When I first started using the forums I'd been on another site and someone used a term that's in this piece. When I first wrote it, I did it in Hallmarked poetry. But the words came thick and fast and soon I had too much. So I made it bigger. And bigger. Till eventually you have the story you see here. I've based it on a reporter telling the newbies what it was like "In de old days." It uses the vernacular of every black n white movie from America I've ever seen. I liked it and hope you do too. There's a kicker at the end, that I hope you get, some of you will and some of you won't. Hopefully you'll be engaged enough to ask. Resp, Bri.
Doing a Few Lines
So there we wuz, just me and a couple of the guys,
standing on the corner, yakkin, you know how t'is?
Talkin bout maybe goin somewhere and doin a few
I didn't wanna, cos I'd ran outta papers, and none of the
guys would give me any, so I had to wait till my nex
paycheck see? But hey, its what we did back in dose
days and troot be told, it got me ready for workin at the
Globe, so I ain't complainin to yuh.
Lemme see? It was a . . .
Nice clear day - late in the early afternoon - golden
amber light's streamin tween the blocks - the bit
between the morning events, and the night time
We're all laughin at someones new joke, we're
smirking as we share one anothers thoughts, trying to
remember them so we could mebbee use them later on.
I remember dose guys the most, cos we were kinda
brothers, know what I mean? We wuz tight .
So anyway . . .
It happens. Right outta the blue. The day suddenly
stops . . . and goes all quiet.
What gives? What is it? Whats happenin?
I'm kinda scaird, cos I wuz real young then and I hadn't
ever seen that sorta thing before. The air was standing so still . . . and quiet. If someone had a pin and was careless enough to drop it, we'd all hear it . . . easy, know whut I mean? All this in the space of like . . . a minute. Hard to believe ain't it?
Yuh see . . . A car had stopped just by us, and two
hoods got out. Someone shouted, "geddown!"
We all dropped, covering our heads.
We're all caught. We knew it. We had to ride it out.
There's no other way, it's was just another day where
Ever'thins still quiet. I can hear the other guys breathin
hard . . . like fish outta water, almost gaspin, as if there
aint enough air. They're all just as nervous as me.
It doesn't help, but it's a relief to know I'm not the only
Footsteps slow . . . Deliberate . . .
foot . . . up . . . an eternity,
foot . . . down . . .
Real slow. Like they wuz followin some floor-plan,
like you used to send away for, to learn how tuh dance,
yuh probly too young to remember dose.
Like I said, there's two of em. But one stays by the car,
not sayin anything, jus lookin, kinda keepin watch.
The other's movin like a snake towards us, sinewy, and
slippin, bein real careful, glancing left and right,
checkin the coast's clear kinda thing?
I can hear their Breathin now, calm . . . easy . . . not a
care in the world. Cold, metodical.
Who are dese Guys? I remember thinking.
Maybe it's because I'm dumb, or quite new to the gang,
or jus plain ole stoopid? But I had to see, just a quick
peep. Who'd know? I lifted my head up . . . and looked
straight into the bluest, most piercing eyes I'd ever seen
in my life. I mean those eyes were bluer than the
Pacific. They were that blue. Yuh's get the picture?
So I'm still on my gut, but my heads up, lookin at this
guys eyes. Of course He's lookin at me now. Straight
into my soul, like he was readin something in there?
Something about me, that I didn't know myself?
I gotta tell yuse, I felt kinda lost. My confidence wuz
leakin outta me, like a leaky-faucet drippin in the
kitchen sink. Drip . . . drip . . . drip.
Cold sweat's soaking my shirt. He bends down closer
to me and ses, in a quiet . . . direct . . . kinda voice.
"I wandered lonely as a cloud."
I couldn't believe what I was hearin? The noive of this
Guy! Who did he think he was? On my street? On my
block. In my Neighbourhood? The sheer-goddamned-
Noive! So I think,
ok dude, bring it on. Lets see whatcha got?
I slowly get up, but sit on my heels, takin things . . .
real easy . . . and I'm even more scaird now cos I didn't
know if dese guys had shooters or not? The other guys
on the floor start to get up as well, I think they're
lookin for like, an in, ya dig? Am lookin at this guy.
He's lookin at me, kinda waitin for something?
What gives? I thought.
That's when the hood stands back up, almost with a
disappointed look on his face, which, I gotta tell ya,
made me feel a bit strange,
The hood's not gettin away with this , I thought,
no by God!
I took a deep breath . . . thought of what I was gonna
say, kinda hit him right where it hurts! But he got the
drop on me, and got in there first. The sunuvabitch,
because as he was gettin back in the car with
his buddy, quick-as-a-dart-and over his shoulder,
almost as if I wuz nuthin, he ses.
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."
Well guys, I gotta confess. This floored me. I didn't
know where to look after that. He'd hit me, right where
it hurts. I never stood a goddamned-chance.
The car wuz off, tearin up the road, with a screech of
tyres. We could see the black marks on the road for
ages after that, yuh know, off've the treads.We
gathered round and started talkin all at once.
In fact, we've been talkin bout it ever since, me n duh
guys what wuz there.
Dose udder Guys never came back, no-one knew who
they wuz, or even where dey came from?
But the words they said are still passed around today.
We still talks bout it, and I suppose over the years, duh
story got bigger, and the hoods got larger, and they said
a lot more than they actually did, yuse know how it is,
yeah? Almost like a legend, or one of dose myths. You
But I wuz there, I seen it all. Exactly like I'm tellin
And . . .
In a way I suppose I was lucky and didn't even know
I'd just managed to survive, my first “Drive-by-Poet.”