Black Urban Myth

Our sisters’ and our brothers’ Grim Fairytales from the Hood.

Have we forgotten?

Or do we choose to just remember,

the Happily Ever After.

The End: “Yes We Can,”

which came riding in on ballots,

a black hope for our princes and princesses trapped in towers,

high-rises in the sky.

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We’ve been straining our eyes

for the promised old promises,

spun now on new spinning wheels;

[mis]taking gentrification for gold.

[Dis]missing the wizard’s fine print,

as it is neither visible on spindles called Progress,

nor the condos, castles, chipotles, called Change.

But rather spelled with the magic words:

Eviction Notice.



Licking its chops.

Somewhere in our peripheral vision.


So the endless slumber reigns on…


We prick ourselves ceaseless,

Fiends of Feigning.



Our sisters buy glass slippers

on Cinderella salaries,

brothers crowned Kings for moving rocks.

Pulling out their swords

they are knighted Players.

Once upon countless times

a sister is called everything but Queen

by surround sound mirrors

so she sways down streets

poising Apple Bottom Jeans

that bite Earth Brown’s waist

and poison her pre-pubescence;

yearning now utopia

in just some[one]thing

she opens her chambers to that knight.


Lullabying babies to sleep

with the song of the siren,

the howling roll call

rounding up bodies to bury

behind 40 year sentences.

The nursery rhyme repeats.


by Candice Marilyn Willow Ralph | Photography from Mayuri Paranthahan |Featured image by Økuntakinte


Candice Ralph

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