1988 overture: heater music

June 17, 2011

clank. clank. clank.
clank. clank.

that was the sound
of the tenants
banging on the heater.

circa winter 1988
that was the cue
to let el super know
he needed to turn the heat on.

we’d start on the 6th floor
of that infamous tenement building.
our cousins picking up the beats
would follow.
and before you knew it,
building numbah’ 218
was a puerto rican
carnegie hall.

we made music happen
without even noticing…

we were music.

on hallway floors
when you wanted
to know if your sneakers
were good
you’d step hard forward
if they squeaked
you had music at your feet
and we would dance.
we’ve been stomping
long before stomp stomped.

on empty buckets
flipped ovah’
making our own version
of timbales
we’d make music
out of cuicas
when we turned the dial
to get that big piece of gum
that had flavor for all of 47 seconds.

then we’d pop it in our mouf’
adding to the percussion
section of our orchestra

we were not beethoven’s 5th
we were tito puente’s 10th
and we were perfect.

powerful.
1988 overture: heater music.

outside, the girls turning
double dutch
got feet jumping
to the beat
“ta. ta.
ta. ta.
ta. ta.”

balls bouncing
on concrete
swish into hoops
with no nets

while titi’s caldero
gets hit from el cucharon.
even the smell of her cooking
makes music here.

this is el barrio.

in the city that never sleeps,
we are the day dream.
a song like no other,
a genre yet to be named.

we are
el barrio’s most beautiful
composition

we
are
music’s
favorite
song.

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011 ©

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2 Responses to “1988 overture: heater music”

  1. tammy Says:

    love this 🙂

  2. letty Says:

    leí, oí, y bailé

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