photo: James Rattigan

This otis was made using the seed words given in issue #14:

singular, dreamed, presence, or, interlude, mind, previous, perhaps, chance, beyond, wisdom, continue


(an otis)

For a singular Black life in the 'hood,

Life expectancy is low, but I never dreamed

I would live long enough to be in the presence

Of two centuries. To run with gangs or be

Shot by gangs. Excuse me while I take a long interlude

From that urban absence of mind, dog eat dog

Exhibition even previous generations of

Roughnecks played. Perhaps this violent

Tide, this body count will have a chance to

Finally stop. There's a vast world beyond beef,

Bullets & pistol smoke. Thankfully, I have wisdom 

To continue navigating it with artful words. It's been 51 years.

Dee Allen, an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on the creative writing & Spoken Word tips since the early 1990s. Author of 5 books (Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, and Skeletal Black, all for POOR Press, and his newest from Conviction 2 Change Publishing, Elohi Unitisi) and 26 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.