DON’T TOUCH MY SH- SHTUFF!
Usually, it’s ‘don’t touch my shit,’
Adults are home.
We are the last generation of Latchkey Kids
We spent our afternoons alone listening to music
Songs we couldn’t play loud with adults around
In 1993 I was eleven, he was fourteen
Too cool for me in public
Best of buddies at home
Stolen from Sam Goody
Slid into his baggy jeans that sagged in public
He’d pull them up once he got home.
Daddy had a TEAC stereo that we weren’t supposed to touch
Don’t touch my shit, he’d say.
But we did anyway
Vaun came home one day with something new
A black and yellow W on the cover
Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
Protect Ya Neck, Bring da Ruckus, C.R.E.A.M
The first album that wasn’t made by Whitney Houston that I listened to without skipping a song
I loved that album for a million reasons, but my favorite
Was that he shared it with me
I didn’t always understand Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
But I made sure I could sing along with him
He’d quiz me, who are the members?
ODB, Method Man, Ghostface, Rza, Gza, U God, Masta Killa
When he’d leave the house he’d tuck his CD into a giant book
Hide it under the bed and tell me,
Don’t touch my shit.
Yeah, sure, Vaun. I won’t touch your shit
Don’t cuss. It’s not cute when girls do it.
Once he left, I touched his shit
I’d lie on the floor, listening
Reliving the memory of him dancing along
Sometimes I’d try to dance like him
And even though no one was watching
I still felt embarrassed.
Twenty-Five years later
I still listen
Alone, without him
I can still see him dancing along
Hands in the air
Boxers showing under his baggy Girbauds
Pulling them up because it’s not allowed at home
Explaining to me the significance of the numbers
Making me feel cool
Grown up, like I knew something important that no one else my age knew.
Most importantly, that he chose me.
We shared a secret that no one else understood
The only thing we understood together
So now, eighteen years after he left
An album drops every year
When I’m feeling nostalgic
I always am
Every last one is right at my fingertips
To remind me
Of those days in the living room
I’m lying on my stomach, reading the lyrics from the book in the CD case
He’s dancing in his Wu Wear shirt that he begged our parents for Christmas
Then too soon, always too soon
Not to touch his shit.
But we both knew I would.