Novel Excerpt

They’re Living In Hell (Limerick)

A woman gave birth to a boy

12 years later his life was destroyed

The kid joined a gang

The mother’s in pain

Cause now her young boy’s in a morgue

Source: RevitalizedPoetry


Black Elizabeth in no way knew a night of passionate sex would lead to a day of such suffering. Such hollow feeling of being hollowed out clearly what was in her was no longer. She paced from one end of the living room to the other as if to escape disbelief like a game of Pac-Man. But the problem was belief. The belief that her seed had sprouted only enough to be crushed by the soles of the beast, the elephant called Violence. Why was it that such violence came to Black Carl at an age so young?

“Carl,” she would say, “getchyo black ass inside before mama put a whooping on you.”

“Mama, I wanna be an astronaut,” he told Mama under the lit moon. They were laying cradled on a hammock tied to two poles used for a clothesline. “I wanna be a juggernaut.”

“A what?” asked Mama, in surprise of the vocabulary more so than the definition. For the definition, she knew not. But the connotation she kinda knew.

“A juggernaut of space,” said Black Carl.

“Oh. Ok. See son, you can be watchu wanna be whatever it is at any time but you gotta keep in mind, you know, that things ain’t always come to you – like air. You know how air just come to you? Yo dreams ain’t gon’ come to you like no air, you hear? Dreams ain’t like that. Dreams you work for like a good woman. Like poppa. Yo poppa was finna get a second job when we had you. That’s why I was finna stay with him…till they killed his black ass. I can’t stay with no dead man. A dead man make no money. Less he Tupac on some posthumous shit.”

“Thanks for teaching me that word, sweetheart – posthumous.”

“You’re welcome mama.”

Carl smiled a smile wider than a watermelon wedge and whiter than the coke going up Michelle Pfeiffer’s nose.

The city loomed large. But remote. Black Elizabeth examined the scene and like always liked to imagine that the two metal poles connecting the hammock were actually palm trees. She even took the additional imaginative step and detailed the trees with a few coconuts on each. A vision which she smiled to. She smiled like Carl. “Like mama, like son,” thought she, “no shame in that.”

Meanwhile, Carl conceived of his environment as a map in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He internalized this notion but never expressed it. Not because he couldn’t but because he never found it opportune to do so. He remembered wondering why the creators of the video game based the game on his neighborhood. Carl wondered if CJ was the ideal nigga.

He beat the game.

“Goddamn it Carl! I shoulda never had you!”


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