Global City Press

Welcome to the literary metropolis.

we were mostly good girls
held court in gym bleachers
brushed and braided our hair
fussed and giggled about cute boys
with big afros, sharkskin slacks
black or brown suede playboys

like to play a little hooky some days
hung out in rochdale apts; ate pizza
sour pickles, sugar cane, and cherrylemon ices
puffed menthol cigarettes and cheeba
sipped malt duck on school bus trips
went home to cook and clean before 6pm

7th grade, cute boys, and adult chores

we liked those special boys too
they were taller than us, cool in
a fly guy kind of way; in high school
we hitched-hiked to dollar parties
at st. gertrude’s in far rock before  
def beats remixes & golden era hip-hop
this beat is mine
this beat is mine

manboys too old for 8th grade
not ready for high school—ready for work
denim-bell-bottoms, red applejacks & leather jackets
I left some of them in middle–school & factories
teenage pregnancy & crack-cocaine
kinship foster care & welfare hotels
lost brownstones & rehab

11th grade babies and college apps

her water broke fast
all over the green-linoleum floor
blood, babies & glass bottles
pampers, blankets & bobos
yellow baby girl & in-laws
potty-chairs and baby girl #2
brooklyn ghetto flats, rocks, & pipes
beech nut, forty ounces & cheese doodles

mommy called 911 & looked for college notices
in the mailbox & went to the hospital
you know better than her, don’t try me!
don’t leave to come back!
annandale-on-hudson college parties & smart boys
paris, clubs, & pizza sur les champs élysées
graduation, brinks, and 500 dekalb
xmas parties & face-to-face-recertifications

welfare hotels & shelter checks

C.R had her rent receipts
bi-weekly emergency checks
extra food stamps and sheet money
asthma pumps and vicks vapor rub
medicaid, carfare, and lunch
$ $ bills yall

four kids and booze on her breath
can’t find a place for me and my kids
cigarettes and cheeba in the halls
absent mommas and daddies
emergency rooms and school letters

Allia Abdullah-Matta is a poet and teacher-scholar who uses creativity and artistic expression as instruments of social justice activism and transformation.  She is an Associate Professor at CUNY LaGuardia, holds a doctorate degree in Afro-American Studies from UMass Amherst, and expects to complete an MFA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York in 2019.   She was the co-recipient of the The Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Poetry (2018). Her poetry has been published in Newtown Literary, Promethean, Marsh Hawk Review, and Mom Egg Review Vox.