by K. Quinn Marchman

I saw the purest souls of my generation
Dirtied by
Ravenous Apathy and Rudderless Ambition.
The daily minimum requirement of fucks to give
Damn proud to display the deficit.

And now Denver is lonesome for her heroes…

Who spoke code in handshakes and head nods;
We traded Papyrus scrolls for Backwood leaves.
Hotbox philosophers etching prophecies
Into the cracked concrete of
Our besieged negro streets
Native souls to a transient earth.

Who knew their fathers like study hall rap lyrics;
Deep-Earth-brown skinned girls
Soul and soil, like Arapahoe graves
Soaked in Superfund chemicals
Loved and destroyed by bullet toothed boys.
Bruised knuckles are the only notes we ever learned to play

Who booty danced to the side eyes of unimportant ghosts;
Inheritors of bourbon-soaked bloodlines
Carving deep and narrow rivers through
Concrete canyons and fiber optic jungles
Precious blooms seeking warmth in paint can stage lights
Shouting –
Through phlegm clogged throats –
To an incongruent Five Point star.

Who laughed loud and free like stadium fireworks;
Nappy Headed hipsters
Treating purgatory like Harlem Renaissance stoops
Singing dirty gospels over break beats
Sanctified in 40oz baptismals

Still cute, still bougie
Who made a difference;
Sleepless dreamers
Chased by spilled wine post-industrial sunrise
Psilocybin slumber soundtracked by lysergic lullabies
Rollercoasting into dimethyltryptamine dreams

Who shamed their grand-children for the curse they couldn’t lift;
Purveyors of the divine, mystic cool
Style, shapes, hues and textures
Swagger, time, heat and pressure
Diamonds forged in dirty fingernails.

Who only talked to God gassing it through yellow lights;
who snorted, who popped, who smoked,
who fought and fucked,
who ran from cops for sport
who learned to lie like weathermen to remember what virtue was.

Who lived their best life in the trees and streets named after them
Who lived their best life like heavy bass heartbeats
Who lived their best life counting smoke rings in rain storms

Who died their last death once the “RIP” was pressure washed away
Who died their last death in a box of love notes and playlists in the recycling bin
Who died their last death by the old hood’s new, more marketable name.

… And now, Denver is loathsome for her heroes.
She never asked to be saved.

Quinn Marchman is an actor, producer, writer and co-founder of the Black Actors Guild. Park Hill born and raised, he writes from Denver with ambivalence.

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