Jamaica Bay Machhua

she slang her dress over her knee

tightly bundled 

tucks her carefully pinned dupatta into her sweater

already damp and heavy

from leaning into the water all afternoon

squatting into scaly run off 

legs and back bent like a frog’s

As the sun runs 

from the docks 

she scrapes peanut bunker into a bucket

from the tarp 

spread across their commandeered

section of the pier

Warning the ladkis not to play

near the railings

she spies the looming quiet

amongst the overhead planes passing

the quarreling chess players

brightening bachata music 

and distant rumbling of cars on the Belt Parkway

that surrounds her family 

Serenity seeps into every fisher face

gazing into the bay

the darkness soon come

as they say

Time to get home for dinner

The Indians

The Indians

descend

maze after maze

with their emptiness on their backs.

In the past

they were warriors over all things.

They put up monuments to fire

and to the rains whose black fists

put the fruit in the earth.

In the theaters of their cities of colors

shone vestments

and crowns

and golden masks

brought from faraway enemy empires.

They marked time

with numerical precision.

They gave their conquerors

liquid gold to drink

and grasped the heavens

like a tiny flower.

In our day

they plow and seed the ground

the same as in primitive times.

Their women shape clay

and the stones of the field, or weave

while the wind

disorders their long, coarse hair,

like that of goddesses.

I’ve seen them barefoot and almost nude,

in groups,

guarded by voices poised like whips,

or drunk and wavering with the pools of the setting sun

on the way back to their shacks

in the last block of the forgotten.

I’ve talked with them up in their refuges

there in the mountains watched over by idols

where they are happy as deer

but quiet and deep

as prisoners.

I’ve felt their faces

beat my eyes until the dying light

and so have discovered

my strength is neither

sound nor strong.

Next to their feet

that all the roads destroyed

I leave my own blood

written on an obscure bough.

 

–Roberto Sosa, Honduras

Spanglish

spanish

spanglish

hispanic

is north america’s second language

taught poorly in schools

coached in offices

shouted from rooftops

and cackled in homes

my mom really only spoke fluently

when she was angry or gossiping

it never sounded romantic to me

like its own heaviness

a language

to be muttered

under the breath of grumpy puerto rican men

as morenos walk by

for second generation children to scold their children

and for Hollywood

whenever a character

needs to curse in a pg-13 movie

The Lynching

His spirit is smoke ascended to high heaven.
His father, by the cruelest way of pain,
Had bidden him to his bosom once again;
The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star
(Perchance the one that ever guided him,
Yet gave him up at last to Fate’s wild whim)
Hung pitifully o’er the swinging char.
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view
The ghastly body swaying in the sun:
The women thronged to look, but never a one
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.

–Claude McKay

To Nina Simone

I am a

black woman

my parents migrated from Paris

i speak  three languages

i struggle everyday to raise my children

braid hair, day in and out

They call me Mama

I am a

turkish woman

in Germany, i want to pass on my customs

there are others like me

pushed into neighborhoods while our foods feed their stomachs

sometimes

They call me Outcast

I am

pakistani

i came to america a woman

praying on my knees to keep my sons free

my youngest shouts of foot baller dreams

i’ll go home one day and he’ll be there

They call me Hopeful

I am a

woman

i spend nights on the underside of the italian rivera

my smile is ethereal

no matter where i rome

They call me Real Sweet

 

It’s Just Another Day In the Neighborhood

A neighborhood’s blood pumps thick

busting through vessels stickin to the sides of deactivated muscles

limp fingers flail where once a fist formed

forced acceptance replaces the anger

‘that lingered in every household

silent voices reign

into the gutters of the ghetto

cold sunshine drapes clotheslines packed with designer labels

but still bills laid unpaid, slurpin government checks through the mail slots

Lives tormented by words unsaid

Shoot up the anecdote to the ebb and flow

as T-cell counts drop low down through inconspicuous  looks of lust tossed

affecting the whole race of us

dangerous

are these perforated prophylactics littering school grounds

children bearing children already heaven bound

as boroughs pulsate

unclean red hate spilled onto the pavement

meant to transport

the souls of our soles

steppin over the next gunshot victims ghost as he grabs at your ankles

On your way to the liquor store?

Or Crown Fried?

condemn this hood’s arteries

facilities cloggin the mentalities of the people

bleeding onto insulin detectors

kidney failure running rampant shutting down our natural bullshit filter

sprinting through our systems

Break our blood

drop  by drop into America’s pot

before they cleanse our culture in assimilated soaps

exalt our hope for freedom in sudsy prisons

where we sing our souls blue through bars on hip hop notes

Spit this verse written for you

Money fuels the industries manufacturing artists

willing to appease the crowd

 

i want bloodfire pumpimg in my veins

to see clearly the obstacles placed in front of me

take every neighborhood by the lifeless limb to the mountaintop

just over the horizon

wars peace isnt between death and defeat

our blood shed will never be a means to an end

a means to an end

is our blood boiling

with a renewed sense of justice

 

This is a call to action3885668363_12d2876299

 

Everyone trailer parks Bayamon boogie down boriquas in their mothers kitchens cooking rice and hotdogs downtown chinatown italianos chicanos the village jamaica in queens

This Is A Call To Action

Life, Love, and The Pursuit of Happiness

its in the blood

get it pumping

with revolution

into those dead fingers

then ball it

into a fist.