PARIS


My mama named me Paris
Because it was a world of lights and language
She’d never see or use.  DC born and raised
She ain’t never been farther than Vienna,

 

End of the Orange Line,
Where she scrubbed floors for a pasty woman who
Set aside a separate plate, fork, and glass
Special, for you and who

 

Tried as she might
Would never be
Any kind of close, family friend.  Too much
History is the simplest version of this lie.

 

I’m Southeast.  I deals
A little of this, a little of that
And tries to be a good shepherd
To my flock.  Look out for the

 

Womens of my runners.  Watch
As they mamas and sisters get off
The bus at the corner.  We all watching,
Make sure they get home

 

Safe.  Lady Jones asked us to look and see
Iffin’ we could fix her
Busted light. A stray bullet.  I shoulda known
They’d finger me as the soft touch.

 

I gotta quit those Bama pleasantries,
Sayin’ please and thank you.  Ma’am and Sir.
I shoulda known. There was gonna be
Some shit.

 

Me an Jupe went on ‘round
There to find three females
Way past anybody’s lapdance,
Their asses and they moufs

 

Swingin back-forth, forth-back. Real sly
They axed Jupe,
“Who look-ed best?  Which one
Still gots what the stuff to make

 

A growed man cry?”  Jupe bent over
Scooped up his tools, said that
He’d see be seein’ me.
So the question naturally

 

Falls in my lap.  They slides their sweaty
Palms ‘cross their polyester thighs,
Make me all kinds of promises they got
No business

 

Makin’.  That’s how it always is
With them oldtimey women.  They
Allus mean well
But cain’t never deliver.