Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

(Working Title) Englewood Kids

I started typing and only got so far... Forgive me. Things are well and I keep busy. I'm also getting some writing in as you can see from the passages below. I got more but I haven't touched my bed since yesterday morning...

He had never felt as lost as he was in this moment. Indeed, he was the new kid and he felt out of place as he stood on his stoop. The neighborhood kids played just a distance away and they kept an eye on each other, them wondering when he would come out to the sidewalk to address and he wondering if one or all of them would run over to the bottom step and invite him to partake in their fodder.

This was only different in the fact that he never thought that he would ever end up here. His parents worked to the point of him not seeing them during the week, also knowing that he was one of the few kids at school that actually lived in a house. Families in the big city were apartment dwellers. The only other family he knew that lived in a home as big as his was his cousin.

There were good memories had from the summer he spent at his aunt and uncle’s house. Times have changed and so has his family’s status after his father died in an accident at the auto plant a few months ago. He barely saw his mother anymore. When she wasn’t crying alone in her bedroom she was working one of her three jobs, studying for night school or sleeping. He was basically on his own these days and this was the first summer living in the brownstone apartment he now called home. No more summers with his cousin, no more as his dad called it ‘country adventures’.

He never thought his situation would change like this. Remembering going over to grandma’s house and driving through these neighborhoods. He was an outgoing kid, not afraid to address a stranger and not scared to explore new places, but this was too surreal to wrap his brain around:

Older boys hanging on the corner
Lawns with no grass growing in them
Stores with speakers on the outside of the front door, music blaring
Random kids running amok
Vacant lots and run down buildings blending in with neighbors next door watering non-existing plants
Fire hydrants open, kids and auto traffic merging with little to no effort
Women dressed like they’re going swimming with their church shoes on walking the dark places of the back streets
Weird-looking churches right on the same street as the liquor store
So many liquor stores… And the activity around them

He thought it was the story he saw on the TV each night on the news. He thought he would never be a part of it so he casually ignored it. Some of his father’s co-workers lived in these areas be he never knew which one. A few of the kids came to the repast and funeral with their parents and he remembered being in the room separated as the grown folks bantered about and recalls how loud these kids were. They seemed to be more open and loose with their expression that he remembered being taught so he remained quiet. And now he stood on the stoop of his new home carefully observing this same kids wondering if they would ever make contact.

They remained observers of each other until one kid walked over to the bottom step of the brownstone and addressed the neighborhood’s new edition:

“Hey, what’s up?”
“I’m David, what’s your name, man?”
“I’m Kevin.”
“You got any brothers or sister man, or is it just you over here?”
“Nah, it’s just me.”
“That’s cool. I got a little brother. He messes up everything. You wanna go walking around?”
“Go walking where? I don’t know a whole lot about around here.”
“Don’t worry man, it’s the hood, ain’t much to know unless somebody starts fighting or the man comes through.”
“The man?”
“Yeah, you know. The cops, the fuzz, mister Charlie and em’.”
“The police?”
“Yea man. They always messing with folks around here. My dad calls em’ get stoppo.”
“You mean Gestapo – the German killer police?”
“Yeah, just like them dudes from history class. Sometimes they go around killing folks for no good reason, but that’s just the dudes that got dope though. Them Gestapo dudes popped my daddy’s brother three years ago. What you know about some German history anyway?”
“That’s all we ever learn about in history at my school anyway is about the war and how that holocaust changed how we do things. My pops used to tell me that there was some sort of a black holocaust but…”
“He ain’t around no more”
“Shoot, my daddy ain’t either. He split too?”
“Naw, was in an accident.”
“And y’all moved here? Dang man. But don’t worry though, ain’t too many kids here ever seen their daddy, the just be hanging out.”

They talked on the stoop for about an hour and then they started to walk around, David showing Kevin the neighborhood. As Kevin toured what was his new hangout and home, he wondered what would become of him amid the madness and noise, sirens and loud music. He studied this kid and wondered what made him of all people endear himself to a total stranger and wondered aloud sometimes why he was so open when all the other kids just looked and never spoke.

As they walked and explored, he imagined himself as just one of the boys hanging out on the corners looking as if her was protective of all the abandoned buildings and vacant lots. He knew that he would have to make everything he took in familiar, this was his new home and he had to know it like the back of his hand. The one thing he never knew is how much he’s need the knowledge of the lay of that land… Kevin’s world would indeed change as much as he would become a product of this new environment.

1 comment:

Big Mark 243 said...

Pretty good story. Will try my best to keep up with it.

I had 'moments' like that here in Detroit, but I am the oldest, and that makes it a bit different from Kevin's experience.

Good start.