Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ethnic Domicile

Summer in Washington Heights
Dominicans open fire hydrants
releasing water at full pressure
The gutter is quickly turned into a river
People forced to hop over curbs to keep sandaled feet from getting wet
The water spews out like a jet
Kids dripping with sweat
Adults work a wrench to open the tightly twisted hydrant cap
Old coffee cans are held over hydrant as water shoots up high into the sun filled sky
Young kids get drenched
Garbage on the sidewalk leaves an unpleasant scent
Hamburger Meat gets grilled on street corners
Thousands sit on beach and lawn furniture in the street
In front of what used to be an old horse stable
Is now an electrical station
In front of dilapidated buildings
In front of ghetto shadows
Surrounded by lamppost light sitting in huddles
Lazily laying on bed comforters and sheets
Young mothers and children jam the stoop steps in front of the building forcing me to squeeze by
Kids draw with kaleidoscope of colorful chalk on the sidewalk
Loud merengue music is played deep into the heat of night boils
The music rises and burns from outdoor backyard patios and fries sizzle in the sun
Cold pushcarts carrying blocks of ice are pushed over cracked sidewalks
The sound of shaved ice as colorful flavors mix and melt in the day’s oppressive simmer
Thermometers reach triple digits
young women wear tight fitting shorts revealing their ass curves
Old women walk with black umbrellas posing as parasols
Young boys and men play baseball in traffic with green tennis balls a steel bat a square strike zone drawn on a post office red brick wall
People scatter as the ball is punished by the bat - zooms across the street at a rapid rate
Screams and laughter outside my dark window
Fights break out and nobody calls the cops
Grown men sit around squared tables and throw down white polka doted dominos
blunt marijuana smoke hangs in the humid air
cold beer and frozen water sales rise for bodegas
Iced coolers containing cold drinks and hotdogs get dragged and carried to the street
The black get blacker
The light skinned turn brown
The fair skinned burn
Young men stroll the hood in white wife beaters and play basketball bare-chested
hallway doors are propped open for a nonexistent breeze
street merchants fill the side walk selling junk at discount prices
way uptown in Washington Heights everybody waits for the sun to go down

Thursday, July 1, 2010

my phone is dying

talking fast
the battery won’t last
my phone is dying
it keeps on crying
it beeps and beeps
to tell me the battery is depleted
A new charge is needed
this phone call will end
can’t talk with my friends
all my phone numbers are locked inside this device
keeps singling me it’s out of life
my charger’s at home
I say fuck this stupid ass phone
Cell phones attached to waistbands
hanging out in pockets
swimming around in bags and purses
the cell rings I begin another frantic search
then curse when on its 5th ring the phone still can’t be located
Then the worst thing imaginable happens
the phone gets lost
The dreaded upheaval
It needs retrieval
You feel it in your chest
when your phone can’t be located you get stressed then depressed
Losing a phone is like losing your child
it's like a lover
always with you close by at your side
you call your phone from a prehistoric landline
and hear it ring again and again you hear your own voice message
you retrace your steps
go into stores
call the subway lost and found
but it still can’t be found.
The only number you remember is your own and your mother’s
Instantly you’ve lost all your contacts
all your friends your associates
if you’d simply blue toothed the numbers to your home computer
You sink to think of all the calls you’re missing
Yet you can still retrieve your voice messages
which merely serves to cause more anguish
you make a list of the people in your phone
suddenly you feel so alone
you weep and cry and moan
you could die
you want to hold a funeral service for your lost phone but you can’t call anyone to come
You dread the possibility that you may need to make new contacts and friends
you listen to your voice mail as people call again and again
they start to worry that something is wrong
you visualize all the texts coming in all un-replied
you see how much you have relied on technology
all your ring tones and mp3’s gone for eternity
You become religious and pray that the person who found it will have mercy on your soul they will call you to tell you they found your cell
But your phone is lost
how can they call you?
you hope and pray that maybe they will call one of your friends and they will
tell them who you are
You have nightmares that somebody is putting their grimy little hands on your phone
looking through all the nude pictures you sent to your lover
crank calling your contacts
these are the hard facts
you put up flyers around the neighborhood that read
“missing” with a snap shot of your
flip phone
your sidekick
your rumors
you call your mom’s number
since suddenly she’s your only friend
she doesn’t even know what texting is
Your heart is broken - all hope is lost
you think maybe I should tell my service provider about all this
it’s too late international charges have been racked up
calls to Santa Domingo
places you never heard of
all the service provider can do is offer you a new phone if you re-up for another year
You go to work depressed
try to recreate some semblance of your numbers
you ask a friend at work for her number
you become a detective, “Hey do you happen to know Lori’s number?”
You manage to get three numbers from there
you call each friend and accumulate more numbers
you wonder how you could make such a blunder
Your contacts are now at six
you sit shiva and cry because this time your phone has really died
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