by Vincente Perez

My friends were fist fights
we broke each other 
down. To withstand what was ahead 

We ate and spat prophecies
misinterpreted as code-switching 
cyphered with streetlight hymns

An instrumental neighborhood watch
boys playing “Monitor the cars”—it’s fun to figure out
if your block is being circled.
A séance built my home, so we protect it.

Graffitied names form pentacles
Bonded through Ritualistic joy 
woven through, fear. we stand here

Roll the dice
Say each homies’ name twice
Hoping no other noise
circles back around. 

Vincente Perez is a Black Mexican-American performance poet, scholar, & writer working at the intersections of Poetry, Hip-Hop, and Digital Black cultural praxis. Their work centers Black & Latinx lived experience and focuses on how artists use narrative to resist dominant stories that attempt to erase or enact violence on marginalized communities. They are a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley and hold a BA in Anthropology from The University of Chicago.