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  • Brilliance Jones

Every ghetto. Every city

"I was just a little girl, skinny legs, press and curl. My mother always thought I'd be a star."

The light of childhood is brighter than anything else on this planet. Every once in a while memories of playing in the middle of the street at my Granny's house with at least 5 or 6 of my 32 cousins comes flooding back and I can almost smell the sound of summer on Littlejohn Ave in Eastover Ft. Worth, TX.

Dirt. Koolaid. Miss Mary Mack. Rockin Robbin. Doo-Doo Bugs. Blow Pops. Laffy Taffy. Pennies. Nickels. Guiding Light. As The World Turns.

"Yall go up to the corner store and get me some cigarettes and summer sausage."

"Benson and Hedges menthol light 100s, right Granny? Can we get something too?"

Music to my ears.

I think my disdain for playing sports was born in that backyard. Forced into a game of softball by the older cousins since I happened to be outside trying to get full off of the honeysuckle growing on the fence, and they need an extra player. Pitch. Hit. Scream.

Strike 1.

Wailing and sobbing hysterically while fighting what I now know to probably have been a concussion in the hood where medical insurance was null and void, I went to the safest place I knew- my Granny's arms. Between bouts of consciousness, I could hear my savior laying into them for always beating up on me, while she rocked me in her arms and pled the blood of Jesus over my tear-soaked, swelling face.

I love


She loves


The first and only song I ever learned to play on her piano. A truth that I'd negate from time to time when she was cursing us out for our parents leaving us at her house another night while they went to work or the club, or when she'd make us stay inside and watch TBN for hours as punishment for misbehaving. I always knew how to make it right tho. The next morning I'd wake up and come to the kitchen around 5 am, eyes half-open, face streaked with slobber and impressions of the barrettes that were left hanging from the day before, and ask if I could have a cup of coffee too. That was the magic answer- a shared cup of coffee during morning worship. When she'd hand me that warm cup with more PET milk than caffeine, I'd start singing along to the gospel hymns playing from the tape recorder she'd used to capture the good parts of the last revival, and my repentance would be complete. All past sins would wash away and a day full of playing jacks on her floor would swirl into fried chicken and a cake made from scratch before I could even blink.

Bubble gum, bubblegum in a dish.

How many pieces




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