Run, Blackboy, Run!
When dads run
away, black boys run
crazy—before tying their shoes.
He trips to school in the rain
with an open back pack. His mama yells,
“You forgot your hat!” But Blackboy
doesn't look back. Blackboy runs
mad. Blackboy runs late.
Every classmate knows black boys show up mad late.
“Stop! No running in the hallway”,
Ms. Whitelady says in her head “Black
boys are mad, black boys are crazy.” She says,
to his mama at the parent-teacher conference
“Your boy—needs counseling” and mama
only wants the best so Blackboy goes. Crazy
counselor lady says “Stop—running.
What were you thinking? Use your head!”
Blackboy says “Okaaaay”
but does not understand.
Confused Blackboy goes out to play—
in the rain, he cries out to his boys
until his eyes go red but hears “Stop—
being a cry baby.” He says “I’m not!”
but they do not believe. He leaves. Not
in his right mind, Blackboy proves them
wrong. Blackboy walks to the end
of a rainbow and finds a colored girl
with lonely gold coins in her eyes.
He scares off the leprechauns
and promises to never leave. He lies
her down in a bed of four-leaf clovers.
Inside, she’s raining. But he forgot his hat.
she opens the door, he runs through her hallway
and makes her cry out “Baby” instead—
Her eyes roll back. He doesn’t look back. They make
a baby that cries out “ga-ga”s and “goo-goo”s;
counselor didn’t specify which head to use.
Blackboy needs a new place to live ‘cause
tough love is the only thing mama can afford to give.
He jumps fences with child support nipping at his knees,
Blackboy needs green. His boys say, “It don’t grow
on the trees, it grow on the streets” so black boy goes
out to play—when his baby cries rainstorms,
Blackboy runs mad. Blackboy runs crazy.
His colored girl baby mama gets moody
and sad, ‘cause black boy forgot his goals;
the toilet is the only pot he be filling
with gold. Blackboy rolls—like a big kid now,
but ain’t saving enough money to buy baby’s Huggies.
So Blackboy runs—late, he stops—showing up.
Blackboy doesn't look back. Blackboy runs
colored girl mad crazy. Herself, she pulls up
by the shoe laces, walks over pothole puddles
filled with rainbows that committed suicide.
She goes up to the storefront window, gives
her gloomy reflection one last silver smile,
and then pawns in her eyes—
for just enough gold coins to buy a month’s
worth of food for the leprechaun-sized baby
with a mouth like an open back pack
who grows up to cry out,
“Mama, where is my dad?”