Alameda Street

for Deshawn, Eric, Dallas, Jerome & Lerone

We brown boys
          play
                     stick games,
          say
                     nicknames
like BIG D, EVIL E;
and conjure Knievel
with jigsawed dirt bikes
and sewer curbs
for asphalt launch pads.
          We all sweat
          to know flight
          for just
          a minute.

We brown boys,
          hair
                     all knaps, 
          wear
                     ballcaps’
broken brims. Broken rims
from hungry slamdunks,
pro-ball pipe dreams
over ice cream man’s
“Pop Goes the Weasel.”
          We all hunt
          change from cords’,
          Bermudas
          and mamas.

We brown boys—
          smack
                     talking
          slap
                     boxing—
stay bragging and bagging,
drinking summer from hoses
and water bomb barrages.
We throw rocks at garages
making no dents.
          We all just
          trying to leave
          a mark.

Douglas Kearney, “Alameda Street” from Fear, Some. Copyright © 2006 by Douglas Kearney. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.
Source: Fear Some (Red Hen Press, 2006)
More Poems by Douglas Kearney