These poems will have you laughing, crying and begging for more. Unflinching no matter the subject at hand, Pam Ward sings “songs only grown people know” in a bracing vernacular familiar to those of us who’ve been thrilled and enthralled by an urban Black woman who has blended creative gifts and survivor’s savvy into rousing politically-charged eloquence. With fire, grit, finely calibrated ferocity, syncopated outrage, in-your-face defiance, triumph and affirmation of the soul, these poems leap off the page to be heard. In her pen, language croons on “the corner of 43rd and pain.” This collection covers decades of poems sung in laundromats, or cafes where the collective meets the street. The perfect witness to Los Angeles, Pam stands forward in heartbeats to healing. Summon your courage and plunge into Ward’s truths; you’ll be glad you did.