11PM

SO many miles between here and there. Hella vibes from a Spotify playlist that was gliding in melody with my wipers and steady rain. A perfect rain really, one where you can cruise with the window slightly cracked and not get a drop on you. I could hear the sound of tires cutting through the fresh, untouched raindrops on both sides of the street. Then the traffic lights started flashing.

Must be 11:00PM. As I turned right at the light, my eyes passed over the empty passenger seat. I passed a few gas stations, it must have been their glistening lights calling because for some reason I stopped at the next one. I pulled up at pump 4 and saw my cousin on pump 7. Cuz stays in the streets, so figured I may as well get some GAS with my gas. The situation was so random, I had to put it on my Snapchat with the local Geotag like “Yo! Look who I ran into.”

We chopped it up a bit, he always has the craziest stories about his night before, when I noticed people replying to my Snap video. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school, so our circles interlock at some points. At least three mutual homies were telling me to tell him to answer their texts. I guess they weren’t so fortune to catch him at the Shell station and were still waiting on their gas bags. I thought I got them all but underneath, the first message after I posted my cousin, was a message from someone I knew he didn’t know. “You headed home or still out tonight?”

I put what my cousin gave me in my arm rest and went into the store for some Swishers. The Arab dudes that run the store are hella cool but they play too much sometimes. There’s always some old-head trying to bear hug as many Miller Lights as possible and run to the counter to check out before you, only to be paying in quarters. Bitch. The cashier picked tonight to give him shit about it of course, so this only furthers the time it takes for me to get out of the store. There’s this other dude that hangs far enough off the property to not be soliciting but close enough to yell “Aye nephew, you got a quarter?”

Truth be told, I don’t even like being out and about after 10:59 anymore. I’d prefer to be off the streets by then. But when you’ve nowhere to go, a house that’s not really a home, you roam.

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4 Your Eyez Only

Nobody died around me lately. The city’s been heating up but my circle stays cool, mostly. It’s hard though, trying to do the right thing and stay out-of-the-way. I logged onto Facebook the other day, I know somebody who knew somebody that was killed. And another somebody who knew somebody did it. Both sides of the story, right in front of my eyez. One real nigga and one bitch nigga, depending on who you ask… the roles reverse. Both families, attempting to preserve their loved one’s legacy in the court of public opinion. In all actuality, the only thing that occurred was each post serving as an accelerant to the opposing side.

Mediators posting subliminal statuses about what may or may not have occurred. Speculation turned into acceptance and acceptance into anger/hatred. And I just watched. And would do the same again, if I had a 2nd chance. Why? Because I scrolled through the feed of the victim and the accused…

That confirmed the shit I learned in the streets was true
That real niggas don’t speak when they beef with you
They just pull up on your street, let the heat achoo
And if a real nigga hungry he gon’ eat your food

J Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only

One page, for months leading up to the events… full of fight reposts and “real nigga” status updates about “fucking other niggas bitches” amongst other things. The overwhelming insolence was but the buds of a more deeply rooted problem. Maybe he was a product of his environment or more likely, a victim of the circumstances within that environment.

The other page, as silent after the murder as before. Nothing but spam posts, for years leading up to what occurred. The dude definitely had the means to be more active on Facebook, yet he chose to separate. Right, wrong or indifferent he completely immersed himself and remained committed to the streets in every aspect. He was dedicated to the omerta lifestyle.

From what I’ve seen afterwards, I don’t see an end or resolution in sight. The people who’ve chosen certain paths, will lead to similar, unavoidable destinations. Their family members will speak of how great they were. The truth hidden amongst an intertwined web of grayish, mixed, black and white reality.  The cycle will continue to repeat itself. My only hope is, for our childrens’ sakes, myself & my homies can avoid being on either side.

See world, you’re no good.