Abdul Ali



there were homes
hidden on every
block: at least
one I knew of

storied behind
fire hydrants that bled
mellifluous tap water
our colored thirst
on brick red hot
august sundays
or cherry blossom
induced naps
under plum colored heavens

the stairs with her
chipped teeth
always welcoming
our southern footprints

the wet washington air
pregnant with
Negro uplift sentiments

inside one such home
where the brick walls
matched worry lines
on Papa’s forehead
when he’d riff on the
stairs blowing donut holes
with his cuban cigar

or Granddaddy Cornelius
who’d hum Precious Lawd
as he waited for the milkman

or Great Granddaddy Ernest
who’d leave notes written on
easter sunday handkerchiefs

I am not a boy
I am not a boy

before going to work
at union station

how the Men
in my family found home
in the constellated stars that
pointed north

before greyhound
before amtrak and
before urban renewal

there were Homes



Abdul Ali is a native of New York City studying English and Playwriting at Howard University. He is the current Managing Editor of The Amistad: Howard University’s Online Literary Journal, the 2007 winner of the Margaret Walker Creative Writing Contest in poetry sponsored by the College Language Association, a Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Writer's Week alumnus, and a 2006 Ronald E. McNair Scholar. He recently read some of his poems at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in an event sponsored by the French Embassy commemorating the centennial of the birth of Josephine Baker. His work has been published in All That I Am: Black Writers on Finding, Keeping, and Creating Love In Their Lives, edited by Marita Golden; Black Issues Book Review; and he is the author of the column "Pause and Affect" for the online magazine, Scheme.


Published in Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 2007.


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