There Goes The Neighborhood

from by Micah Bournes

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“Would you like some more water?"

"Naw, I'm good."

"That's not what your parole
officer said.
Did you register when you moved into
the neighborhood?”

I couldn’t decide if he was a cold
racist asking a racist question,
or a friendly racist telling a racist

Either way, I was not amused.
But I laughed.

As the awkward chuckle passed through
my lips,
it tasted like The Eucharist,
like blood in my mouth,
my stomach churned as I imagined it
would if I ate human flesh.

I felt like Judas and Christ,
betraying myself then hanging in
silence as I’m crucified.

I wanted to prove him wrong

I wanted to stand up and list off
credentials in words with more
syllables than his
simple mind could take.

I wanted to prove him right

I wanted to stand up and fire off
hyphenated profanities
inventing new conjugations
for four letter words like
the dumbest nigga he done eva heard.

I wanted to prove him wrong

I wanted to leave and come back with
the black elite. A fleet of the
darkest intellectuals he's ever seen.
Leaving tips large enough to buy out
business twice over

I wanted to prove him right

I wanted to leave and come back
with thugs and hoodrats
with chains guns and bats
burn this place to ash

But what did I do?
I laughed.

Then sat there silently.
Then ran home and wrote poetry?
Then screamed it out like I’m not a
Like I didn’t cry in front of my
computer screen?
Like I wasn’t waiting for my two white
friends to speak up for me?
Like I stood up for myself?
Like I did something?
Like I fought a revolution?
Like it wasn’t funny?
Like I didn’t laugh?

But I did.

And it tasted like The Eucharist.
Like blood in my mouth,
and I swallowed it.


from Alive & Ill, released June 25, 2014
Sponsored by World Relief
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by E.M.J. of AlterBoy Productions
Album artwork by Lindsey Taylor



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Micah Bournes Long Beach, California

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