Friday Poem

Blue Line Incident
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.
by Jacob Saenz
from Poetry 2012