JIVE POETIC, Artist: Rule number one: Always know it is time to go home. Summer camp was free lunch in a park, then back home, trip to Manhattan, then back home.
No matter where you were, if those street lights came on, and you was not home, there was a problem. If mama had to look for you, if community got involved a problem, a problem. And solutions never came easy.
We still have not solved what happened to little Tasha. And mama used to say, be aware of emergency vehicles, police cars, sirens, screams, cries, tears. All emergency vehicles, be aware of how far away they are, how fast and far close, closer, how close that close far was too late. They’re tardy.
Always made us the most almost riots. Always made them the most almost panicked. Always enter their Cavalier with middle finger and curse words spoken and thrown by the dialect. Always raged into flames, as if our bodies were built from the kiss of match and gas can, because we have not forgotten.
We have not forgotten. We have not forgotten Carmela Stevenson was alive when them sirens came, dead when negligence dropped her from gurney to sidewalk. And mama used to say, distraction will get you killed.
Pay attention to your environment. Pay attention to your environment. You too have instincts for a reason. Use them. Use them like childhood street lights. They will always tell you when it is time to go home.
If you think you know how your poem is going to end, then you’re not going to have a poem, because the poem is going to want to do something else. And you’re going to be stuck going one way.
I don’t carry any notebooks. What I will do is, I will throw a line down. I will type it up. And I will walk. I will walk through whole of Brooklyn. I will walk from Bed-Stuy to Flatbush. I walk back to the bridge.
And that’s the thing with living in New York City, where I can say these poems out loud by myself at night, and nobody thinks you’re crazy. The things that I say in my poems are things that I have absolutely have to say.
I know that there are kids who grew up like I grew up, from where I’m from, and they aren’t always aware that their voice matters. I think it matters. It matters to me. And hopefully it will matter to somebody else.
But there’s a lot of systems designed to try and silence me anyway. There’s no point of me surrendering my voice. That’s — why would I want to do that? Surrender your voice? You fought too hard to have one.
My name is Jive Poetic, my Brief But Spectacular take on things I have to say.