after danez smith & e-40

& on his day off, god said, shake dem dreads! bolts rain from braided crowns, & this the first time i hear thunder, count the mississippis like pbs said, these fresh to death disciples who flicker the blacktop with dabs, lightning hands that’d make ali blush, & after using up all his sick days, the lord chants, go stupid! miguel hands me a four loko. i sniff the cholo chalice but homeboy yells, ándale bruh! pulque drips from my lips, & under this freeway bridge, i vision when he first swap-met his feather headdress for a raiders cap, & after not even showin up to work, the most high blasts, now watch em swang! apostles snatch my hairless arms, summon me to two-step atop a toyota, ribs beat with roof, car & kid two metal cages who bet whose hood will first dent from the stomps of tims & duty boots, & after puttin up his 2 weeks, god throws that slap back, ghost-ride the whip!, my heart thumps with that good shit, confess to an og, im trippin rogue, it’s father darius from mt. olive, he quotes a verse from the book of friday, aw man that’s jus the chronic, fine honeys latch onto butterfly doors, the chevy swerves, tires & 3 inch pumps, the smell of tarred black feet, & on his last day, god emcees the whole dam thing, now gas break dip dip! little mans slide thru, ride on dey scraper bikes cuz the sky was taken, & after that, god dont member shit but deandre recorded the rest, suposably jesús grabbed a fifth & climbed an ac transit, the hood’s tallest sinai, & straight dissed his old man, tell me when to go!

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Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Antonio López received a double B.A. in Global Cultural Studies (Literature) and African-American studies from Duke University. He's an inaugural John Lewis Fellow,...