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the best time

By Mahogany L. Browne

the best time i had as a teenager
included a bottle of cisco and a sideshow
at the uptown gas station.
after Kenny’s body was bludgeoned by his girlfriend & her two brothers



the best time

there was no one to tell us we couldn’t
talk loud and follow the sound of our e c h o e s
ragged with haunt and laughter.
before Andre lived to tell about his hit & run accident at the homecoming party



when brown limbs held forty ounces and each other’s ego(S)
      a delicate enchantment.
after Andre was left for dead in a stalled car a year later



the air c r a c k l e d
& the tires squealed a lullaby in the emptying parking lot
we abandoned our smiles for scowls
before Shawn’s body flew through the car windshield



all we knew was move & drink & swivel & the promise          of death
for our kind of brown                    only worthy of
           a casket                                                  caked by the dust
of black bones

Added: Friday, May 13, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Mahogany L. Browne
Photo by Kia Dyson.

Mahogany L. Browne, a Cave Canem and Poets House alum is the author of several books including Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & Best Poetry Books of 2010. Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada, and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word, and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint & The Feminist Wire. Her 2015 releases are available: Smudge (Button Poetry) & the anthology The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket). Forthcoming is a new collection Redbone (Willow Books).  She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Browne is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator, and currently an MFA Candidate for Writing & Activism at Pratt Institute.

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