The residence of my childhood always haunts
me in dreams. Not in a scary way, just in a way that
surprises me. When I'm convinced that Robert Taylor
Homes has finally escaped my slumber, they appear
again. Having completely rested.
To know what it was like depended on who you asked.
Adults of course, having seen much more than the children.
Upon mentioning the place to my Aunt a while back,
I still remember how she tensed and a sorrowful look
came upon her face. The somberness took over as she
mentioned that Death was all she saw there.
At which I quickly changed the subject and made a mental
note to never talk about the projects ever again.
I didn’t see Death
but I saw more than I should've.
The projects, though mostly consisting of wire mesh and
concrete, pulled off the incredible feat of robbing children
of their innocence. A gift that is fragile, no matter what decade
its received in. It's stolen much, much sooner than it should be.
And me being a child,
didn't know what it was.
Until it was taken from me.
He saved me. But he didn’t. But he did.
Bad things still happened, but that’s because
this is Earth and not Heaven.
He saved me,
from letting the bad things destroy me.
It’s hard to describe without sounding like I belong
in a padded room. But the only ones who’d think
that are those who don’t know me. I was a Love Child,
born in the last fringes of Free Love Utopia. When I
came into the world in the month of Woodstock, my
mother was fifteen and a half. I grew up shy in a
population of project kids that mimicked the adults
around them. I grew up around elements I
shouldn’t have seen or experienced.
And things happened. Things that families don’t
like to talk about. Because doing so would
acknowledged they happened. And without even
knowing how, I survived. And through her, my G/pa
and God’s determination, I didn’t repeat the cycle.
I had my first child at twenty-five and married. When
someone asked me how could I believe in God, my
answer was “How could I NOT?”
Out of Business
I’m walking back home from
my vendor stand on the street
because I’m out of fucks to give.
And stand in front of Truth,
staring at it without blinking.
Soundtrack of the union not
“Always & Forever”.
But more like that Facebook meme
of a chicken in a high-pitched
singing about whooping
And say how things should be
just comes off sounding
like madness to ears
that don’t give a
damn about right
Truth is, people change
before situations do.
I fell out of love,
so I could fall in love
with myself instead.
Because after giving
up everything to be
with him, I realize it
was way too much.
I was a casualty of that
implying that women
must sacrifice who
they are to be with
someone. And if they
doesn’t do it, then they’re
But after being selfless
for so many years,
good to me.
Shontay Luna is the author of two chapbooks, Reflections of a Project Girl and Recollections & Dreams. In addition her work has appeared in Rigorous, The Literary Nest, The Daily Drunk, and Silver Birch Press, among others.
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