a May day | poem

poetry | collection

* This poem was written in Berlin, Kreuzberg, Görlitzer Park, 10997

a May day

her grandmother has dreadlocks; she grew tired of doing her hair

after all those years of brush and straighten—

twist and curl.

a granny to two

on the father’s side of a cross-culture

bi-lingual family.

I met her once, in a dream I can’t fully remember

by a border crossing with no fence.

she looked at me, with rheumy eyes

and said, and spoke

without a hint of hesitation:

there isn’t any water here; I think you stole my dream.


was it the smoothness of her caramel skin that made

ivory teeth appear like submarines

through the dirt road tracks that spread across the border?

what I felt in her

were many things, I did not feel in myself.

we shared little more in common

than what life had already shown us.


the next day, I met with her granddaughter—

on a row of church steps where the sun hung

over crumbling brick

and split the flesh of ink-stained Berliners.

tracks of the S-Bahn

spiralled in and out of view,

a bellied train driver drove with his door wide open

to catch a breeze, for him

to catch a glimpse, of you.


streets full of the lost individualism’s

of time for nothing heroes and techno beats.

open-minded tendencies of parents

with children who possess

tiny feet,

moved toward immigrant hustle.

sat on church steps granddaughter took a funny turn

to whisper to an ear—

there isn’t any water here; I think you stole my dream.


bottle tops and baggies

spread across the concrete as though, confetti

at the feet of white boys from out of town, locations

as they bought the shit smoke at less honest prices

than they’ll ever need to realize

from dread-locked pushers with no time

for the fake design of street talkers

with skin the colour of ice cream.

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