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

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