Ain't No Babies Here

by Henry Hardee

This is the first time I done wrote down what my feelings be. I ain't made up my mind what I'm gonna do with it. I'm either gonna give it to ma daddy so he can get a beter job and move us outta these "projects" or send it to Oprah Winfrey so she can make a movie about me and pay me enough money to buy a big mansion place next door to hers.

Oh, let me tell you what my name is. I am sheenique. My daddy say my hair is nubian silk. My daddy promise me when I get big he gonna get me some fingerwaves with spiral curls dangling down the front of my face. I tell him I ain't in no hurry to grow up cause I always want him to pick me up in his arms. I tell him I ain't in no hurry to grow up and argue, get drunk, cuss, fight and end-up dead.

The place where we live is gotta be hell. It be like someone opened the hole that take you to hell and dropped all of us inside of it. We got all kinda peoples living in our building. There is people living in apartments that ain't got no curtains up to they windows or no furniture on they floors cause dey mama done sold all they stuff so she can get high. There is people who be selling rocks. They sell rock to anybody. I believe they even sell it to the rats and roaches cause they stagger across the floor like they drunk. We got people that will shoot you then cut yoou up and put you in the refrigerator until they get ready to fry you up. We got people that will steal from you, will steal your mail, will steal us lil' chirren's money, will steal jars of pickled pig's feet from the A-rab store. I wish there was enough stuff so everybody could have what they want and leave other folks things alone. Dont they know what they do to other people somebody gonna do it to them. It's all so crazy. Why do we have to be living in this wick, wick, wack.

There always be mama crying. Babies crying. Mother's beatin up on they babies. Children thinkin about beatin' up they mamas. Them dudes doing their finger signs and handshakes and talking about high-priced gymshoes work on my nerves.

There is always hollering and screaming, ladies hollering out the window telling they ol' man to bring them back something from the store and screaming at they kids to be still at the same time. All this stuff don' give me a nerve problem

We ain't got no flowers it's just dirt and mude. We live on the eight floor. In our building it don't matter what floor you go on they all be looking the same. The gang don' wrote they stuff all over the walls--it's good it don't be no lights on cause you can't read it. Them gang boys leave they big bottles of beer all up and down the hallway. In the morning when I go to school I have to step over they needles and them rubber things they put on themselves when they do the nasty. They ain't right in the head.

People around here die too much. I am tired of people dying in my life. I wish I could go back to being 2-years old when I didn't know what it meant. I don' learned it's a million ways you can die like Julian's father who drunk himself into the grave and Donte's grandmother who they found dead in her wheel chair from another stroke and Omeka's brother who couldn't get his kidneys to work and Thadius who was in the third grade with me who got killed in a hit-and-run and Anthony's sister who over did her drugs. All this dying make me think to myself that anything can happen to me. That I don't know how long I'm gonna be living so I better have all the fun I can now and I don't care if my mama beat my behind for it.

Ain't no babies 'round heah. You gotta be knowing how to do things for yourself or you could be dead. You gotta learn how to fix your own food sometimes if you be hungry and your mama ain't home yet. You gotta know how to put hot dogs in water and turn the fire up to mediom without burning yourself. You gotta know how to take the pot off the stove and pour the water in the sink without getting scalded. You gotta keep your clothes clean cause you ain't got but one-set that you have to wear over and over again and if you get your clothes dirty you have to wear them another two weeks before they get washed again.

Ain't no babies 'round here. As soon as you can talk you gotta learn how to talk about people and fight to defend yourself. Somebody is always gonna be picking on you cause they don't like something about you. It don't matter if you try to stay in the house. It don't matter if you not bothering anybody. It don't matter if you trying to stay to yourself somebody gonna walk up to you and try to kick your butt. If you don't fight back you ain't gonna live long!

Ain't no babies here. You gotta know how to listen and tell it's time for you to dodge a bullet. I use to never want to close my eyes at night cause a shot might come in my house and get me and I wouldn't be able to open them no more. The only place I feel safe is under my bed.

I don't think I'm suppose to be born yet, that this ain't the right time for me to be living cause if it was things would be much better around here. I would have some where to play and our playground would have some swings so I could swing up and try to touch the sky with my shoes.

My mama don't want me to play hide and seek cause I might be raped or murdered and nobody would ever see me no more. My daddy teach me how some friends mean trouble. They like to play rough but when you gettin' the best of them they want to jump on you and fight for real. I like daddy cause he kiss me and tell me how we don't have alot of things but the one thing we do got is loving.

Me and my mama do things together. She take me with her when we go to the restaurant to get us some food. I don't like going to the restaurant cause they scared me and mama gonna do something to them. My mama like going to that place cause they got video games. While our food is cooking she be playing. Seem like she have a better time on them games than wid' me.

Me and my daddy only go to the barber shop and he tell me not to tell my mother about them womens that be rubbing up against him and feeling his chest. It all be so crazy!

Ain't No Babies Here by Henry Hardee

© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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