The Newness: Making a City

Playground Monster
Originally uploaded by Travis Gray

When I was a kid, my favorite playground was the one on the corner of 174th St and Jerome Ave, sandwiched between the #4 train and Grand Concourse, with a busy exit/entrance to the Cross Bronx right along side. It was pretty standard for a city playground: two slides, some swings, a structure we could hang off of, and a padded area to run around in. Hmmm, actually it was kinda crappy. No monkey bars, no water fountain in the summer (there was one but I don’t think it was ever actually on) and no merry-go-round thingy. I know it musta been boring because I would get more thrills running outside it and hanging by the highway entrance, picking a car to chase for a minute down the ramp and then coming back up again to wait for another car. This I know cuz my Dad would warn me not to play by the highway cuz it wasn’t safe and a paliso would come my way if he caught me disobeying him. (Of course, I did catch a couple of beatins.) So that’s the playground of my little years. The one where I caught some of my first head stitches (different story for another day) and where I’ve set this poem in. The poem is a first draft so any commentary is appreciated.

Make Me A City

[Poem was here. Soon to be published in phat’itude Literary Magazine]

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  1. Wow Oscar!

    I am really speechless over this one.

    The language, the detail, the extended metaphors of hunger, emptiness, urban life………

    I was almost biting down my nails as I got towards the end, you have mastered the art of creating tension in this poem. Also made me ponder, what types of cities different ppl including myself would create?!/.

    No suggestion for edits, this is ready for print! EXTRAORDINARY WORK, O!

  2. Thanks, S. Erin.

    It's a good start for sure but I still need to clean up some of the verb choices and expand on the single line in the middle and the couplet at the end to make the tercets consistent. More than anything, I like how it has two residents of Anywhere Avenue in it and how they are repping the Ave.

    Time for draft #3…

  3. Favorite line: "All scared of the hunger inside us
    And what it will do to the City."

    powerful ending!

  4. Thanks for the feedback on the lines, Anisa. I just submitted draft #4 to my creative writing class for peer review. I'm expecting some interesting commentary.

    Take care,

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