Summer in Key of Civic

The city is alive with boom bap.

Utterly defibrillated with a bass

even alley cats can’t ignore.


Car alarms set off several blocks away.

A welcoming of a foot pedal growing louder.

The clout is in the approach.


When this sound tornadoes down

every block, cutting around buildings

entering through a perchance open door


and slipping out the back window

like a secret lover hearing the

beep of a spouse’s car in the lot


it vibrates to the beat

in our chests, a palindrome’d

thump-tha-thump, thump-tha-thump.


Where questions like, “Why did

the poet cross the road?” and side door

sound systems respond, girls dem sugar.


A childhood crush soon after singing

if I can be your girl is the wish

but game is weakly spit


when the Escalade approaches

beating down what’s left

of ambient noise.


*italicized lines are borrowed from the 1999 dance hall hit, “Girls Dem Sugar” by Beenie Man featuring Mya

Dimitri Reyes is a Boricua multidisciplinary artist, YouTuber, and educator from Newark, New Jersey. Dimitri’s book, Every First and Fifteenth (2021) is the winner of the Digging Press 2020 Chapbook Award and his poetry journal, Shadow Work for Poets, is now available on Amazon. His forthcoming book, Papi Pichón, will be published in 2023 by Get Fresh Books. Some of his work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and you can find more of his writing in Poem-a-Day, Vinyl, Kweli, & Acentos. He is the Marketing & Communications Director at CavanKerry Press. Learn more about Dimitri by visiting his website at