they never knew me.

so many people made me feel like I left certain things behind,

like my home or my friends.

they would say I changed, or conformed.

but look at where I still call home.

the same place that I called home when I came into this world.

and some of those same people don’t want to claim home anymore.

what changed?


it’s clear to see.


they say I changed.

I used to feel bad or ashamed, as if they didn’t think I was different in the first place.

even to those I may have seen in the neighborhood on multiple occasions wonder

how I could be from such a place,

as if beauty doesn’t lie in the hood,

even in those that the world

doesn’t want to call beautiful.

the invisible.

the unloved.


i’ve always felt that i’ve been caught up in a blend of worlds.

i’ve always felt out of place when i’ve been at home

unless I was at grandma’s house on Jett Street.

since granddaddy died,

I realized that home could

never be that way again.

crack & sickness.

hospital visits.





I always felt like I was inauthentic to so many

but so real to myself.

then I realized that I had become

a scapegoat for others’ pain.

I began to wonder,

how could I have left home

or how could I be less Black

if I come from the same place that

you come from.

I was placed in a broken


with the perfect kind of love

the perfect kind of sacrifice.


villages raised me.


I was kept from some

of the horrors,

and I did not tell of

some of the horrors

that I had been through.


my story had been unauthenticated,

and once again I had to try to find which

shelf I fit on,

in between what books.


then I realized that I don’t

have to force myself to

place a label on

my freedom.






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