a balsamin` blunt lay`d diagonal in an empty ICE BREAKERS mint carton catchin` ashes. he holds the "roach" with his fingernails... takes a long drag...releases slowly, while his eyes fix themselves on a wall of thoughts below his eyelids. i watch the weight of unemployment fracture, but never break him. watch his father emasculate him...make it hard for him to call himself a man, my cousin finds strength regardless, to be acknowledged as such. locks his tears in the slit of his eyes. locks them in a smile; a lie stretch`d across his face, most of the time. don`t blame him for feelin` lonely & anger`d...i tell him, "my brother & i are your family, now" he smiles...watches the "roach" eventually burn itself out, then takes a swig of his MYSTIC fruit punch. we change the subject. laugh as we quote our parents contradictin` themselves laugh while he reaches for box cutters ...slices the "GOLD&MILD"...& hollows its shell to roll another blunt. we go for a ride...still smokin` the blunt he roll`d before we left...take in the scenary from our windows. funny what heat`ll do. make sistas flowers, who bloom in the Spring & shed their petals to humidity. our smiles are big while we look at stretch jeans, clingin` to the perspiration of their skin. look at hips hangin`...swingin` like a bag full of groceries, walkn` down the block. we watch those sistas fade from rear & side -view mirrors. watch the earth spin slow...draggin` today over her shoulders like laundry bags goin` to the laundromat...washin' today into the past. we head for his home through one of many corridors inside Suitland`s lewis ave ghetto...talk some more...tells me when he ain`t smokin` weed, he finds tranquility in a pen and pad... says i inspired him to write...i thank him for the compliment... hands embrace before we do... i tell him i love him...we say "peace". that`s when i wrote this poem.