Refusing the Melting Pot

Growing up in the Bronx,
I confess that it was hard for me
to love those blocks,
that never had as many parks
as empty fenced-off lots,
and my mama couldn’t
trust the schools
were a good place to
be taught.

Those blocks where
Halloween was one of the scariest
days of the year,
and at all costs
we kept the door locked.

To this day
I don’t enjoy the holiday
I prefer my candy store bought.

It was hard to love
that Section 8 apartment,
with so many roaches,
no amount of traps or poison
could stop.

I think I’ll always hate them
for the many ruined
cereal box.

I loved the car we had,
til it got jacked
and stripped for parts.

The cops later found its
empty carcass,
told us we should probably
find a better place to park.

It was hard for me to love those blocks,
that will probably never have as many parks
as empty fenced-off lots,

But I was grateful for the men
who gave me pastelitos and frío-fríos,
even when I didn’t
have enough change.

For my Dominican barber,
who gave me a dope fade AND
Some M&M’s if I sat still and behaved.

I was grateful for the bodegueros
who treated me well,
and knew me by name.

For the babysitter who didn’t charge
my mom more when she got off
from work late.

Lately,
gentrifiers have been
coming into the Bronx
after decades where our borough
was left in
the hard knocks.

It’s raising rents and closing businesses,
but it’s our community that really suffers,
as we slowly get displaced into White America’s
abandoned suburbs.

Our lives made further diasporic,
coming to feel singular and outnumbered.
A culture scattered, lost
to the forces of
hegemonic urban planners
and police scanners.

For all my life,
it’s been hard for me to love those blocks,
but I grew up in the Bronx,
and I don’t want us to lose ourselves
in America’s
white-washed melting pot,

le falta sazón

by Henry Gonzalez

Photo by Bianka Bell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s