in the hood

by Stephen Clark Okawa

“Only the poor knew the meaning of life; the rich and the safe had to guess.”
– Charles Bukowski

in the hood, people have bail bondsmen
on their speed-dial.

in the hood, blacks and vietnamese
cut through ever-darkening grey,
a smog of poverty.

in the hood, two-story houses
been crumbling since the moment they were completed.

in the hood, the rats live like aristocrats,
all dogs are as free as jesse james,
the cracks in the sidewalks, the
chalk outline hieroglyphics –
stories as old as suffering itself.

in the hood, a man named “Boot”
once dragged his woman down a flight of stairs,
and when the po’ arrived he calmly
explained that
it was “a drive-by.”

in the hood, jail is a place you go
in between shrugging your shoulders at your limited options
and the inevitable crime.


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