SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Local Man Nabbed as Pimp by Tina Kelly

There are 70-plus females running around with them now,

Paul Sprewell's tattoos: God’s Toy. God’s Secret. God’s Boricua.

God’s Cherri, God's Bitch, God's Power, God's Virgin, God's Star.

The swirly dirt-gray script felt like a thousand stings across each neck.

God’s 4 Life, God's Love, God's Angel, God's Blessing, God's Jewel,

 

and God's Property. All of them worked for him, and he sent them out,

to cars, to motels that smelled of Band-Aids and mold, to sweaty strangers

who would steal their cellphones, reject the condoms, refuse to pay.

The girls called him God, his legal name. He got it from the bail jumpers

he caught, after washing out of the Reading Police Academy. They'd say

 

Oh God! because he's six-foot-five. Oh God give me another chance.

God don't take me now, I'll turn myself in tomorrow. So he changed it,

legally, even on the voter card, and the article read "God is a Registered

Republican," though the DMV fought back. Not Visa. He signed God

whenever he bought them tight jeans or extensions or manicures.

 

Too bad if you hate the mug shot, the shit-eating grin, the brows rising

up at his joke, too clever to believe. Look closely and you'll see angry

scratches on both cheeks, defensive wounds, red screams branding him

with "No! I won't!" with “You ain’t God!” CashMoneyBrothers.com

is not an escort service, it's where men pay to rape women over and over,

 

young women, some children, females who truly would leave except

he would beat them, or he'd tell their families they were nothing but hoes,

or he'd beat their sisters, hunt them down and turn them out, too.

God's Brown Sugar said she wouldn't leave because he called her pretty

and bought her nice clothes and gold earrings, and said "I love you,"

 

and no daddy ever told her that before, only God Daddy,

which is what he made them all call him. So what would God,

true God, have to say? Aren't all women God's Diva? Isn't every woman

God's Precious? Aren't those lips for laughing, shouting, telling stories?

Those hands, for creating and clapping? Isn't 25 to life too kind?


Tina Kelley’s third poetry collection, Abloom and Awry, came out from CavanKerry Press in April, joining Precise and The Gospel of Galore. Her new chapbook, Ardor, won the 2017 Jacar Press chapbook competition. A former New York Times reporter, she shared in a staff Pulitzer for 9/11 coverage. She wrote 121 “Portraits of Grief,” short descriptions of the victims. She also co-authored Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope.

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