Blue by Shayla McClendon,
from Central VPA

On Death’s Door Hoping That Life Answers

A Poem By Jelani Penny-Johnson, From Metro

Red and blue lights flashed the dashboard 

He hit the gas, swore to God 

That if he made it through the odds 

He would quit the game 
Forget his name, obtain a new 
But inside, he knew that was a lie, he understood 

Born inside the cemetery called the hood 
He was a living coffin called a gangster 

There was no way to outlive his nature. 

Scraping the bottom of the gun’s barrel 

He was trying to find clips for his life 

But everything was static 
His body was a house of cards, 
Slowly but surely there was nothing but toys in the attic 

Doorbell dashed death’s door 
Now he’s forced to knock and hope that life answers 

The lights catch up and his shadow lengthens 
He feels the cars ram 

Death is feeling tempting 

The fuel is nearly empty 
He leaves the car and scrams 
Through the alleys where no wheels could reach 

His will was weak, but his body was autonomous 

He heard the feet follow, every step was thunder 

Every tear was rain, every beam was lightning 

He quickly glanced aback 
All he saw were chains. 

Everything was frightening 
He felt a bullet fly, he wished that he could fly away 

He gave so many highs, “I want to hide away, 
I want to see tomorrow. I’m sorry for the sorrow, 

Just let me live today.” A bullet came his way 

Penetrated his skull 

Generated the blood 
That would water the streets 

Make another thug bloom 

Make a motherless seed 

Make two brothers dehisce 

Plant the gardens with weed

Root the pavements with crack 

A perennial night 
Where the roses are black