"New York Talk" by Mariahadessa Tallie

“New York Talk” by Mariahadessa Tallie

“You cuss like a dude!”-My friend Walter to me when I was 22.

Craved the weight of curses
on my tongue from young

shooting syllables
mothafucka wrapped dreams
like armor.

didn’t I tell you
about stairs coated
with fresh coats
of piss
and gunshot
about my best friend
on her couch
at 16,
men like booby traps
waiting to blow us apart
on every corner,
my close kin floating
down the block
on a cloud of crack,
endless rivers of wine
flowing through my home.

closing the door
closing my ears

those screams
my screams

I needed talk like
swords & broken glass & soldiers
an army of words charging from me

New York talk
speech of survival

speech of renting the land
stolen from your grandfather
& cleaning offices built
on your grandma’s grave

mouths like middle passage
& migration, peach trees
& projects

why I talk
this way?


[author_info]Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is a poet, writer, performer, educator, budding herbalist and mother. She has read her poetry and taught English and creative writing in The United States, Namibia, The Netherlands, and The United Kingdom. She received an M.F.A from Mills College and is currently an adjunct lecturer in the Department of English at York College.Her first book of poetry Karma’s Footsteps was released last year by flipped eye publishing. http://www.ekeretallie.com.[/author_info]