Ursula Rucker is one of the best proponents of the sort of work usually found at a good poetry slam (and having been to one at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, I can assure you that such events can be inspirational - as well as hugely entertaining). Written out, the words can appear almost blank: spoken, they take on another life entirely.
"Return to Innocence Lost" tells the story of the violent birth, life and death of Rucker's elder brother:
Played a different kind of street game nowRucker's solo work is also worth checking out, but for me, Things Fall Apart - and especially this contribution - remains one of her finest moments.
First Son plunged deep
Speak street-family vows
Espouse no causes but his own
See, he couldn't protect Mommy's neck from Daddy's grasp
Or...protect Mommy's ass from Daddy's wrath
Couldn't shield her ears from...Daddy's foul-mouthed, liquor-breath jeers
His only defense-served be confidence
Brown bottles housed his swift descent
Phones called cops on block frequent for his shenanigans
Now...Daddy and him twins in addiction
Driven to false-hearted heavens and friends
By liquefied demons
Had become what he despised from Conception 'til End