By Erren Geraud Kelly

Mama chastises me
Because I don’t call enough
37 years old and I’m still the
Baby she won’t let go
Thinks I’m in over my head
In the California sunshine
But she’s just a country woman
San Francisco is alien territory
And that’s the way she wants it
My heart is here, but sometimes
My eyes roam other places
On the map
I haven’t been to Paris yet
Even Chicago or New York City
Winters wouldn’t frighten
These southern bones
Mam tells me Byron Sharper
Is running for the state legislature
We used to play baseball on the
Vacant lot, on the corner of Chippewa
And 38th street
Swapped baseball cards
Or bragged about how much pussy
We never got
Mama then tells me Granville Tennart
Became a preacher
Now, that is news
Grandville and I went to New Orleans
For our senior trip
And we tried to con our way into a hotel room
So we could bring girls up
We wanted to drink hurricanes
In the French Quarter
We were underage and failed at
Then, like a slap
She awakens me with more news
Andy was taken from his home
By thugs to a spot and shot
His body was dumped in a field
On Wooddale Boulevard
Roy was walking down Chippewa Street
(the same street we all grew up and
                                            Played on)

Three bullets silenced him

And no matter where I go
Black men die like flies
No matter where I am
I’m still mama’s baby
She won’t let me go

Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in Chicago, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California, by way of New York City. He has been writing for 21 years and has been published in Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online) and anthologies including In Our Own Words, a Generation X Poetry Anthology, Fertile Ground and Beyond The Frontier. He received his B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.