A Collaborative Effort With walkerjo lee|Music: Outkast–Liberation
He comes —
sits real calm-like next
to Daddy, puffs out a heap of
smoke and says, “Gotta make a decision, Tony.
We bulldozing through this city block
with or without your consent.”
I watch Daddy’s eyes turn cold,
he can’t sit, can’t stand, he just
looks frozen in time.
the man in the perfect hat
pats my Daddy’s leg once, then
lifts himself from our porch swing,
a trail of smoke follows him
down the block, connecting his
lies as it forms.
Daddy gives me a quick smile,
he isn’t a big man, short and thin.
he looks like time swaying in
the breeze, waiting for a lifeboat
that’s never coming his way.
he tells me that the Big Wigs
are making us move, taking our
home from up under us.
“We got thirty days, Pumpkin.”
and, I don’t know where
we gonna go, but I hear my
Mom’s soul sigh
in the dead of night.
if she was still alive,
she’d cut that man in the perfect hat
with her words and tell him
where he can stick his ideas.
A strip mall.
that’s what they’re building.
fifteen homes on our block
and three on the next will
be demolished in a matter of days.
I sit and think of that smoke
and how it followed the man
in the perfect hat and I
wonder if it’s gonna come
back without him one day
and liberate us.
thirty days to go and no new home in view
wanting to stay knowing it’s time to leave
sights set on tomorrow
get a new home that fit our porch swing
a patch of dirt to grow bundles of greens
mom’s energy nearby
while i pick and pull from the stems
she keeps a watchful eye over me
while i soak and rinse in the kitchen sink
dandelions in the kitchen window
daddy’s head hangs over the daily news
we beat the thirty days
we walk at our pace
no new development looming near.
daddy gives me that quick smile
a sway in the breeze, he stands
on a sunday afternoon
memory of my mom, she stands beside us
daddy washes his hands and opens the oven door
our home smells of roasting meat
that time, mom had me snapping fresh peas
our family, as whole as can be
home was home, our yard had a tree swing
lay mom to rest, our three turned into a two
all our memories stuffed into a one bedroom
daddy on the sofa
i have a door with a window view of a toxic factory
maybe, a strip mall in our place
won’t be so bad
mom would have the paper preparing for our new home.
i smile daddy’s quick smile, turn to the real estate section
we sit in the sun
i reassure him this time
dream big enough for us both
sure we won’t see the man with the perfect hat
gone before he returns
it is time and we will go
i know one strip mall where we won’t shop
Originally posted on Medium via A Cornered Gurl