I am tired of the way they chew your name

and spit it out

like fruit pit

    accidentally bitten into

Spit it like the shape of your name tastes bitter

Like Chicago C’s be too cutthroat or

Oakland D’s be dead

set on death

Then swallow the spit of you hard

 

Take your culture

and make you choke it

down

make it manageable/malleable/mundane

Then asks you if you like the new taste

or how the city’s safer now

 

Tells you there’s a grocer where the gangs were

Cafes cloaked over old churches

A Benz parked on top

of where a toddler was shot

Tells you

you should thank them.

You say your mouth can’t shape these words anymore

 

They say the streets no longer dance

like you taught them to don’t

   crump

 step

 juke

                         or turf

So you just wage turf wars over your own skin,

for a stable place to hold your bones

They just watch you walk by

and grow stiff

They just   stay   still

 

They say the city

don't sing like it used to

    don’t El track rift

    don’t Bart train bass boom

    don’t CTA treble

don’t West whistle and keep you quite as calm

Just mold microaggressions into melodies

and never mute them

City just stay silent

City just   stay   still

and barely yours