When We Were Young


By Michael Brown Jr.

Your Five Percenter father saw God
In the brown-eyed bums
Between Webster and Tremont

Who slept in that bodega
Across the street
From Popeyes
And Burger King
Yet never went in either
Content to be
Guarded by that grey-striped cat
That the Dominican store owners
Kept around to kill mice

I couldn't see how God
Could cross the street
To stand outside
The liquor store
And offer to buy us
Henne' if we
Let him take a sip

Or how he sometimes sat
In the park when it was hot
And avoided it in the winter
When that one bench burned
With ice and that one tree
Behind it leaned real ominous
Dropping snow sometimes ice
Like the wrist of some rich nigga
Ballin' off an ounce he sold

Though Christ did wear a crown
It wasn't made of tinsel also
Why would he be
Warning every passerby
Of the Walt Disney mind control plot
Unless he was lookin'
To get shot on some ghetto
Going to Golgotha shit

But all the Gods disappeared when
Whoever tore down the whole
Fuckin' block

Tore down the bodega
With the grey-striped cat
And the bums
Had nowhere to sleep
But that burning bench


Michael Brown Jr. is a resident of the Bronx in New York City. He recently attended a Cave Canem workshop in Brooklyn during the spring and hopes to attend a Brooklyn Poets workshop in the summer of this year.