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Pearl

Mom, it’s been five years since I saw you last.
Twelve since we ran from that hell-hole called Boston and twenty long years form that day at the prison door with that A on your chest,
burning with equal parts shame and grief and hidden pride –

Two A’s if you count me.

But it’s been so much longer,
It’s New York and 2012 and it’s raining, Mom,
and I miss you.

‘Cause I’ve been pierced and prodded and covered with filth
from street rats and pigeons and big corporations
and bad tattoo artists with long dirty needles.
I’ve had too many drinks and not enough jobs;
I’ve been living on equal parts cheap liquor and guilt
for not doing you proud and I’m sorry; my God
Is not my heavenly father.
I was born of your blood, sweat, and tears
and the s*** of society. You brushed off their piety
and loved me a held me and dreamed me up better than I could ever be.
You tried.
You took what they called “Lust” and shined it to luster
a brave, shining future, the best we could muster.
You tried.

But there’s poise in this poison; the noise of this city’s enchanting
and the light that is slanting through the dust and confusion
reminds me of a different time.
I find myself dreaming of red thread
and seeming like I might be different.
I think we called it “hope.”

So I’m smashing my glass and I’ll bury the shards
and I’ll stitch up some armor to cover my heart
and I’ll scrub free the stench and the grime of this sin
and I’ll pack up my things and I’ll start fresh again.
And God knows I’d take you I’d take you along
But time passes quickly I waited too long
so God damn this gravestone I’m only now reading
and God damn the God that kept me from seeing you
one last time.



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