How I Was Born a God

Wallace Lane

If you take a brotha as smooth as Dwayne Wayne from A Different World but with GED drip
& he falls in love with a woman as graceful as how Jada Pinkett Smith was in Woo
& together in bed they made a sweet song that ended on the note of a loud boom
& were it not for the generations of love grown in my great grandmother’s house
& left to the army of roaches & chewed panelled walls where my uncle stashed crack
& his throw-away pistols, I would say I was conceived in a bando; a product of some twisted entanglement but I wasn’t. & per my arrival one doctor said I did not cry until he held me by my leg upside down like some animal about to be slaughtered but when I did my infant lungs whined as angelic as Whitney Houston’s voice before and even after her demise. There are some things that cannot be born beloved. & I am one of them. A stubborn baby born with the adult version of himself beat in his brain. Diagnosed with black and white for vision. Young & anointed with the meekness of Moses and Meek Mill with the braids. Cloaked in the faithfulness of Abraham. & by this I mean I’m beautifully broken. By this I mean, a lor soldier from the hood indoctrinated with what my era calls the universe & your granny might say is an On Time God. What an oxymoron. Shoutout to my guardian angels in this room tagging a message on the wall that says life is fragile like the red rose growing from a crack in the weary sidewalk. Shoutout to the demon right next to him, caressing my left ear with a lustful whisper saying being born out of wedlock is nothing more than an angel invading darkness. By four, I could read a vibe like I could my sight words. By six, I knew I hated white shoes & jewellery. At 10, I saw a boy my age sell my father dope. At 11, I watched my mother pray so hard she almost fainted. & this is why I’m a complicated man. Because Baldamore is a city that reminds you of the first pain you have ever felt inside of your body. A deep gash in the heart. A bullet wound to the ego. & yes I survived more trauma here than the light post at the end of your block you claim. & i claim this pain like I do my birthright. Weeping, riding through my city which politicians write off as apathetic tax breaks. & these are my confessions: ranging from surviving the Crack Era to not being able to afford to move my mama out her home nestled between two bandos, so for now it feels like a mansion. For now, being poor is a mission statement. A struggle to stride through poverty & pain that’s knee deep. I say I’m a poet, not because of the words I bend between each line, but because most of the men I’ve known have sold dope or died & I’ve lived to write about it. That’s poetry. It’s no wonder they ask if I’m a king or God. Prophecy and hieroglyphs injected in my veins, a chamber in my heart shattered and reshaped into something that doesn’t look the same as before – a million tiny shards – stabbing at & snatching the strength you use to pull yourself back together for you to prevail anyway. I’m here to bet it all on me. To write a sonnet for everything I have yet to say about myself. The story begins & ends, but more importantly unfolds, not with me but with this generation that has replaced sentimental language with emojis. I’m here to show you the gold in boys who wear Gucci headbands like birthmarks & God in girls who are slaves to self-image. Before you judge the youth, beloved, judge who you were before life placed you in a choke hold. The end.

Wallace Lane is a poet, writer, and author from Baltimore, Maryland. He received his MFA in creative writing and publishing arts from the University of Baltimore in May 2017. His poetry has appeared in Little Patuxent Review, The Avenue, Welter, and is forthcoming in several literary journals. Jordan Year, his debut collection of poetry, was released in May 2017. Wallace also works as an English and Creative Writing teacher with Baltimore City Public Schools.

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign up to get our latest stories, poems and essays!