Urban Voices

A place for emerging urban Christian poets to be heard
brought to you by Urban Verses

March 23, 2007

Crenshaw District

by Julian Michael

Young men see
With eyes, big
As basketball hoops

And dream
High definition dreams, big
As the cars found in rap music videos

And search
For a golden ticket
Away from this

                    Chocolate Guantanamo

                    Where they are held imprisoned
                    By what they can see
                    And dream
                    And never have.

They write
Street manifestos
With spray paint

                    Against walls
                    Meant for protection
                    Turned into brick canvases,
                    Backdrops for dice games

                    And also something to lean on
                    When legs grow weary
                    From running in circles.

They sign their names
(Not the ones they were given
The ones they had earned)
On their territory marked by chalk outlines,
Yellow tape

                    And also the invisible cloud
                    Of prayers prayed
                    By a fading generation
                    That this neighborhood
                    Might one day once again

                    be more than all of this.

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About this week's author:

Julian says: I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and consider the inner city to be a big part of my experience. I decided to try something entirely different and headed for Amherst College in Massachusetts for my undergrad work, completing a degree in Religion. In my current life, I work as a college counselor at a prep school outside of D.C. I remain very much connected to God, to the plight of those in the inner city, and to the various artistic forms that sprout up from those roots. Feel free to send me an email: I always enjoy the opportunity to share my personal story with other people and to learn from what others have to teach. God bless.

email Julian Michael

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Urban Voices Archive

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Urban Voices' purpose is to showcase the work of emerging poets who write about issues of urban life, racial identity, reconciliation and similar themes from a Christian perspective. If you have poetry you would like to submit for possible inclusion on this site, you may send it to info@urban-verses.com. Thanks for reading and writing!