Walking: Postcard From The Ghetto Part 2

My feet know the sounds that bump off trashcans
And walls. The way bats echolocate.
The way Ray Charles saw.
Knowing what kind of dog it is by the way that it barks.
Doberman or other.
Whether to walk or run.

Not a walk in a park; a field trip in minefields.
No gas mask or wrong colored flag,
Shielding rotten bananas and tofu sexing soul food
In too narrow alleys where a used condom is a reminder
Someone took the time to care.

This is where I see the light. The world.
Showing her breasts bursting through walls
Neon as billboards advertising the same vices
In exclusive places where Dunhill and mouths
Caked with lipstick brighter than taggings embrace.

Someone asked,
Why don’t you take another route?
One more scenic, safer.

Here, I know the sounds of cops
Driving toward or away.
Ambient noises. Rats rifling.

Here, a walk is a movie
I didn’t pay a week’s worth of groceries to see.
A crowd of strangers holding their purses and wallets
When I cough from thirst, but can’t afford a five-dollar bottle
Of water, knowing I can get half of a baker’s dozen
From a convenience store that has flawed burglar bars.
Stale cookies and discounted potted meat in bruised cans.

A structure too stingy to quit; a mom and pop spirit
I pass during the night for solace, when others warn to
Be aware, even during the breaking of day,
When the sun seeps beautifully into cracks.

Footnote: *Flag, another word for bandana; **Taggings, another name for graffiti

Van G. Garrett