Daughter of the Ghetto

By Lepadah

Brooklyn is like
layers of thick molasses
sticking to you
never thin
church bells ringing from the wind
where spirits spin

two story walk up
Mustafa hat shop and Islamic wear
Masjid At Taqwa
cross street

The Adhan
time, pray
beside papa
mama abaft

rug rolled out
hands rise
head down
head up
bow, bend knees

recite, recite
chant, chant
dance, dance
gather spirits

seven abound
seven all around
consecrated drums
papa's stories of Damballah

kicking kuku
jumping to chunks of cadence
prospect park
Conga square in the dark

"doobie, go low, low."
touch the earth
down, low, low
give it up to the God's
young feet sweep
accent space

Cora's babies
Great Queen Sengalese
yield a generation in America
promised papa a trip to Mecca

mama nursed stories to be told
while papa stretched goat skins to be sold
left drying in stuyvesant sun
congas waiting to be blessed

a garden for me
turning hoeing hard soil
picking burnt smoke pipes
bullets butts, tossed pennies
flourish fruits behind the slave

our house rocked
man! it was all love
mama the hipshaker
head jerking
snapping neck
to "The Big Pay Back"

there she goes
lordy have mercy
leg kick to the air
break down
to the ground
split

couldn't wait to snap crackle
finger pop
old, new, hip hop
doing the wop

lolloping, skipping in and out of turning loops
first pair bamboo hoops
jingling golden shine
jamaican dancing
Mr. Blake's backyard
Jamaica South Side
back to the crisp street of Bed Stuy

born to burn
born to pray
born to be


Brook land Ghetto child...

© 2010 Lepadah


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