This is my summer song:

Stanza 1 (The Metaphor)
Thunder. Rain. Death. Pain. I long for the breath of peace again. And mornings without the dew of aftermath. Of weekend tallies. Of epitaphs. And bloodbaths.
I long for symphonies of ghetto children, drifting in winds of better times. Lifted on wings in ice cream skies and apple pie. And peace is not an illusion. And self-destruction is not the conclusion of us.
I long for misty water-colored memories. When boys slap-boxed. Made slingshots. Licked icy cups. And girls jumped rope. Hopscotched. Kissed lollipops. And nobody got shot.
It’s been so long that maybe we forgot… When you could wish upon a star. And a dream could take you very far. And we walked not on the edge of life but within the balances. Our hearts without calluses. Beyond ice-cold inhalations of malice.
I long for more life than death. For the resuscitation and breath of us. For the clap of thunder to no longer be a metaphor for steel rain. For the storm to no longer be our blood that pours.
I long to walk in the shadow of blessings instead of man-made wrath, death. I long for us to long…

Stanza 2 (Preacher Man)
Hey, Preacher Man, I’m a believer. But help me see again. Beyond this hypocrisy of men. Who preach to me about what Jesus said. But who live like kings on poverty’s bread. Brothers blind to black soul fields where the harvest lies. Where peace ain’t still. Where chaos reigns. And bullets fly. Where the people cry. And children die.
Hey, Preacher Man, we suffocate, annihilate, while you pontificate and offering plates circulate on Sundays. But the church house is closed on Mondays. And the preacher vacays on fun days. Retreats in splendor. Heart untender to the plight of sheep — slip, slip, slippin’ into darkness. While you sip, sip, sip, sippin’ on this madness. Big pimpin’ off this sadness.
And it makes no sense that you offer no light. No lifeline. Only pie in the sky and prophet-lies. Dressed in sheep-skin suits and lizard shoes — with wolves’ eyes. Chasin’ loot. Reverend Ike-ism in an age of Facebook “like-ism.” Among some preachers nowadays, it’s hard to see the Christ in them.
And brother Nat Turner’s screaming from the grave: “It’s still better to die a free man. Than to live like a slave!”
“Father Mike” I know. But who the hell are you? Only showing up for the cameras. Tryin’ to get on TV too. Old heads can’t get no respect. Only talkin’ ’bout marching. Are we there yet? Preacher man?
…Take me back to the days of old; When the church house still had soul; The preacher stood up bold; We gotta make this land a better land…

Stanza 3 (Take Cover)
No Kevlar vest. ‘Cause he’s too small. No bulletproof windows. No steel-plated walls.
A porcelain foxhole. Is where shorty takes cover. Survival 101. Screaming for his mother.
Rock a bye baby. In the bathtub. Lord, keep ’em safe. Head low. Eyes closed.
Bullets whizzin’. Body tremblin’. Heart pumpin’ fast. They’d probably move away
If they only had the cash. Take cover …
To live and die in the hood ain’t necessarily the Chi-Town story. But living as a kid in the hood? All guts. No glory.
Here’s the story: Bang-bang. It used to be a “we” thang. Facebook beefs, no more chiefs. It ain’t even ’bout a ‘G’ thang. A cast game. A blast thang. Killin’ in the fast lane.
No code. No shame. Stone cold body snatchin’.  Hood turned insane. Who’s to blame?
Freeze frame.
Take cover.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com