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The Sentence

I am going to tell you exactly how it was
I was sixteen We went on a tour of the burning ghetto
two girls and a woman who should have known better

We drove Fourteenth Street slowly, and smelled
the air We had nothing to do No useful thing
in us could be used there

A boy I knew blue eyes, brown skin
had burst himself there
like a bomb in a hand-blown bottle

At stoplights we saw we were only one
of many carloads of the curious

We were looking for friends or alibis We saw
a woman come out of a store with an armload of bread
We saw the cop who would knock her down run across
the street and draw his club

Blood, you see is a bright color
It lies on the mind like a leaf on snow

Did you hear what I said? I said
it lies on the mind like a leaf on snow

I said I would tell you exactly
How it was How I went
Down that street down

Who should have known better
Who saw the club and the bread and the badge
of the man turn

into woman Who was sixteen Who had friends
And what burst did

No useful thing where alibi
Or how it was such a bright color

And that is how I went down that street
like a leaf on snow like a piece of grammar


["The Sentence," appeared in Slow Dancer #29, (United Kingdom)]