Dael Orlandersmith

Election day (2016) /Loisida  Blues
(  dedicated  to the  folks on  the lowereast  side)
 
By  
Dael  Orlandersmith
 
I live on the lower east
 
Latin  style/it’s pronounced
(LOW-EE-SIDE-AH)
&
 
Where  I live
 the  streets  are filled with
cigarette  butts
Paper
Food
Beer /liquor
Soda
Juice
Condoms
 
Cans
And
Broken glass
Which spill into the  gutters
But
On  certain  days /the jagged glass sparkles  like jewels
And
 
When
the   sun hits  those broken jewels/ the colors of rainbows  are formed
 
and
 
as
 
 for  the people
 
 there are new old jacks
and
new jacks
 
the  former who’ve  roamed  the  streets
novena beaded w/ bowed heads
 
or
swaggered  to   whatever beat  that  they heard
 
filling
 
the street  w/ the smells of  sofrito
coffee
pernil
bread
 
made by  the strong/soft hands  of Spanish/soul
people
 
and
 
NOW
The Latter
The new jacks
 
 
fairskinned Euro models
NYU kids
 and
smells of  canned soup
quick pizzas
 
quiche
wine
 
and
exotic cigarettes
 
 also
hang in the air
 
old jacks/new jacks- (at least  for the time being ) are standing side  by side
   and  
on  my block on Loisida -no matter  what time
or  
weather ..
There  is music
 
There is
 
always
MUSIC
 
IT  could be   Tito  drumming  all the way on Avenue  C
conjuring
Nuyorican alphabet city  gods
 
who are long gone
from
bebop   
and
 
the strungout
or
Music  on avenue  B
 
where
 
Wayne lives – he’s filling  the street  w/ Miles  and Trane
 
or
my twenty year-old  next door   neighbor
who wears a   ‘kiss me / I’m dutch/german  and Irish’  button
and
 
wears Kurt  Cobain   teeshirts  while playing Brianjonestownmassacre  on her sparse  guitar
 
On  Loisida  -  where I live
 
There is always SOUND
 
Different
 
Necessary
 
SOUND
Making  different  / similar sound  gumbos
 And
 
There is always MOVEMENT
 
Some  kind  of MOVEMENT
Fighting
Dancing
Kissing
Crying
BUT
 
On Nov 9- it stopped
All movement
All Sound
 
And
 
Carla -who  makes the best Pasteles  on my block
And
 
Carla
Who always smiles  while walking with her baby daughter aptly named  Linda-who also always smiles
Had  tears  streaming  down her face
And
 
Her normal  stride   had become a shuffle
And
Carla  who loves  to sing – her voice broke into a wail
And
As
We looked  at his  -TRUMP’s PICTURE
On  a bar television while  standing  on the  street
 
And
as
 
We all stood there watching – his face
Thin-lipped
Demonically triumphant
 
Not fully understanding  HOW  it happened
On this bar tv

 

  Carla’s  Wail  so   wounding
And
deep
 
that
it  almost/ brought us  to our knees…..
BUT
 
Suddenly
 
SHE
 
Arranged
 
Rearranged  herself
Stood  up straight
Look  at him-TRUMP thru Bar glass
 
Turned to
 
Us
 
Giving us  back  her  smile
 
The smile  we all knew
And
Needed
And  
Said ‘ we’ll grieve
 
We’ll  fight
And
 
 Then
We’ll dance
 
BUT
Most  of all
Don’t forget –
Do  NOT forget
 
TO
BREATHE
 
Just
 
BREATHE’