Please pardon our appearance while we build MMM online, Vol. XI, 2014, featuring works from the forthcoming Vol. XI print issue. The archived MMM online is here.
My brother promised me I was a God
and the world would end
on the first day of the 2g, said:
Little Doug, you need to be
on this real shit, this black shit,
this Five-Percent shit. When I asked
Grandma, she opened her Bible, moved
the red thread to the side, and placed
her long fingernail under David’s pleas:
With a loud voice I cry out
to the Lord; with a loud voice
I beseech the Lord. My complaint
I pour out before him. I know
to close my eyes when holy words
are spoken. I do, and then it’s 1989.
Troy has an afro and a Caprice,
bricks of crack in the trunk. He’s
rapping Rakim to me: My name is
Rakim Allah, and R & A stands for "Ra."
Switch it around, but still comes out "R."
It seemed as though rap lyrics were the only
words he said to me, hitting my chest
for emphasis when a dope line was uttered.
These niggas be telling the truth,
Little Doug, he would say. Grandma prayed,
prayed hard: Dear Lord, seat of wisdom,
mirror of justice, cause of our joy, please
have mercy on this boy and his brother.
Grandma died in November. Troy’s back
in prison, and I haven’t said a prayer in years.
Bio: Douglas Manuel received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and an MFA from Butler University where he was the Managing Editor of Booth a Journal. He is currently a Dornsife and Middlebury Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He has attended the Tin House Writer’s Workshop, and he received a Chris McCarthy Scholarship for the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in North American Review, New Orleans Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Crab Creek Review, and Thoughtsmith, Punchnel’s, and The Bruised Peach Press. Currently, he is a reader for Gold Line Press and a Managing Editor for Ricochet Editions.