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North Philadelphia

Hard city, why does my porch smell like gun powder and police brutality? Why do no less than 365 people get killed in cold blood here annually?

Hard city, why is it you refuse to soften? Why does one young kid’s dumb mistake so often cost his or her mother a coffin?

Your sidewalks are no safer than your streets are. Certain blocks are allergic to cops, you’ll see no police car.

Hard city, you owe me an apology. You taught me to smoke pot instead of showing up for geometry. Mom says I could have been a doctor probably, if I had bothered with a college degree.

Hard city, you helped kill my childhood. By age five I had seen things no child should. Half of your residents swim in the polluted creek, they’ve never been to Wildwood. Wouldn’t have the first clue of what to do with firewood.

Hard city, the only thing suburban about us is our Chevy out front. We feed our kids bodega food for lunch, what the fuck is a restaurant?

They tell me it’s a concrete jungle. One so many try to climb out but get to the top and stumble.

Hard city, it’s startling how much of your harshness is apart of me. The parts I can’t part with, they pump through my heart and arteries.

Hard city, I swear I’ll always love you but I have to leave you. I’m just worried once I do, I’ll realize how much I really need you.

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