Almost Native, a poem by Joseph L.M. Sturm at
Dave Morgan

Almost Native

Almost Native

written by: Joseph L.M. Sturm



I drive on these streets
passing on the corner –
oil swirling in the gutter –
I don’t know why
they say oil in the bay is bad.
When The sun hits it just right,
“There’s a bit of a rainbow doncha no.”

On the other hand, I don’t really
want to taste that rainbow.
Or see it shoved into my ears
every. Single. day-hour-min-sec

But the corner has it all.
Store, drugs, machetes, soda
pop, candy, chips, blood –
poor kid didn’t make it
and no one helped him to
the hospital. That
was a few years ago.
and his blood is still
On the sidewalk.

I wonder what he tried to say as people passed.
I wonder what they thought as he passed.

I drive by and
people duck, duck, ratatat tat go
And don’t scurry like rats.
Because they can’t.
Push the ground down
and limp on.
Or crawl.


Imagine the running
of the rats
and the pied piper
Ratatat-tat no
I can’t/won’t.
Those ones. Those kids –
I – didn’t
“I din’t want them to be thr
din’t wanna have ta get ‘em.”

him. not him too.

Yesterday, I ran wit ‘em
“Bro, lemme get one of
Those chips.”
“Naw, man. Almost gone.
Theys mines, bruh.
I’ll getcha later.”
“Tomorrow,” he says.
“Naw, man.” I sucked my
teeth like I didn’t want them to fall out.
“Ms. Bess. has that test tomorra.”


“Yeah. I’ll getcha on Fri.”

But I got ‘im on Thursday.

Kid wasn’t supposed to be there!
“Why you thr, man!
Bruh, why you thr!”

Sun setting, pulsating.
Washing the blood
pumping onto the street.
Into nothing that will ever answer
“Bruh was supposed to be in school,
I am a man; cry into a glock

Push off and drive. Away
From him. Head jerks
No tears.
Blood is oil on the pavement.
Red rainbows swirling
And a bloody sun.

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