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Poetry Is Alive
It's the story of two guys, two girls and the simple way life in Harlem can get Pretty Ugly...
Once you drive up the New Jersey turnpike with Chuck Love and his escalating gun running scheme, you'll be hooked till the end. Rounding out the crew of shady and self-centered characters are Apple, Chuck's high school crush now involve with Big Zach, a cutthroat Sugar-daddy and Eyonna, Apple's roommate and sometimes-best friend. These four play out a scheme to make money that takes them from the mean streets of Harlem to the backwoods of Kentucky and back again. In between there are reality glimpses of Harlem street life, invitations to explore the hustler mentality and just enough mischief to set the pace toward a powerful ending. Folks of all walks of life will find themselves learning a lesson or two for
Even at the bottom of the low, the sun shines in a pretty ugly kind of way - yet those summer days in Harlem were still sweet. That's when the hustlers got their exotic cars washed on the city sidewalks, and then drove off with their rims shining from the Armor Oil that made their tires look like they were dipped in hot grease. The merry old men wore their straw hats slightly tipped to the side, anxiously anticipating the next number as they talked trash around their game of checkers.
Once the basketball tournaments got started uptown, some of the guys would head up that way to meet some of the prettiest girls on the planet, while others would just hang out and socialize. You could catch a glimpse of motorcycles racing up and down the avenues, doing dangerous stunts and revving their engines for every girl with a big butt and a nice smile.
And there was Chuck Love, looking older than his twenty-three years. You could see it in his body language, his demeanor and the people he chose to associate with.
It was early in the afternoon when Chuck headed uptown to check out the Rucker basketball games, and since he had to pass by Mr. Ray's barbershop on the way there, he decided to stop by and say hello. The barbershop was a neighborhood watering hole that had been in the same location for years. Mr. Ray had given Chuck his first haircut and his first job - when Chuck was only nine years old he would go by the shop on Saturday mornings to sweep up.
This was an old-fashioned barbershop, where photographs of boxing legends and a pair of ancient boxing gloves adorned the plywood walls along with a few trophies that belonged to Mr. Ray. He had been a good amateur boxer in his younger years, though he couldn't cut it as a pro. But if you wanted to talk about boxing, Mr. Ray was always ready. He could go on for hours, walking you over to his wall of fame, showing off his boxing gloves or the photos of his favorite fighters and their best attributes. Mr. Ray was tall with bushy gray hair and good eating habits that keep his skin clear and his bones in good working condition.
Today when Chuck dropped in it was general small talk as usual, until Mr. Ray asked him how was he doing in school. Chuck had mostly good news to tell, but when he came to the part about the recent drug bust on the college campus, that started Mr. Ray's mouth right off.
"Listen Chuck, anybody that needs a drug to change the way dey think, in orda ta have a good time… can't be too bright. You got a good head on ya shoulder's Chuck, an' I know that you know betta’. Now all you gotta do is finish school like ya daddy wanted, an' come back ta New York wit a diploma, an' start that magazine thing that you always talkin' 'bout. Anything as long as it's sump'n bigga an' betta’ than the bullshit these young dudes out here waste dey time on. Dey always thinkin' small. Not you Chuck, that's why I like you," Mr. Ray continued. Then he looked around the shop to make sure there were no children present before he went on. "Whateva you do Chuck, just don't mess aroun' an' end up in jail like these bottom-shelf fools out here, somewhere makin' collect calls back home ta ya mama an' worryin' her half ta death."