Blacktop

Playing the game

Always beat in my chest

Shooting hoops

Every childhood day

“Frankie played sports,

I thought he was gay?

Playing with dolls,

Wearing dresses,

Isn’t that how every gay plays?”

Ignore the riot.

Pelted my skin

But never left a hole through it

Made a variety of friends

Where our color wasn’t defined yet

Two black kids plus

One white and Puerto Rican

Equals interracial madness

“We can’t have this.”

That’s what the racists would say

When they saw laughter in our faces

Knew that happiness was progress

Don’t like change, you need to stop it

So then one day,

Friend A was trapped in a fire

Ignited by hatred

Not natural causes

But that’s what the report will always say

Never again will I see Friend A

Friend B was stabbed

Over lunch money

$2.50 was a death sentence

No one knew how much he meant to me

What an honest, kind boy, Friend B

Friend C was shot

Accused of stealing

The Owner was certain

That the Spanish boy was a thief

Deep down I knew that was never Friend C

Tiny coffins

Suits with dreams stitched in the seams

I couldn’t believe

That life was lost too soon

Playing ball and watching cartoons

Was all that we knew

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