Two Poems by Reg E. Gaines

BOMB 42 Winter 1993
042 Winter 1993

Please Don’t Take My Air Jordans

my air jordans cost a hundred with tax
my suede starters jacket says ‘raiders’ on the back
i’m stylin … smilin … lookin real mean cuz
it ain’t about bein heard just bein seen

my leather adidas baseball cap
matches my fake gucci backpack
there’s nobody out there looks good as me
but the shit costs money it sure ain’t free

and i gots no job no money at all
but it’s easy ta steal the shit from the mall
parents say i shouldn’t but i know i should
gots ta do what i can to make sure i look good

and the reason i have to look real fly
well ta tell ya the truth man i don’t know why
i guess it makes me feel special inside
when i’m wearin fresh gear i don’t have to hide

but i really must get some new gear soon
or my ego will pop like a ten cent balloon
but securities tight at all a the shops
everyday there are more and more cops

my crews laughin at me cuz i’m wearin old gear
schools almost over summer is near
and i’m sportin torn jordans and need somethin new
there’s only one thing left to do

cut school friday catch the subway downtown
check out my victims hangin around
maybe i’ll get lucky and find easy prey
gots ta get some new gear there’s
     no other way

i’m ready and willin i’m packin my gun
this is serious bizness this shit ain’t no fun
but i can’t have my posse laughin at me
i’ll cop somethin dope just wait you’ll see

come out a the station west 4th near the park
brothers shootin hoops and someone remarks
as i said to myself … i likes em … i likes

they were q-tip type white and blinded my eyes
the red emblem of michael looked as if it could fly
not one spot of dirt the airs were brand new
i had my pistol knew just what to do

followed him very closely behind
waited until it was just the right time
made a left turn on houston pulled out my gun and
“GIMME THEM JORDANS!” … and he tried ta run

while layin there dyin all he could say was
“please don’t take my air jordans away”
you’d think he’d be worried about stayin alive
as i took off with the jordans there were tears in his

the very next day i bopped into school
with my brand new air Jordan man was i cool
i killed to get them but hey … i don’t care
cuz now … i needs a new jacket ta wear


Thomas the Burnt English Muffin

you son of a …
Georgia sharecropper the
brand nubian showstopper
flip floppin from left to right
afro/saxon fly by night and we know
you’re wife’s white
been like Thurgood a …
man who took a stand so
don’t be mistaken
achin truth is Thomas:
the burnt english muffin
wants to do his bojangles shufflin
on the Supreme Court
but Homey don’t play that
Judge Bork shit so the
muffin’s gonna have a fit
tryin ta git in
raised as a …
new hope pope lover
Mother Theresa was his
holy rollin visa out a poverty
claimed he pulled up his own bootstraps
“perhaps”/but ivory hands helped push
Bush appointed him so somethings wrong
all along claimin his disapproval of quotas
not one iota except when it fits his needs
leads one to believe …
the burnt muffin is least qualified
or are the president’s hands tied
“GEORGE … confide in me”
has C.T. ever made a decision
check him out on colorvision
with his mouth wide open
gropin for words not there
so where is he comin from
sum total of the disenfranchised
american success story
waving old glory frantically from
sea to shining sea of
red blood flowing knowing well
this racist system
condemns his people to hell
as he half smiles and replies “no comment”
this satin sent disguised as a catholic
triple pick six does no good and much harm
as alarm clocks rock the boat cuz
we don’t need another judas goat
and a vote for you who straddles the fence
makes no sense as you
rinse your hands of the
non aborted bloodbath charade
parading down fifth which you must take
baked in white ovens burnt to a crisp
speak with forked lisp mind confused
if your appointed black people lose
and will Thurgood’s shoes ever be filled
grilled cheese and tomato
on burnt english muffin
huffin and puffin when it finally hits
DAMN!/i ain’t what i thought i was cuz
i turns my back and hears black nigger
and just can’t figure it out
no doubt you’ve been brainwashed
your people squashed
hated frustrated while you’ve been
checkmated by George
and not the one from valley forge
but that low life ass wipe lizard
who seriously considered
the former grand wizard of the
KKK can you say …
David Duke of pearl white satin
and even if you don’t speak pig latin
you’ll understand his …
“OINK OINK BOINK BAM” the royal scam
another black pawn gone as
crosses burn on the White House lawn
and Supreme Court Justices sing along
to this free expression of
racial muck and mire … so Thomas
you burnt english muffin
smell the smoke wake the fuck up man
your ass is on fire

Reg E. Gaines is a lecturer, playwright and poet. He was the 1991 Grand Slam winner at Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He has published two volumes of poetry: 24-7-365 and Headrhyme Lines. Currently, he is the Poet in Residence at Hamilton Fish Park Library and a writing lecturer at a Boys Club in the East Village.

Two Poems by Tyehimba Jess
Two Poems by Tracie Morris

Imploring breaths heave: ‘please, just a taste of it.’
It’s Fall. Should not be hot.
After all, school began.

Harmony Holiday by Farid Matuk
Miles Davis Trumpets

“I don’t want the kind of career where everything is sensible and safe; I’d rather suffer through the anxiety of wondering where I’m going next than suffer the boredom of dancing in the same safe square.”

Two Poems by Tyehimba Jess

They said I wasn’t smooth enough / to beat their sharp machine.

Originally published in

BOMB 42, Winter 1993

Featuring interviews with Richard Serra, Steve Buscemi, Neil Jordan, Tom Zé by David Byrne & Arto Lindsay, Sue Williams, Sarah Schulman, Ralph Lee, Coco Fusco & Guillermo Gómez, Don Scardino, Jeff Perrone, and Walter Hill.

Read the issue
042 Winter 1993