Six kids, one job? 

This is the post excerpt.


One of my first memories was the ceiling rocking back and forth as a Madonna hit blasted throughout the 3 bedroom apartment my parents had rented before I was born to accommodate my five other siblings. The rocking was from being nestled in my mothers arms as she rocked me to sleep for an afternoon nap. The loud music came from the entertainment system that was in the main room in the apartment. My oldest siblings sang along and cleaned up the apartment. I was the youngest of six children. My father worked for a college ran by jesuits. He was the handyman, plumber, electrician, chauffeur, back up chef and friend to every one of the jesuits. My mother did hair from home on occasion and mostly took care of the household duties. It still baffles me to think that in the 1980s my father supported a family of eight on one salary and a few side hustles like selling goods at flea markets on the weekend. In this day and age it’s hard to even think that the latter was possible. Both of my parents were previously married, therefore my 4 oldest siblings had a different father from myself and my brother that is 2 yrs older than I am. My father had been sick since I’ve ever known him. Don’t feel too bad it was self inflicted in the form of whiskey. He also wasn’t the type that would let anyone feel sorry for him. He was a character as most alcoholics are. One of my first memories of him being drunk was seeing a mouse run across our living room floor and my father yelled “Fuck you Mickey Mouse!” And threw the beer bottle he was drinking at the mouse. The bottle bounced off of the carpet and hit our television, leaving a crack on the screen that would remain on the TV set for about 8-10 years. My mother nagged at him a lot mostly warranted and sometimes it was out of fear. She ruled by way of instilling fear. She would often make what were supposed to be “witch sounds” as we played around passed bed time. My brother and I would say “We know that’s you ma.” She would deny it so we would say “Oh ok so fuck the witch! Fuck you witch!, the witch is a stupid bitch!” She would then run in and say “Hey what did you say? You better respect!” We would be cracking up laughing and repeating “Not you. The witch” while she threatened to slap us. We knew that my mom was scared of everything but also wasn’t afraid of anything if that makes sense.

They Jumped Her… 

School was almost out, I was walkin to the bus stop.. 

seen a crowd turn the corner really loud, so they must got.. 

trouble in mind, I paid attention, didn’t rush, not.. 

a minute on the block, 

that’s when I saw the first pop.. 

not gunfire.. but they grabbed her by her bun, dropped…

her to the ground.. stole her Disc man, gave her one clock… 

right to her nose, she ran away showing one sock.. 

I was half a block away, thinking not today… 

there’s 8 of them, a few girls with a lot to say.. 

I walked around a tree.. a girl said he bout to cross the street.. 

I looked at them deep and said man I ain’t beat.. 

then heard oh shit what up *bleep*.. 

turns out I knew three… 

and they were proud of the shit that I see.. 

I felt bad for the teen but couldn’t cause a scene, 

I knew a few in between but these kids were all mean… 

I picked up her shoe, once I passed that crew.. with hope of saying sorry and return it to you… 

I got to the stop and the bus already passed… I’m from a world that’s crass.. so

I threw the shoe in the trash.. 

immune to the trouble and it wouldn’t be the last… 

I used to share this story laughing, wow I was an ass. 

Drug Wave (poem) 

I’ve seen them go from driving with some gold chains… 

To using their brain to score a little cocaine..

One chain gone, the second gone with no pain.. 

now the car gone where the fuck you gonna go main.. 

back to the corner hit the dealer with a note sayin.. 

let me give a short and I got you when the dough came..

couple dollars in now you owe’em more than ur paid… 

You duck it or you face it either way you’re catching your fade.. 

they caught em with a dull blade.. 

the deeper cuts got no aid.. 

got so infected that they had to cut his whole leg… 

these stories, they have no age,

Won’t even get a whole page… 

in a book of rhymes with no strays ..

dedicated really to the vein game and the nose slaves… 

drugs came in waves and surfed the cities to their graves…

Nobody liked Mike. 

Nobody liked Mike, he showed up in the neighborhood after being kicked out of another neighborhood for reasons unknown to everyone that lived on our street. Raheem brought him around, Raheem was a younger kid that was born and raised in a notorious NJ housing project. He did not live in our neighborhood but might as well have as he was always around. He was considered a bad kid, but grew up very poor and with drug addicted parents, he had no guidance except what he learned in the streets. He was about 12 yrs old at the time. Raheem was always messing with people and bringing around rougher guys to start trouble with those that he felt were inauthentic. It was always premeditated and he would ride around on a bike with a devilish grin while laughing his ass off whenever there was trouble or a confrontation. 

Mike was about 6’4″ and quickly noticed how calm our neighborhood was and started to spread his wings a bit in the neighborhood. He took a liking to a neighborhood girl that had a few “boyfriends” in our neighborhood. Mike was in love, like public displays of affection and all. One day he heard a few guys were clowning him for the relationship with this girl that everyone knew very well. So he walked out in the middle of a group of guys on the corner and says, “fuck that ain’t nothing moving out here if I don’t say so, if u out here with it, I’m takin it fuck that.” 

What Mike was referring to as “it” was cocaine or marijuana. A few of the guys in the neighborhood sold drugs to other people in the neighborhood. Usually to those that were afraid to go to more dangerous areas of the city. One of the smaller guys of the neighborhood had some weed on him, and Mike knew so he walked up to him and pushed him up against the wall and went through his pockets and took all of his weed. The kid was younger and was intimidated. Everyone out there was. In Mike’s perspective, if he robbed them and took over the neighborhood no one can clown him for his relationship. 
There were some neighborhood guys who were taller and more known for fighting and trouble but the guys he robbed were not like that. I mention size as an intimidation factor in this story because at that time guys in our neighborhood would fight to settle differences and the loser usually just fell back from whatever activity caused the altercation. There are way too many reasons for confrontations to list here but more of my stories will reveal some of the reasons in the future. Back to the story. 

The guy who got his weed taken by Mike told an older neighborhood guy (Davee) about it and Davee confronts Mike. Mike immediately swings at Davee and they tussle, that day Mike got the best of Davee as he was a bigger guy. Davee retreated from coming around the neighborhood for a few weeks, while Mike proudly bragged and would peacock about the neighborhood all spring, shirtless while wearing a black Carhart jacket. 

On a warm summer day, I was sitting on my porch with a couple of other guys talking, cracking on each other with our Sony radio playing the latest Dj Clue tape. Mike comes over and says “what’s up” to us. We were neutral in the situation because we had no loyalty to either party and had a large group of our own that Mike wouldn’t dare start trouble with at the time. He waits a while and says “you won’t be seeing Moe and Davee out here for a while.” Moe was Davee’s best friend/ partner in crime at the time of the story. I say “word? why u say that” he says “nothin movin out here if I don’t say so, so they can’t come out here no more.” Not sure if he wanted a reaction or was reasserting himself, however we didn’t give a fuck about any of them and I saw him realized that as I replied, “ahh word.. u got that.. this is all yours brah.” In a sarcastic tone that went over his head as “this” was a 4 block radius with a few older people that liked cocaine and younger people that liked weed conveniently within their vicinity. However, the neighbors did not like newcomers, they were strangely okay with the dealers being the grown up neighborhood children. I don’t say any of this to glorify, that’s just the way it was. 

One day I was walking down the street from the bus stop. I see Moe and Davee walking uphill on the block very fast. I hadn’t seen them in a while and we were cool with each other at that point. For some reason they both had car antennas in their hands. I greeted them with a smiling, yet confused, “where the fuck you been!?” look all in one. Davee says, “yo you don’t know us, you didn’t see us, you never saw us.” In typical hood mentality fashion I replied with, “say no mo” and gave them fives and kept walking. 
As I turn the corner, I see a crowd of people talking and looking at something. As well as a police car and an ambulance. I see a lot of my friends and family are amongst the onlookers. I walked over to the commotion and see Mike being assisted onto a gurney. While agonizing and very bloodied with welts all over. Turns out Moe and Davee whipped him with car antennas! Sounds weird but he was a big guy that was throwing around his weight and intimidation. 

We all knew every building, hiding place, and shortcut and all in our neighborhood. Moe and Davee entered a building beside the one Mike  was in and jumped over to the roof of his building. They came down through the hallway and jumped him once he came out into the hallway. By their logic, in a tight hallway his size wouldn’t be an advantage. They wailed on him until they got tired, but with of all things. Car antennas! Turns out Raheem set him up because, he also got into it with Mike over Mike’s girlfriend. They had Raheem call him to come outside and when he did they had shut off the hallway lights and had him pinned in the dark hallway. 

The police question the crowd as this was about 5pm summer time. However, no one knew a thing. *wink* *wink* 

As I said before the neighbors didn’t like newcomers popping up, no matter how bad any of the neighborhood kids were. They knew who they were at least. 
That was the last I saw of Mike, within a few weeks Moe and Davee would resurface in the neighborhood and all was back to whatever we thought was normal.

Thanks for reading! 

He Waited for Him Every Day for About 4 Months With a 2″x4″

M was about 6’5″ and been home from prison for about a year. When he spoke he sounded like Deebo from Friday, and was pretty dumb in hindsight. He once referred to anthrax as Amtrak. “Look at the powder on that dog, that shit look like he got Amtrak”. Needless to say he proceeded uncorrected. It could have been a mistake but he once referred to a girl with a big ass as having a “Cumongous”ass, instead of humongous. We loved that one and it became a staple in our neighborhood when referring to a big butt. 

M showed up in our neighborhood because his mother lived up the street at the time of his release from prison for murder as a teen. At the time we were at odds with a former friend of the neighborhood that was constantly trying to set others up for robbery. People he grew up with. So he was outcasted but closely monitored at all times. You might say why even be around or deal with such a person, call the police or whatever is logical from the outside looking in. This time period was the late 1990s to very early 2000s. It was very common in any urban neighborhood to have shady individuals at arms length at all times. It was close quarters, families were connected, and everyone had very different financial situations. Some of us had addict parents and some of us had one parent trying to keep track of more than 3 teenagers, while the majority just did what helped them fit in. 

Back to the story, M quickly became known in our neighborhood because he was an intimidating giant. He hung out with myself, friends, and brothers as he knew we weren’t afraid of him. For one my brother was a 6’3” athlete with a bad temper, they got along great! In addition, we weren’t involved in the selling of drugs or most of the things that would collide with M, those things were his lane or the path he chose at least. 

One day he got into a verbal altercation in our block liquor store with the shady individual I mentioned earlier. They were both intoxicated on a spring day. They would stand on our street in separate areas chugging 22 oz King Cobra malt liquor or the ever refreshing 22 oz Bud Ice. On that day, M walked out of the store and b-lines to the corner where the rest of us were and says outloud “ya boy ain’t safe no more!” And then puts his beer down and walks towards his car. At this point, the other guy we’ll call him “D” walks out of the liquor store arguing back at M saying “who ain’t safe no more? Fuck outta here N*****, you ain’t even from around here” looks at us and says “I don’t even know why ya letting him be out here and live like that wtf”. The man who had been trying to set us up for robbery, asked us for assurance that he’s ok, in our hood way. I yell out “Fuck that, bounce yo, just leave, bounce” with urgency in my tone. To which D responds, “ahh cmon son you on his side? Really yo?” I say “no just bounce”. We hear a loud clank as if something metal fell to the concrete sidewalk. We look toward M and D takes off running. M dropped the Desert Eagle massive handgun that only he could handle in our neighborhood on the floor in a drunken angry stupor while retrieving the gun from the driver side door of his car that was a half a block away. D suddenly got what I meant by “bounce!”.  That day we calmed M down after some time, weed and the reminder that he was just released from prison. He did not let the issue go. He promised not to shoot D, but he waited for about 4 months, every day with a 2×4 close by so that when he saw D he would run up and “splatterhouse” Him. He chased two other people around for other issues during that time with the 2×4. Very scary watching a 6’5″ man with an Afro chasing after people with a 2×4 with an insane look on his face.  I don’t know if M ever caught D. They are both no longer with us as their lifestyles caught up to them. 

Just another cliff note in the tales of a jersey rican!

Happy spring! 

Dark Mornings 

This tale today’s a little darker than the rest. It’s been a while now, but still I must refresh. My mind and memory as I acknowledge and reflect. On some people that I knew, that once lived and respect. I was about 15 when I crept on the scene. The scene was a bad street, with good folks in between. Some where hustlers and some were fiends. The abuse of a product was always the theme…………

Ding dong! My bell rang on Saturday, mornings and I was still tired from the latter day. Yawning, I poked my head out the window. Was always my friend Dev, looking up with his dimples, smiling, like what up, come out yo, look what I got bro. Always had some high grade with him,  like an ounce though. Or it seemed like that to me, but it was a big amount so. I would say mom I’m going to play ball. Then Dev and I would go and smoke it all. He was a few years younger than me, and had to be in the night before earlier, ya see. So he often started his day at 9, or earlier than that when the sun would shine. We would talk about life and ponder our time. He was known on the street for being bad, but our minds. Knew who we were, and why we were how we are. His mom used to be nice but put the needle in her arm. His step pops was a older white man, he was calm. Anything Dev asked for his father placed in his palm. Flash forward to the part that this story was written for. Dev became flashy but they lived above a liquor store. Moved in with his mother, father said he couldn’t get no more. Support cuz he grew into a man and had to clip the chord. The kid was now grown, stood tall about 6 foot 4, still had money left from all his fathers shit before. Moved to a new city and state had to split, of course. 

Same attitude, new place don’t end well, a year later I read his body’s found on a stair well. Read that he crawled to someone’s door for help, but the steps at their door was the last place that he fell. Apparently he was shot, robbery, they could tell. How? He was always flashy and didn’t even have his cell. I sit and reflect on my brother and his hell, some times when I light up and I smell, the burn of the weed I think of Dev, and exhale. 
Gone too soon. 

Out of place but in my place

Poem on making it out of bad surroundings.

A day that you made it home safe, was relief, You understood why they where that way, but a thief, still would sneak up on you, any day in the street, with no beef or issue that’s the way that it keeps, you on your toes see we made it through heat, a chance you might not get if you played with the creeps, with no real plate or a table or seat, you had to stake your claim or get rated as weak. Not a glorified tale or staged in retreat of my progress now that I made on my feet, wasn’t a smooth ride was a blaze of repeat, bull crap that I really just hated to see. 

Crazy Nice People 

I explained a bit about my family and barely  scratched the surface in my last post. Let’s talk about my father. He was loved by many because of his openness and sense of humor. It’s easy to be liked when you were always teetering from tipsy to drunk. I’ve tried it and I seem to be very complimentary and encouraging to those around me when I’m on that level. I’m not kidding my father was so likeable, we once were pulled over because he was swerving while driving. This was pre-seat belt laws and we basically flopped all over the back seat the entire ride until we got home. I would sometimes fall asleep sitting upright and wake up on the back seat floor as a sudden stop sent me flying nearly under the front seats like I was looking for some change.   So when we were pulled over. My father was clearly intoxicated. The highway officer said “Sir please step out of the vehicle, I need you to take a sobriety test.” To which my father replied, “I want to help you out with your test my friend but I am sick and I don’t have proper balance, I would fail.” The officer chuckled and said “please just give it a try?” My father steps out and walks to the front of the vehicle. My mother was in the front seat cursing my fathers name under her breath as she was nervous that he would be arrested and she would have to call someone to come drive because, yes you guessed it. She was scared to drive, my mother has had her license for over 50 years and I have never seen her drive. My brother and I watched as the highway officer asked my father to perform some tasks. The officer says “please recite the alphabet sir”. My father says, “A, B, C, D, E, F, G,.. un caballo atra de ti!” To the tune of the abc’s song. The last part meant “a horse is behind you” in Spanish. It was silly but my father and the officer both busted out laughing for some reason. All me and my brother heard was “Oh… my… god..” from my mom as she held her face in her palm while peaking through her fingers in the front seat visibly in shock. The officer said “I see you can’t keep balance sir. It’s ok, just give me the bottle in your pocket.” My father was the type to keep a flask or a disguised bottle of whiskey in his inner jacket pocket. He had a small glass Canada Dry ginger ale bottle in his pocket that day. He used bottle of liquids that were the same color of whiskey to hide it. He was also very sick at that time as he had a kidney removed and suffered from cirrhosis of the liver. He went for dialysis about three times a week for treatment. The officer I think felt pity for his situation and that he was at core a nice person. My father handed him the ginger ale bottle and the officer said, “what’s in this?” My father replies “My medicine.” With a serious face. The officer opens it and smells it and says “whooa.. strong medicine.” He then proceeded to pour the whiskey out on the side of the highway. My father yells “noooo my medicine! That costs moneyyyy”. The officer still laughing says “You’re a trip sir. Get right home and drive safely.” We weren’t too far from where we lived, I think it was the next exit. I understand that the danger of driving while intoxicated in any form is serious. No part of my story is meant glorify negligence. This is just something that happened in the mid 80s.  Needless to say my mother ripped my father a new one for a entire week after that day. Wasn’t the first and wasn’t the last time something like this would occur.