Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poem: We Grew Up in Coffee Shops

I've been reflecting on my youth and my hometown.  I am actually thinking of writing a book on my community.  This book would be put together with a few other friends who also grew up in my neighborhood.  Back in the day we sat on each others front steps, had block parties and watched out for each other.  At age 12 I was attending city commission meetings to voice my opinion against the economic gentrification and yuppification that was happening in our town.  I was already an activist at such a young age.  You might know what town I am talking about if you live in Michigan because I mention a store in this poem that is in my hometown.


We Grew Up in Coffee Shops


We grew up in coffee shops,
Cigarettes,
Cheap coffee,
Refills,

Breathing smoky air,
Grunge era,
The broken tile on the floor,
Follow it,
Trace it,
Leather jacket,
Pain,

We can trace the coffee cup with our fingers,
Teenagers,
Rebellious,

Noir Leather,
Sure we went in the store,
At age 12,
The leather was cool,
So were the whips,
Chains,
Masks,
The workers at the store,
Laughed at us youth,
Rebellious in our jean jackets,
Pennies in the pockets,

Wanted to paint our nails a sparkly pink,
Red,
Blue,
Dye our hair purple,
Green,
Rebellious youth!

Running,
From our homes,
Painter,
Worker,
Phone,
Telephone,
Rotary phone,
Workers,
Tired workers,
Crack open that 40,
Toss the cap in the trash,

Rebellious youth,
Maybe our feet can hit the bricks,
Downtown,
Uneven bricks,
Meet and congeal with,
And coalesce with,
Railroad tracks,
Onward,
Fast,
One direction,
Rails,
Wheels turning,
Furious motion,
We put down pennies,
Fast,
Race to catch the trains,
Our hands grip the fence,
To watch the train,
Train engineers,
Waving,

And we start walking back,
To get a cuppa,
Sugar,
Stirrer,
Warm our hands,

We grew up in coffee shops,
Drag queens,
Pride flags,
Smoky air,
We loved Divine,
And cross dressing,

There was a great love,
In growing up in coffee shops.

4 comments:

Ankhesen Mié said...

OMG - I really can hear your voice now when I read your work.

This was really good work, by the way. Beautiful.

Anishinaabekwe said...

Glad you like it!

P. J. Grath said...

Evocative of youth from an earlier era, too. Brings back those days. Thank you! I especially like the reference to pennies in the pocket (no money to buy the clothes in the stores) and then the way you bring the pennies back in later in the poem.

Anishinaabekwe said...

P.J. - Miigwech, glad you like it! :)