Ysabel Y. Gonzalez
The record rewinds
b-girls on linoleum.
Under the bass you hear
break girl, break.
A chance dance to prove your worth,
battle to save your crew’s skin.
B-girl, will you show the boys your twisted, naked
feet, undressed fat laces chucked quick
for a shot at rap’s cupid?
How fast will you windmill
in Hip Hop’s turntabled face
‘til you trade a spray can for lipstick,
swag for stilettos? Backward flips, mic gripped lips
turned poised, ponied, carrot chasing chicks.
Will you worm your way into the cypher to spit?
I mean, hock it from the deep back of your throat
to purge the taste of the word hoe.
Even as I Applebum notes, chorus
of affections crooning
love of my life, I remain lost
to Hip Hop the way one day old popped
Moet goes dead.
Why can I groupie, but not drop a freestyle?
Lick off ten fingers from a DJ, and not be the one to spin the B-side?
I guess, B-girl, we can love it all afar from a pole.
This ballad should mend the break
with a woman’s fearless needle and groove,
throw a time switch, train it back
to claim those Bronx bred streets, gangs like girls,
run the night, hunt the haunt of shelltoed echoes.
don’t you remember that time we blew up
the stage with razor lyrical rhymes? Bombed
subways and streets with tags, graffiti design? Battled
Crazy Legs on the asphalt in the park? Breaked
a nasty beat for the crowd bobbing in the dark?
Neither do I.
Neither do I.
Neither do I.
I want to go back tell that boy in fifth grade sorry for my sleeping fingers
The wintry kiss I blew on our way back inside from recess was actually
two tired fingers pressed to my lips like a cigarette
I was blowing air I couldn’t hold in
it was supposed to be private but he caught my eyes
then I exhaled
And isn’t this always the case ?
Our eyes meet and they take something that isn’t theirs
fleek: adjective, slang 1.flawlessly styled, groomed, etc.; looking great 2. perfect; flawless
You tell me
I'm your liquid gold,
down your beautiful throat.
on a woman's fearlessness
& when I'm brave
a man is freed.
is knowing I die
but cup my wild anyway
onto your tongue
and when ex after ex marries
I ask, why
do they get to be happy?
If they had poured harder, longer
they would still miss
do I know what will happen when
it's your turn to rub your hands
me for divine
cracks? & find them.
About Ysabel Y. Gonzalez
New Jersey native Ysabel Y. Gonzalez received her BA from Rutgers University and an MFA in Poetry from Drew University. Ysabel has received invitations to attend VONA, Tin House, Ashbery Home School and BOAAT Press workshops. She’s a CantoMundo Fellow, and has been published in Tinderbox Journal; Anomaly; Vinyl; It was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop; Wide Shore, Waxwing Literary Journal, and others. You can read more about her work at www.ysabelgonzalez.com.