Saturday, October 08, 2011

July 13, 1977 (a poem)
by michael a. gonzales

living uptown, the night of blackout '77
i remember a bunch of hollering boys on our block
playing stickball in the street
as miss josephine sat on the stoop
eating a greasy fish sandwich, her radio tuned to wwrl
while screaming girls twirled, playing jacks behind her back
sweat dripping from their brown skinned faces
"it's hot as hell," grandma used to say
"hot as fish grease," somebody screamed

of course, most folks on my block didn't own air-conditioners
just wack-ass fans that blew hot air, stale air, dusty air
while that girl robin across the street, fine as red-bone wine
sat braiding her sister's wild hair, tangled from playing in the
open hydrant...

little sister sat still until the ice cream truck
came creeping down the street
playing the same song over and over and over
had to wonder how the driver didn't go crazy
between the repeating music and screaming kids
others would've flipped their lid, but dude was always calm
as he made banana boats and coke floats and chocolate cones
overflowing with sprinkles

as the sun settled down to sleep
somewhere in the distance lightning struck
and twice, the street lights flickered

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