Looking Through Stained Glass

Tar Beach

First weekend of summer, threw a backyard BBQ
And new friends pulled me from my chaise
As we tour the house they see an old pix or two
And that brought me back to my younger days

Music blasting on the box with a deafening boom
Ghetto burgers sizzling fast on the charcoal grill
The flowerpots bursting of color in full bloom
That darn Junie spiking punch with Papa’s specil swill

And standing over the fire is Aunt Nanette
Basting meats with her ‘secret’ glaze
The drifting scent alone breaks you out in a sweat
Wafting in the summer sun’s blaze

The older women chit-chat and gossip
With the old men's province being dominoes
All pretending their hooch is ‘justa sip’
Knowing they’re tanked from their head to their toes

Yeah, I remember back to the rooftop era days,
When ‘Right On!” was a normal part of speech
The poor folk’s version of Riviera ways,
Straight up the stairs, through the door to Tar Beach

Little boys trying too fast and hard to be men
Adamant in voicing their first mistake
At little girls trying too fast and hard to be women
‘Must be jelly girl ‘cause jam don’t shake’

And comes Nana Gains with a voice of stone
”You modern kids just like kids was way back when.
Just mind your manners, ‘cause you ain’t grown
And when you is, you best ta mind ‘em then!”

And wouldn’t think Nana could move so fast
‘Cause she look slower than a herd of snails
But ‘fore you know it the boys get bopped on their heads
And the girls get switches to their tails

Yeah, I remember the rooftop era days,
When kids learned what the old folk’s had to teach
The poor folk’s version of Riviera ways,
Straight up the stairs, through the door to Tar Beach

When the cool evening comes, the kids sent to bed
Breezes blow sails made of sheets hanging on the line
Slow music starts to wail, beneath the stars ahead
Bringing a certain calmness to the night so fine

Men and women start dancing real close together
Hooded eyes and silk-veiled words begin
The new heat having nothing to do with weather
With fingers sneaking touches of bare skin

Us older kids hanging just out of sight
Of our parents line of view
Many first kisses happened on such a night
And a few other things happened too

Yeah, I remember back to the rooftop era days,
Before locked doors kept them out of reach
The poor folk’s version of Riviera ways,
Straight up the stairs, through the door to Tar Beach


 
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