…pretend you’re invited to a house party where everyone
is welcome. there’s no cover charge. no expectation for you
to cop weed or beers for anyone. snacks will be provided.
at the door, the host gives you the 411:
welcome to the Terrordome! in here we’re all about
U-N-I-T-Y. but anything goes, almost. this is America:
you can have whatever you like, do what you want. act
like it’s your birthday. forget all your 99 problems. we got
gin and juice to sip on, or lemonade if you’re so inclined.
if you’re holding, you can get high on your own supply, but
those goons in the corner can get you right (be careful:
their shit’s like playing Russian roulette with an automatic).
furniture’s been moved to make a dancefloor, and we’ve got
more rhymes than there’s cops at a Dunkin’ Donuts shop. so shake
what your mamma gave you like a polaroid picture, or lean back
and simply enjoy the flava in your ear. if you peep the one
who keeps on passing you by—and they’re finally ready
to let you shoot your shot when you see ’em—there’s a private spot
in the back where you can put your thing down, flip it and reverse it.
you know what I’m saying—rock it to the bang bang boogie,
say up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat. stop,
drop, shut em down, open up shop. CREAM. whatever you’re into:
you can move in silence like lasagna or an old batch of collard greens.
but if you’re feeling out of place, you can call up Ali, Asher, Corey,
Dave, Jaime, Malcolm, and definitely Marshall (them fools ain’t scared
to death or scared to look at what will be going down). basically
there’s only one thing is off limits when you step in my house: don’t fuck
and if you don’t know, now you know.
Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is the author of Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020), Dust and Ashes (Californios Press, 2020), and editor-in-chief of The Weight Journal. His recent poetry is appearing or forthcoming in Biological Creatures, Massachusetts Review, Nightingale & Sparrow, Ploughshares, Solstice, Twyckenham Notes, and The Windhover. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education from other institutions. You can find him at www.MEHPoeting.com writing about education, race, religion, and burning oppressive systems to the ground.