- Etymology of Gangsta
Etymology of Gangsta
And here the original one saying hello to my little friend ismy own hand, oh so carefully cradling my equipment likean athletic cup though likewise being a boast toward the boyin the mirror that is black but ain't buck, his jaw literallyglass and needing to be freed of nerve, made to feel nada.
It takes hard practice to accept the grammar of the G's bodylanguage as second nature, to represent physically how the slickreplacement of the –er sound with an –uh sound simultaneouslyimplies more effortless and more ruthless. Eric "Eazy-E" Wrightof all people once lunched in George H. W. Bush's White House,so don't tell me about dead ends, don't tell me about the dead since I'm clearly one of the realest alive.
All my life church ladies have said glorify, glorify, glorify andthat was game if I ever heard it: as I see it, in a bigoted society,I've either got the respect that the homies give me or I've gotno respect at all, plus God forgives anyway and Jesus was blacklike dude that played Nino Brown. Name a better way to makethrough the cold, cruel world than this; we didn't write the rulesgoverning our lives, so we have to break them all on principle.
It's been said sweet-singing Frank Sinatra ran with the Mafia;Al Capone's picture hangs on the wall at Portillo's and youwant to tell me the country has beef with crime when it really only has beef with me and mines.
What didn't click with Ice Cube 'n nem in y'all's heads is exactlywhat did in ours. Since you gave us hate when we wanted justicesomething had to come of it: remember energy is neither creatednor destroyed, fool. So what if I'm a ruffian who would only wear [End Page 84] a suit to my own funeral? Go on, throw that salt somewhere else.I'm your gross, domestic product, America. A lie you sold yourself.Only my mama can judge me, and you wouldn't believe what I'mbuying her as soon as I get on: paradise, paradise, paradise—a big-ass crib, a white maid. [End Page 85]
Cortney Lamar Charleston is a Pushcart Prize–winning poet and the author of Telepathologies (Saturnalia Books, 2017). He was awarded a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, the Conversation Literary Festival, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.