People I Know

The people I know
move and drift like smoke.
Who speak to the storms in their lives
and live in tornadoes
that come through, recklessly taking
           and rearranging things
                with all the indiscriminate power
                    of God’s hands on the lives
                           of his worshippers.

The people I know
     raise babies that aren’t theirs,
     pulled from the rubble
                     too scared to cry. 

The people I know
run their index fingers
along scars from puncture wounds
                in the 8th grade.
they ride around with their fingers
on a trigger—
shoot at people
               Might run,
                   Might not.

They wear cell-bar jackets
       and sit in cells on the hottest day of the year
sweating tears into a pillow. 
Whose grandmas sit in a window
                waiting for it to rain,
                             will it come?
They hold grips on invisible bars
set in place as stripes
coursing through
their hopes and dreams.
Were dreamers,
    that became dreamless
           so that somebody new
           could have them too. 

They are girls in buffalo stances,
      that dance for men they hate,
          who even sometimes hate themselves,
               but still paint the pain on in the morning 

The people I know
          were young once—
still sag their pants
        and might still hit somebody up,
or shake up with a shorty
outside of a corner store on Chicago.
They’re people
who let their childhoods blur
into middle-age, used to wait
outside of random apt. buildings
for someone to leave-so they 
could rush in eight deep
and smoke blunts in the boiler room. 

The people I know
have flaws, smoke squares,
want to quit, but they haven’t
                           might not ever.
They bite their fingernails
when they get nervous, 
sometimes raw, until it hurts
to hold things
     or press buttons on a phone.

They live in moods,
          illiterate blends of feeling
                    emotion empty
                                 and wet. 
Love a certain woman but
whose real girlfriend is sorrow
           and they’re getting married in the fall.

They eat propaganda
and throw up lies,
    got holes in their bodies,
                 holes in their ideologies.
Join movements—to meet girls
then leave to become Jesus
                  in another.
Once invested their futures
    in a little white girl, 
          or the Big Bad Boy—
You know what that is—
Bobby? Bobby?

They are dying constellations
           whose genius staggers,
and make decisions
in lines drawn from tumult.
The perpetuity
of an ever-bending arc
throughout the history
          Of our universe. 

That find and forget God everyday.
They will live in the jungle,
       and burn down the zoo.
The God and morality inside of them
overpowered by the gorilla. 
They can’t see far
but can taste a whole universe,
     and can smell the money on you.

Who hurt thinking about
What will make them ache
when they get older.
They never thought
     they’d live past thirty,
        now they are scared to die,
            and want to live forever.

The people I know
go to bed in a cell
but live in whole scenarios
          in lives all around the world
Generations of crooks
    whose DNA are the only fragments
    of matter that matter
    in the bricks of these walls. 

Stopped expecting friends
to be there when they got out.
Stopped using the phone
because no one would answer it anyways. 
because they remind them 
of a time when 
they weren’t so important—so together.

People I know
wreck their bodies
for prison basketball championships
and smuggle ingredients
through metal detectors
just to eat 
     Like human beings.

They are the children
of Armageddon
with teal striated
         in the texture
                 of their skin,
and are ready for rapture
who have died
and come back to life
         to move and drift
                    like smoke