Back on the Black Block

Elaine Thomas, Germany.png
Back on the Black Block

On the streets where i grew up

There were no high buildings

Lots of store front churches and liquor stores

Little brown girls in catholic school uniforms

Climbing in overfilled dusty loud buses

Boys playing basketball behind barbwire courts

Babies crying in the scorching summer sun

Oh yeah, we had a bunch of barbecues

Soul music in all variations blasting from open windows

Baseball games, basketball, jump rope, card games

street dancing, singing, cussin’ and praisin’ the lord

The smell of roast and frying chicken on Sundays

Guys hanging out in front of sagging dilapidated doors

You might find an old used needle or two or three

Stuck sadly under a pair of worn rusty swings

And the playgrounds usually had more than just kids

On certain street blocks in my community

You weren’t allowed to walk through

Not if you didn’t belong there

Unless you had family living on it

Violence, oh we had that on many corners

Sometimes the dim lamplights shone the blood

Of the last misunderstanding between two men

Or men and cops or even between men and women

Almost everybody I knew had a gun or a rifle

Some had baseball bats at every door entrance

We had sanctified preachers in almost every family

Cops, doctors, teachers, junkies, army folk, drunks

Girls dressed like women and boys posing as men


Some houses had well-kept lawns watched by german shephards

While others had basically nothing but a sagging roof and the smell of piss

Lots of nosy police cars prolling the streets looking for eyesores

Some didn’t even need an excuse to pull out a club, handcuffs, or a gun

The parks were often full of the sound of percussion beats 

Revolutionists arguing about how to overthrow the missing system

Or the strong smell of ganja enveloping a group of teenagers

Shell shocked ex. soldiers sleeping on empty benches

Evicted homeless looking for warm dry shelter 

Families living in cars unable to pay the exorbitant rent

Ghurch ladies spent a lot of time getting home most evenings

And the noise from the clubs never seemed to stop

Life wasn’t easy on the block, but it wasn’t boring either


Camille Elaine Thomas

March 02, 2022

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