Sitting here at the dining room table sun bouncing and shifting through the curtains with sleep still left in the panes — wide-eyes gaze at Farview Park. Some Du-ragged, some hooded, sagging pants with creaseless Jordans Kings and Queens spring and splash on the half court. A white tee hulks a half-moon chuck from behind the arc. Dreds dance and dangle as another jumps towards the block, the brightness of his shirt and dampness of his sweat is pronounced in the crowning sun. Weighted blue jeans jerk high, then sink low in the height of their leaps. Another king touches down victorious as the ball ricochets through the peach ring. A queen reaches for the rebound and blasts back, “can’t believe that weak ass shit went in.” At that second, a mosh pit with no hits, grips, or fists clenched commences. Hands hoist-up beltless back-pockets back into place. They rejoice like other marginalized bodies waiting to scream “mazel tov” but they yell, “KOBE”, “Curry”, or “BANG-BANG” with the crane of contorted wrists left broken. The commotion of black bodies enjoying, stops some more kings cruising three to a bike. One tank-topped toddler atop handlebars as his big sister handles the pedaling and their cornrowed cousin projects directions, calling out cars as they ride across Lyndale Ave N. A new game starts – one king possesses the ball – begins to dribble. jukess left, throws hips right, head fakes twice with other limbs to throw off his opp. Sire shoots, then the concrete choreography begins anew. Ballet broken by “shoot for it” used to settle disputes while hydration is puckered from a peach Nehi. — LESTER BATISTE
Lester Batiste is a savage writer in living color who writes for political, social, economical change and black futures. Born in Chicago, he holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine, and an M.S.ED from the University of Pennsylvania. Influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg, and Toni Morrison, Lester strives to weave traditional forms and techniques with the vibrancy and eloquence of African American speech and experience.