It's waking up in the morning.
Having heat unexpectedly
on the coldest day in winter.
Washing in the sink
and not seeing roaches
falling from the ceiling
or from the walls.
Having more than just one bowl of cereal,
with fresh, unshared milk,
and then going to school
with a piece of new clothing
harvested just at the peak of Lay-A-Way season
and not belong to someone else.
It's to be able to know your father's name
or even a face,
To receive a government check
barely enough to cover the rent
in a multi-leveled
It's to live somewhat safe
with four or more locks on a door
made of metal and hollowed steel.
It's sharing a single bed
with only one cousin, one brother, and a sister,
and having drive by bullets miss you.
While you sleep.
It's being home alone,
unlike a movie,
when your mother works the triple shift
at the factory, and the bar, and the hospital
cleaning toilets and bed pans.
Scrubbing like her mother, and her mother before her.
It's having the telephone work
just enough to pretend no one is home.
Or it's to eat all of your meals in the kitchen
which is the living room
and the guest room,
and the bed room,
and the recreation center
for everyone's child that stops by
for a piece of family.
It's having Christmas
where Santa is charity
and birthday gifts, sacrifices.
Road trips to the corner store
for penny candy and frozen koolaide
while watching live entertainment
where bad guys are Black
and the good guys are in uniform
-- according to TV.
It's strolling with strollers
and hearing a choir of crying babies
sucking on bottles of Simulac
and wearing half taped Pampers
sagging from neglect.
Being able to say No
when rocks are thrown your way
or being able to walk away from a fight
and not lose your breath
and your heart.
It's rapping your way to popularity
snappin' your friends' mothers
and being good
started all because
It's helping an old lady up from her knees,
for her purse,
with nothing in it.
The same old lady who knows and loves us all
because that is all she now has.
Only the love.
It's watching suited men
bald and loud
singing praises to Allah
or selling newspapers of unity speaks,
bean pies and carrot cake, and bow ties
preparing me for the war.
Those same corners where the night time car riders go.
It's having a friend stop by
Staying all because no one is at his home
and he has no other place to go,
It's having a mother come home
too tired to ask
"how you survived?"
It's the cashing in the day's worth,
the both of you,
and having enough spare change for
It's the love that is the worth.
A wealth that comes from
Black Wealth by Shazza Nakim
Copyright © by Peace of Mind Publishings and with permission by Shazza Nakim