Fresno, you have fallen asleep
Along the mountain sides
Of your north.
Your Blackstone spine
Is pressed against boxes of concrete, petrified wood, cracking stucco
And twisted advertising steel.
Fresno, a haze of fumes floats above and
Lingers through your tired streets and we
Taste it in your holocaustic, gas chamber, valley vegetation.
Your Tower District is emboweled with alcoholic, emotional wrecks
And not to far away is hypodermic China Town.
They are twins from the same womb
But of different fathers.
Fresno, your schools concentrate on educational poverty.
So kids wage wars against each other
Over loyalty to Sur 13,
North 14, Park Side or North side Bulldog gangs
The wrath that’s pressed inside of them
Is released through an entitled fear of having nothing
So they fall between the cracks of ignorance and
But you don’t teach them any different, Fresno until
what’s right, what’s wrong,
what’s cool, what’s not,
Same thoughts pass
from one generation to the next
And sucking of welfare nipples ensures
That a 40oz malt buzz will follow
With hand signs, street fights,
DUI’s and home invasions
Until they make the evening news.
And yet I swear to you, Fresno
That this issue of blood won’t pass from you
Until you learn to read the colored rhymes
Graffitied on your ghetto walls and
Tattooed by the finger of your Messiah
Like a tramp stamp placed
near your fertile bedding grounds.
Fresno, who is your redeemer?
Fresno, never mind
You don’t believe.
Fresno, your west side leans on the pillars of poverty
And your east side ways are unlike the ways
Of your Northern Woodward, River Parks
Fresno, Motel Drive is an oily gaping hole of marching pigs
Where no one who goes there will readily confess they ever go
And no one leaves without first having sold their soul
Or bought another’s for a blow job
Fresno, your downtown is a modern concentration camp
For the American Dream where the
Down and out
Pitch their tenements
Made of tattered tents
Near railroad tracks that seem to go
No where far enough from you.
Fresno, your breath is sick and smoggy and
That’s the reason you
Have never been in love or kissed
By anyone other than your mother;
Her tears rain over you hoping to cleanse you.
Fresno, you’re California’s liver
Everything she eats and drinks passes
Through you in 99 ways
And your south side hoods
Smell of sun-dried meat
Fresno, what about your face of meth?
That shit sells more in one fiscal year
Than your worthy crops!
Yes, methamphetamine is inhaled more
Within your borders
Than your winter fog is seen
Fresno, your nights are lonely
But that doesn’t mean they’re safe
While your city council goes a whoring
After other ripened fruit because your basket
Has long been dry and withered.
Fresno, are you dead?
Or do you just find it easier
To lie in a fetal pose
Without the strength to rise?
As your disenfranchised children find apathy is a miserable friend.
Fresno, you leave your children soiled in their cribs from birth
Since the days before my mother’s water broke
And I arrived like everyone here upon your soil;
So I too would be Fresno born.