The hood was life. We ate it, slept it, sucked it in like air, but that ain’t leave too much time for nuthin’ else. Hell, me and Ricardo ain’t even know there was no big world out there til we was twelve, and then what good it do us? Ricardo always talkin’ ‘bout movin’ on up, but we ain’t got no ladder, no stairs, not even no step stool cuz Bubba Jones took it last Tuesday and momma said we ain’t gettin’ it back.
“Y’all don’t got no prospect, ‘cept what the hood give y’all,” Seph Mason told me and Ricardo that summer we both grew in our wisdom teeth.
“Momma say sky’s the limit,” Ricardo told Seph. Seph backhanded him upside the head. Ricardo’s ratty Phillies cap flew off.
“Yo momma don’t know no better,” Seph said. “She always smokin’ that crack, make you have them delusions and shit. She wudn’t ever no good.”
Which is what everybody say about Ricardo’s momma, but I stay out of it. ‘Sides, we was gonna get a taste of that Jefferson movement ‘cuz our school got a field trip downtown next week.
“How you think they build them big buildings and stuff?” I asked Seph. He got out his crack pipe and lit up before he got to respondin’.
“They use slave labor, same as always,” Seph said, looking me and Ricardo in the eyes. His was bloodshot. Continue reading “Pipe Dreams”
“Our love is like water, pinned down and abused for being strange.” ~Live
It was the summer of ’95 all over again, when Live was on everyone’s lips, when they sold out amphitheaters and arenas seconds from the tickets being available, when they had the rock world by the throat and weren’t easing off. It was taking the ferry across the river knowing that on the other side would be anthems you could sing in your sleep, and a band that truly connected with its fans in a way I hadn’t seen from many bands in live forums before.
But that was 23 years ago, the summer of ’95. That was a simpler time, before digital took over, before CDs went the way of Betamax, before concerts became passe, before rock bands took a back seat to what passes for hip-hop and rap anymore. Yet, for one night, it was easy to believe we were back there because, for one night, it was Live again, doing what they’ve always done better than most — rocking a live show. I guess they were aptly named.
Of course, during the summer of ’95 I hardly ever had good seats to shows. I saw Live about 20 times that summer, and the closest I got was section H in the Spectrum (think nosebleeds — Michael Jordan looked small from that spot). In amphitheaters like the Mann Music Center and the Camden Center for the Performing Arts I was always on the lawn, fighting my way through the crowds to the barrier that separated us from the roofed in portion of the venue. I screamed my lungs out, but we were too far away, even though we were in the same place, at the same time. Continue reading “Not ’95 Anymore”
“I’m representing for them gangstas all across the world. Hitting them corners on the low-lows, girl. Still taking my time to perfect the beat, and I still got love for the streets.” ~Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E. We all come from somewhere. I have a saying I learned a long time ago. You either love … Continue reading Still Got Love
This city has always held a fascination for me, a kind of pull that comes from being the place of my birth.
Indeed, I recall the day of my nephew’s introduction to this world in vivid detail. It was raining, and I was surprised my sister let me into the room. And I remember my graduation day like it was yesterday, when I was almost late because I had to take the bus in my graduation gown.
And I think back on Friday nights hanging out on South Street with Anthony and Ken, two other inquisitive souls who will always share with me those nights spent wandering. It is all still so clear to me, although it has been fifteen years since I’ve lived here. Continue reading “Memories From Home”
It was 10 o’clock of a Thursday night in the city of brotherly love, the witching hour in some circles, when only the crazies and pseudo-crazies were out and about on South Street, so you know I was there. The year was 1995, but it could have been 1996 or 1997 as well, because it … Continue reading Ode to Siren’s Silence
I was driving into Philadelphia on I-95, Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” playing on my car stereo, and I looked out my window to see the sports complex. Towering over everything was Lincoln Financial Field. Not far off was the Wachovia Center. Near it all was Citizens Bank Park. Three amazingly modern behemoths to house the … Continue reading Broad and Oregon