124: the break

124: the break

124: the break

By Nate Marshall:

Read the automated transcript.

the break

          is the place in the funk record
everybody goes crazy. if the dj is smart
the break is built longer. the break is hip-hop.

Grandmaster Flash took the break,
stretched the break. pulled it apart
like silly putty, plastered the party in it.

the break is where the drums take center
stage. the break is the center. the break
is the party. the break is built
from thrown-out equipment,
unused grooves. the break is struggle.

the break is the place
your sister doesn’t have.
the break is the eviction.
the break is moving
back in with Moms.

the break is the break-
up. the break is garbage
bags of your sister’s
belongings you find
in your room the day you
come back from summer camp.

the break is the party
you want to have
for your sister. the break
is your sister not being
only yours anymore.

your niece is the break.
the job applications
are the break. listening
to Lil’ Kim & Biggie
while your sister braids
your niece’s hair is the break.

the break is the job
your sister hates.

the break is the apartment hunt.
the arguments between Moms
& your sister. the break,
the apartment coming through.
the break, garbage bags
absent from your room.

"the break," from WILD HUNDREDS by Nate Marshall. Copyright © 2015 by Nate Marshall. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.