This may not be the question I want to ask the world but in my life the world hasn’t been that big a concern. Which is to say I identify myself more in urban terms than in national or ethnic terms. Enough with the intro, let’s do this poem thing-
I’m Jus Askin
After Huu Thinh’s “Asking”
[Poem was here. Can now be found at spindlezine.com]
Three poems by Huu Thinh (including “Asking”) can be found here
Is the title of the next Jack Agüeros book that I am going to pick up but since I am in quite the DO mode as of late and can’t wait for Amazon to get their shit together I figured I would just jump to it.
The psalm comes from another productive IWL workshop where we were asked to write the love letter of all love letters. After two failed attempts, I decided to write a love letter to not just my city, that is the city that exists in my poems, but to the street where all the denizens of my city meet– Anywhere Avenue.
In case y’all been wonderin the name of the street comes from Sonnet for the #6 which can be found in Sonnets from the Puerto Rican. Yeah, Jack’s work has been quite the inspiration as of late: The way he negotiates through city with an eye that is observant but not nosy; the way he can catch folks at the intersection between bad and worse and not stand in judgment; the way he can generate empathy without soliciting pity.
It should also come as very little surprise that this all these poems are occurring in the Bronx. Or, better stated, The Bronx that I remember. Where we played outside at night. Where we could go to the park by ourselves. Where a six year old boy is in charge of getting his four year old sister to school. Where there is danger but if we acknowledge that then we are just prisoners in our homes. Dealing with that acknowledgment at age 6. Where we are don’t have money but if we acknowledge we are poor than we become another kind of prisoner. Accepting food stamps and government cheese but not accepting the system that provides it. And music, lots and lots of music all around us. This is the Bronx that I remember and most of the time it is not the one I keep reading about in books and on the net.
Enough of dat, on to the new poem which borrows its form from Psalm 150 and also went through the the (patent pending) “speed editing” process that Barb and I have worked out.
Psalm for Anywhere Avenue
[Poem was here. Can now be found in 12 Ways: An Anthology of the 2007 Intergenerational Writers Lab and OCHO #15.]