Love, Steven

Art, Poetry

The feeling of being hurt by the first person you allowed to love you, and refusing to allow yourself to be loved ever again after.

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Resent

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

Numb like the first time I said I hate you,

That’s what I am,

I worshipped the wrong words we shared;

I bent the knee on brown rice and glass

And acknowledged the kinship like

The pupper lapping sweetened water from a bowl.

Neglect my sorrows once, and I will come

Neglect my tears twice, and I follow

Neglect my heart thrice, cross it, and I will die

I hope those days are over

I pray that solace into my open palms

My bare lap

And my solemn dreams.

Then maybe I can finally feel

A Wall

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

You walk into a black wall and barely recognize that it’s built of brown bodies

And ask if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

There are arms mangled into the body, jabbing into broken ribs and closed mouths and shuttered eyes and pork-rolled tongues.

There is sweat dripping down their body in crimson, mingling with blood in a marriage of decay and debauchery and self-loathing.

You still wonder if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

You turn to the Asian pharmacist around the corner and ask him, and he has no answers and so you ask the Jewish librarian, and he ignores you outright. You ask the Hispanic barber and he does not want to speak your blistering white language on his pink tongue and you ask the Arabic teacher and he is afraid to answer because you wear a red hat. You ask every spectrum and color of the rainbow until the world is a searing maelstrom of every color and every pink, gooey tongue and every shade but black, until you return to the wall and patiently stare.

Then, you ask the wall. You open your mouth and speak.

“Why wall,” You say in a frantic manner. “Why are you joints connected and your foots in mouthes and your heels pressed to throat with the aggression of a boot, or a hammer or a world-smashing, all-ending fist of iron?”

The wall speaks in a powerful manner, in a warm tone that sounds like your father who abandoned, and the mother who sacrificed and the sister went ignored and the brother who protested nothing. “It is because, we cannot untangle from ourselves.”

Love with Hip-Hop

Art, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Hip-hop has the humanizing effect: it exists without gender, a body but is very definite and powerful human force. This is a poem regarding how I fell in love with hip-hop and all of its facets.

By Steven Underwood

The concrete jungle gave birth to the love of my life;

We met in my mama’s womb, I loved her on Monday mornings over the radio to the smell of fried potatoes and grits.

She be fickle, like the ether pounding her stereo speakers;

A chaotic rhythm: a smooth beat; the Deejay and the word-smith in her soul;

They explode together: unhinged.

She be quick-witted, the soles of her reeboks and Adidas changing course

And destination faster than anticipated.

I call her Hip, and she is the rhythm of the streets.

I kiss her, and she tastes like mid, tear drops, welfare cheese and too many broken promises.

Her voice sounds like the first crescendo of a Saturday night, like the last chime on a Sunday morning.

The concrete jungle gave birth to the love of my life;

We met on long car rides on a Philly Friday night, I loved him in prepubescent rages when rebellion filled my blood and constitution strengthened mine tongue.

He be beautifully savage, so mean when he just needs to be honest;

Sometimes I look him in the eye, and hear the legacy of a people burdened,

perturbed, bountied, bloodied and beaten.

He is my savage dissonance on a silent hill that bare witness to a macabre scenery;

I named him Hop, and he is the cold honesty, my thrilling passion.

He lashes with his tongue.

I kiss him, and he tastes like Hennessey, black-and-milds and too many repressions.

His voice is rough like a broken knuckle on a balled fist, like skin smacking the park mulch.

The concrete jungle gave birth to my best relationship;

We came together at the same time, but love each other different.

With him, I’m gentle, I hold him to my heart in a dark room where our anger can’t escape

Her, I’m rough, our electricity bounces off each block, like the lamp lights which guide us home.

Together, I’s become We’s,

You becomes a crew.

We hunt, love and kiss on the light of midnight;

We talk about what is new in the world,

We cry — we anguish over what is old.

We do our little dance to drums.

We mix these rhythms with something old too, something ancestral.

We like to make music to the conditions that built up our huts in this concrete jungle.

People are jealous of the sounds we make when we love together,

The wet, savage patter of our celebration.

They call us rap, and they are afraid of the primality of our songs.

We kiss, and it smell like how freedom feel; like the heartbreak of being just a friend;

She feel like the hot shower of a Candy Rain; She touches me in shapes of tic-tac-toe: all hugs and kisses. He feels the first steps of liberation; Our hearts collide; Our minds move into one synchronized beat; I twerk, she dabs; we become us — become a family, becoming individuals.

The concrete jungle gave me love.