“222 Homicides in Philadelphia” by Lee Erdo

on Philadelphia tarmac
lights illuminating recycled
wolf howl over the museum
can you feel them gnawing your skin?
seeping beneath your flesh
with a
blood threatening atmosphere
riding the expressway
with odd misshapen


everywhere to nowhere
going postal
& born to be wild


Will Smith marches
for an
end to violence
mournful ears
read the words
of missing children
mocking birds play
raunchy bass heavy metals
pounding out a killer’s ransom


red eyes blazing anger
out of darkness
like fat slices
of stalking déjà vu


explosions stabbing mobs
of crime
sigh an upsurge
of inmates on death row


while the
signs on jails shout
“no vacancy”
grimacing screams
on playgrounds
bouncing off the streets


Reading Terminal curled up in fetal position
in the narrow alleys of poverty
secluded pathways of drug runners
kids owned by the hood
billowing mysteries of legal failures (mayor street?)


living in bell jars of beveled glass
apprehension edges on
the brink of everyday life
putting an end to confidence
growing skeletal remains


living five floors below the surface
with dark-paneled pubs
pushers & pimps of a worldly hell


vomiting freshly spilled blood
a siren’s call in the distance
shifting eyes of some swinging door
monumentally erupting guns
police officer
responding to the sum


pierced empty sidewalks
with sharp blades of sludge
hidden turnstiles of souls
where children go
at age four


and through the visor of mind
refuge screams in terror
“the kid’s zones…”
offered on Ogontz Ave
“stop-snitching” t-shirts
victimize their next targets


going against everything we know
while agony of surviving families… friends
have grave decisions to hold
the American Dream becomes
something that goes bump in the night




222 homicides in Philadelphia
as of Tuesday, July 25, 2006
sometimes it just gets to ya after a while







Lee Erdo is from north-east Pennsylvania.