a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
New Haven is my home. Born in Elm Haven,
the Projects, yeah, I’m a bricksbaby, Dixwell,
raised well, grazed on the grass between the bricks,
played football on broken glass,
shit, yeah, tackle. We ain’t no pussies.
And hoops, who give a damn if they ain’t got nets?
All we needed was the hole,
and each other,
naw, that weren’t always true.
Sometimes all I needed was me
and a ball, any ball, air ball the best
‘cause you can dream it up the better…
Sure did a lot of dreamin’… Life goes by,
‘tween paintin’ job and paintin’ job, sleepin’
on my bench at the peaceful end
of the Green, seein’ them textin’ Yalies
crisscrossin’. They be seein’ the likes of me like
Anyway, New Haven gotta claim me.
My legs found near State Street Station,
my arms found under Chapel Street Bridge,
my heart and guts right next to
the abandoned Salvation Army squat
where my last dreams still be chasin’
the rats off my buddies… Though.
Found out the hard way
one buddy was a rat. He think he so smart
to throw my hands and head in the harbor
so nobody know me—he think he so bad—
no fingerprints, no dental records, none
of my dreads identifyin’ me. He got away
with murder is what he think.
Well, listen good!
My voice still speakin’—I don’t need
no head to do my testifyin’, shit,
don’t even need my hands. My voice
tellin’ all New Haven—all Connecticut—
all the U. S. of A.: I am Ray Roberson.
My friends call me Bobo,
and I’m tellin’ you I ain’t homeless, I am
Pegi Deitz Shea, two-time winner of the Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Literature, is also the author of more than 450 published articles, essays, and poems for adult readers. Her works frequently focus on human rights issues. Her poetry for adults has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine, Connecticut River Review, Earth’s Daughters, bottle rockets, under the basho, Here, Snapdragon and other journals and anthologies. Also a photographer, she has had solo exhibits combining her poems and pictures. She is the founder and director of “Poetry Rocks!” a quarterly poetry series at Arts Center East in Vernon, CT. Its goal is to grow poetry in Northeast Connecticut, to celebrate teen poets, and to bring diverse voices to the region. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program of the University of Connecticut.