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Letter in Lady Day Spring Tones
Kirpal Gordon

We told you slingin’ rhymes & tellin’ jokes/boastin’ ‘bout time served while sellin’ folks toasts/ could get your ass violated/& now you’re waitin’ in Brooklyn County Detention/waitin’ to get de-loused/ or pronounced brain dead/ en route to the Big House:/ scuffled/(don’t say it/snuffed out)/shuffled off to Buffalo/man/that kid could dance/C-6/moonwalk/3rd tier/hung himself from the commissary chandelier/last year/ B-7/disappear/vainglory war stories/ pimpin’ mommy on heaven street/singin’ doo-wop mijo & Lord-son/ runnin’ deadbeat schemes of cosmic slop/instead of a sweet sumpin sumpin nice & neat.

We told you stay away please from repeats of city custody/naked rectal inspection’s hard sneeze/a drop in the bucket/ called/ fuck it/ let’s get busy/ playin’ the square peg’s cool breeze/ to the keyhole’s chump tease/you can’t make your mark/markin’ time like a nervous loan shark from Bensonhurst/ markin’ down reasons why he can not make bail/worse/ the mark you locked down with was stickin’ people up/shootin’ shit in some shootin’ gallery in Crown Heights/robbin’ his Moms to get high/ smokin’ that dust/totin’ that iron/gettin’ loose enough to bust/then we come up behind ‘em.

We know poets get the blues/ but medication as the only insulation/ against this desperation/ & the beat goes on/ got us playin’ the hype on our own stereotype/ ’cause it all went down in a crack pipe scene/whaddya mean she’s fucked up three days on a drunk/when her weep hole came back here with stolen parts/ parts of people/ parts of cars/where did he come from/ backyard alleyways/ helicopters flyin’ over/why he come back anyways/ just to beat her?/Meantime teen-dream’s in the hallway/& your primo’s tryin’ to get nicer than say/bustin’ a nut from just watchin’ her.

Your landlord came for the backrent/ & he said/ Homie–Scromie-Don’t-Ya-Know-Me/decides the price of everything/growin’ up inside himself scared/man/ the world looks deaf & dumb/ & older brothers are bugged for sure/give ‘em call they’ll play you/ blind/ deaf, dumb & find it down on the corner/ & get with what the man there offer thee!/Ain’t bait, Bee/ but a line to grab onto/not get strung out on/like establish yourself/ million dollar weapon flash style & gold/so miles ahead no one’ll mess with you/Yo Money/check it out/ ain’t no one left to mess with you/ ‘cause they all been sent up/where there’s no sky to breathe/ upstate/up to no good/ up river/ translate/ up shit creek/up to they necks in warehousing Dachau’s/Mrs Dow Jones/We Got a Thing Goin’ on/ Industrial/ up New York State’s mega growth industry/ & return to the street/bird bath clean/ with prison’s best kept secret/ buried within thee/ seen Our Lady of No Hope/ & she’s a he/a hole in the pocket/ called HIV/ & that’s all she wrote.

Your crimie came by & said/ you decide which lie you live/ spaced out ain’t shit/bust out a sniff/stolen car/runnin’ fine/shot a po-leece to snort this dime/get off lay back chill style/we be kickin’ it/H & C thrill/ice cube freeze til your heart goes still /but your grade’s made in the shade/ 3 hots & a cot & you got this motherfuckin’ bid/The yard said/Hometown got 25-to-life/while the Don’s crew didn’t do a minute on the very same charge?/The sarge said underclassed/overtook/undermined/but tuxedo, pelotuto, & what we got/ underground subway destiny/ sneakin’ back from Manhattan/RR Cadillac./

The DA said you’re no poet/ but a burden to the State/a microfiched fragment/ on a lengthening rap sheet/ a hooker/a hustler/ a hack/ & a hit/ & you been/ up/ & down / & over-n-out / & you still don’t know jack/shit/ he called you a pickpocket sodomist/ unable to predict/ how high the top of your head gets/ when you knock into that hard/ cold/ tenement fact / the ceiling’s low on the upward swing of your dreams/I gots to have that money/nose runnin’/ ain’t funny/ain’t no turnin’ back now/he named you bad/he blamed you for predicate felony/he say you shoot drugs/ guns/ violent criminal history/ he say you rock worlds & cry for more/he say you rape younger sister & you don’t tolerate/you terminate/he say you movin’ upstate señor/gettin’ outta East New York/gettin’ on a bus/bus stops where/ Danemora/ SingSing/Elmira/ Shawangunk ain’t funky & Attica ain’t in Greece/translate/ they don’t play no white sox rookie who might go for/ Shucks guy I won’t do that again/they play that rain-on-your-parade broken record/like hold up/Holmes trapped off/reefer up your bum/shank in your bunk/illegal radio besides/got to buddy up when it’s rec-jerkin’ time or I saw that cabron takin’ what’s mine & here’s the goon squad in orange/to kick your world apart/dogs smellin’ contraband/ & it must be us/born in hell to raise hell/preguntar Dios mio/ Que te pasa? Porque yo?/ live live live/ he said where you’re goin’ ain’t nice/ain’t nice/ain’t nice/ain’t nice at all/word.