May 26, 2010

when i use to walk
from west side to east side

would lead the way.
jimbo’s burgers
sylvia’s hot ribs
and cuchifritos.

kept my feet
in rythmn.
digable planets
tito puento
at the crossroads:
125th and Lex.

you could feel
the apollo
any given
saturday night.

kept us alert
as we looked
in to V.I.M’s store front
telling each other
which sneakers
would make us
run faster.

fast forward
20 years later.
looks different…
like something outta’
Time Square
without the lights.

recalling childhood memories
becomes much more difficult
when the image has changed.

i hear
the churches
can no longer
run on tithe
cause the rents
gone up.
and the bell’s toll
is preaching
economic growth
for the pockets
of each devils

twenty years ago,
now unboarded;
lookin’ like the Huxtables
moved in.

sky scraping
dressing up evictions
in words like, ‘redevelopment,
transformation and beautification.’

they never saw
its real beauty?

we did.
in tenement buildings’
fire escape gardens.
in housing floors’
holiday decorations.
in park BBQ’s
that grilled laughter
on skewers.
in the grand opening
of Don Manuel’s bodega.

from outside.

i wonder
what mrs. parker
feels and thinks
about all this…

everybody getting
a piece of the pie
nobody wanted to eat.

i’ll keep walking
the spirit
of a people’s history
cannot be redeveloped.

~Sarah Yajaira, 2010  ©

2 Responses to “125th”

  1. Felix Says:

    I LOVE IT!

  2. Steven Says:

    ah, this is nice. i totally understand it. very much so. living here for 12 years i have seen many changes. this is a good poem to have in your arsenal.

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