Blue Line Incident

By Jacob Saenz Jacob Saenz
He was just some coked-out,
crazed King w/crooked teeth
& a teardrop forever falling,
fading from his left eye, peddling
crack to passengers or crackheads
passing as passengers on a train
chugging from Chicago to Cicero,
from the Loop through K-Town:
Kedzie, Kostner, Kildare.
I was just a brown boy in a brown shirt,
head shaven w/fuzz on my chin,
staring at treetops & rooftops
seated in a pair of beige shorts:
a badge of possibility—a Bunny
let loose from 26th street,
hopping my way home, hoping
not to get shot, stop after stop.

But a ’banger I wasn’t & he wasn’t
buying it, sat across the aisle from me:
Do you smoke crack?
Hey, who you ride wit’?
Are you a D’?
Let me see—throw it down then.

I hesitate then fork three fingers down
then boast about my block,
a recent branch in the Kings growing tree;
the boys of 15th and 51st, I say,
they’re my boys, my friends.
I was fishing for a life-
saver & he took, hooked him in
& had him say goodbye like we was boys
& shit when really I should’ve
gutted that fuck w/the tip
of my blue ballpoint.

This poem first appeared in RHINO.

Source: Poetry (November 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2012
 Jacob  Saenz


Poet and editor Jacob Saenz was born in Chicago and raised in Cicero, Illinois. He earned a BA in creative writing from Columbia College in Chicago. Saenz has been an editor at Columbia Poetry Review and an associate editor at RHINO. He works as an acquisitions assistant at the Columbia College library and has read his poetry at a number of Chicago venues. A CantoMundo fellow, he has also been the recipient of a Letras Latinas . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Youth, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Class, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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