bloody nickel | Natasha Carrizosa

 


moren-hsu-VLaKsTkmVhk-unsplash

 

i teach in fifth ward. 
also known as denver harbor.
also known as forgotten (kids) battlefield. i am always
divided 
like blood
like 
train 
tracks
that run 
between 
both 
black 
brown
hood

 

they run
up and down me

with they stories 
with they lifetimes
with they IG posts
with they snapchat 
fight videos

they older than me
¿como se dice lived a thousand lifetimes 
before reaching fifteen
en español?

how you rise/multiply
struggle times poverty
aquí 
thirteen
catorce
quince

 

where the accent/ascent go?
see: (sangre) below

i got a kid
last name corona
she fight like a man
was in jail
when harvey came
work construction 
after school
8th grade

i got a kid
who don’t do nothin’
but cuss
an’ walk around
he stay angry
stay hongry 
been to jail, too 
love black out poetry 
color blue an’ orange
cain’t read past five. deuce.
he in high school

 

i got a kid
named after candy
(in spanish)
she been bullied
from middle to high
school
she stay (heart)
checking on me

i got a kid 
that got a kid
coming
brother gone
he keep his head down
he write 
only for me

i be tellin’ all my kids
all my truth 
all my stories
‘bout depression
‘bout anxiety
‘bout being poor/pobre 
‘bout ptsd 
‘bout overcoming

 

never give up
open/book
closed/door

i got kids
that don’t eat
cain’t sleep 
ain’t got clothes
ain’t got shoes
ain’t got nobody
they still fireworks
pop-off (4th of july)

expected 
to pass STAAR
with they lights cut off 

my kids cain’t see
light
even if they could read
(just lie)

question:
how you spell school?
(rhetorical)
if you could properly pronounce it
(in english) (class)
if you was one of my (unruly/improper) 
kids (stay on task)
if you could still long enough
to (starving) stomach it

 

my kids juul/crown
been let down
by everythang 
everybody 
standin’
around

my kids still 
survive
don’t beg 
nobody 
don’t cry
(for nobody)

they know
if the system 
was a wishing well 
(full of young stars)
in the middle of the hood
they/it
would/wood not
give a bloody nickel 
to raise a new nation

them politicians
that babylonian/school system
stay begging
my kids
they people 
and they people
to raise they hands
pledge allegiance 
sell they property
sign on dotted line 
sang school song 
that nobody know the words to

i ask my kids
y’all see this 
(historical) graveyard 
right by y’all school?
the one 
they be shootin’ at?
right by y’all apartments 
divided by train tracks 
the one y’all be fighting at?

i make my kids
look up:

genocide
gentrification


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Natasha Carrizosa is a poet, writer, and speaker. Her work is deeply rooted in her childhood and life experiences. Raised as the daughter of a fierce African-American mother and Mexican father, her writing reflects the dichotomy of these two rich cultures.

She is author of mexiafricana, heavy light, and crown.

Her work has recently been published in ¡Manteca! – an anthology of Afro-Latino poets and R2: The Rice Review (Rice University.) She has performed her work and conducted workshops for audiences in Madrid, Paris, St. Lucia, New York, Chicago, Houston and countless other cities.

Her love for the arts inspired the creation of natty roots & rhyme – one of the most dynamic poetry open mics in the country.

She teaches creative writing in Houston for WITS (Writers In The Schools.) Natasha also does work for CoolSpeak – a youth engagement company. She speaks, facilitates workshops, and inspires thousands of students around the country each year.

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