She is currently working on a series of prose pieces about the lives of people she has met or observed on her life journey. Lately, she has been drawn to the stories of the people around her, and she is starting to see that the voice of a woman in Brazil or Ghana or India might not be so different from the voice of a woman in Flatbush or East New York, Brooklyn. Like the elders say, “Sometimes you got to look in your own backyard.”
79th Street Chicago
On the Southside
(say it with a drop in your jaw)
(say it with a drag in your voice)
a sloppy child has spilled ink
all over the streets
the cracked sidewalks spotty
as a Dalmatian’s back
the triangle houses like
made in day camp.
A group of teenagers
spills off the corner
and coming back together again.
The sun slides down
an alley between two buildings
and above the gray loop of the train tracks
the sky is the color
of little girls dresses on a Sunday morning.
Children walk home
schoolbags dangling from the crook of their elbows
leaning against the sides of their mothers
and the mothers
brace themselves on the children’s shoulders
pressing out the weariness
of the day.
at the mall: a stream of consciousness
i hate the mall. there’s too many people. there’s too many lights. who pays the electric bill? i guess the shoppers do. that lit-up Santa looks terrifying and the real one looks dirty. i know his beard ain’t sposed to be beige. i wouldn’t let a dog sit in his lap. all these women are naked. don’t they know leggings is a part of an outfit and not the outfit itself? would it kill somebody to buy a shirt that covers a behind? look at that fool in the diamond store with his drawers showing. even if he spends a thousand dollars those men in suits are still gonna laugh at him when he leaves. is he buying a diamond earring for that baby? lemme look the other way. how they only got one bookstore in this place and it’s right between the ice-cream store and the pretzel shop? like all readers do it sit around and eat. i wonder if they got that buy two pretzels get one free deal. i’ll get a regular, an almond and save a cinnamon for later. then i could drink a buncha water and walk it all off. but i’m gonna look at these books first. how come the black book section is so small? i don’t know if that’s good or bad. i wonder how it would feel to have a book with my name on it and would it be in the front of the store with a real serious-looking author photo of me staring off into the distance? what if i had a book-signing and nobody came? is there a back door where i can sneak out? i’m giving myself high blood pressure. i’m going to the pretzel shop. how old is this cashier and does her mama know she out here working in this little t-shirt trying to be cute? she gone be laid up sick tomorrow. do the Victoria Secret people have to put them naked dummies with bikini drawers in the window right as i’m walking by eating a pretzel? why is that security guard looking at me? maybe he thinks if i wasn’t eating this pretzel i would be in there buying tiny panties. i know he sure wouldn’t get none. he got a nose like a fist. look at that girl with all those bags. where do folks get so much money? that’s a tacked up weave though. she gonna have to cut it out. i betcha she go natural in a year. after awhile you get too old for all that. why is this lady staring in my face. no please don’t come over and ask me about my headwrap. no please don’t come over and ask me about my headwrap. yes it’s from Ghana. i don’t care that your cousin is going there. is he gonna bring me back something? then keep it moving. look at that rasta family. didn’t i see that man at the binghi chanting down Babylon and now he buying nike sneakers? his wife is pregnant again. them babies is beautiful but look at her trying to run in her condition. put that sneaker down and help her fool!