls asleep on the church steps. she comes by my house yesterday. the house wit the messy porch. and she says that she is goin in. she says i have finally done it. i am going in on the 10th. i just picked a date. i am going in she says. i says where. she says the western psych. i says. oh. she says that she is finally gonna do it. finally gonna get up offa it. she says that it is too hard. and why is there no place for women she asked. why don’t i do this she says. a place for women. and i tell her i am working on it. something never seen before but as recognizable as a dinner plate. i tell her i am working on it. we are working on it.

Copyright 2015 Vanessa German

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2015 by in Personal Essays, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , .

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