What Is Hartford?

Hartford is a storm.

Hartford is a rainbow.


Hartford is a concrete rose garden

That when the sun washes over the streets

They grow.

When the rain blankets the blocks

They grow.


And I'm sorry that the city is bombs and birthdays

But sometimes;

We need both.


I've seen just as much Tombstones as I have seen babies.

Men shot down on the ground.

The only thing that separated us was

Three stories.


Three stories:

Like the sides that lead to his death.

Three stories:

Like the amount his child would hear.

Three stories:

His soul would have to pass for us to make eye contact.


But trust me young soldier,

For every booboo there is a kiss.


Like the hershey kisses I pick up at bodegas,

Like the rare kisses from butterflies in the city,

Like the kisses a young mother delivers to the child

Saying, “I can’t give you the world, yet, but, this is a start.”


Hartford has boys who are oxen

And girls with the spines of carnations and buildings.

Fathers with diamond feet and mothers with palms that hold their child's dream.


The parents take the seven O’clock bus on Albany Ave.

To put food on the table.

The children take the seven O’clock bus on Albany Ave.

Goes to school to enable,

A better life.


See in Hartford there are people trying to live

And people trying to survive and I think you know the difference.


Just protect your neck but not your chest-

They can take your chain but not breathe-

They can only stop it!


Your lungs are guns;

Guns that can shoot dandelions.

Just aim it out our noses.

Because we've been in crap for so long

We forgot what flowers smell like.


We shine bright in Hartford.

It's like this city swallows stars.

We should rename this place cronos.

Because this city swallows gods.


Some emerge from the esophagus with dreams.

With dreams to be all over the street.

Like, like corner stores,

Like Hustlers,

Like clothes from Mishi and Davis,

Like graffiti of freedom fighters

That raise our youth from the grave!


Screaming, “I have a dream!”

Screaming, “It’s time to fight back!”

Screaming, “We gotta start makin' changes!

Learn to see me as a brother 'stead of two distant strangers!

And that's how it's supposed to be!

How can the Devil take a brother if he's close to me?!”


You see, Hartford is a oxymoron

One of the poorest cities in America

In one of the richest states.

But, don't be discouraged.


We need dirt before we can grow the fruits of our labor.

And Hartford,

Our home,

Is a garden.


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