Category Archives: urban youth

Exotic Queens

Working class Queens is as exotic

As Tibet, Samarkand or Guyana

But to see it’s a trip quixotic

You leave New York for this nirvana

New York fled Manhattan years ago

The place anyone could live is gone

To the outer boroughs we did flow

From the wave of wealth we fled anon

While Brooklyn has the wealthy virus

Queens remains open territory

Un conquered by 1%’s Cyrus

All nations are in inventory

Most of Queens remains ungentrified

Because here neighborhoods never died

Letter to Dad (7 Syllable Sonnet)

We are all hurt teenagers

No matter how long we live

This is a sad awareness

& it’s the message I give

I wish I could be something

Besides the person I am

Struggling & improving:

Someone within God’s best plan

But I remain just remnants

Of a wonderful childhood:

Silly actions, bad judgements

Created this “grown-up,” bud

Always look generously

On life lived previously

Spring Snow Unwanted

Sometime in April under some black crust

This winter’s last filthy snow’ll liquidate 

No flowers can obscure this world at rust

Snow’s death & decay commemorate

Spring will unleash the green harpies of youth

Fighting out of future switches, blossoms

Adorn ev’ry curling muddy shoot

To which the superficial’ll say: awesome

But as my personal shadows lengthen

I miss the frigid hassles of my youth

Tribulations’ texture made me strengthen:

Learned surviving, becoming astute

Beautiful winter recedes to black muck

Which, if you live long enough, you’ll call luck

Elevated Subway Sonnet

Elevated subways arrive with force

Rumbling, earth shaking thunder under foot

Terrifying physics without remorse

They’re massive dragons that we tolerate

As they rumble off into the distance

With inhaled passengers from the platform

They seem light serpentine monsters of chance

Bending and curving to the land conformed

Watching elevated trains snake around

The buildings and steeples of our New York

Is both magical as well as profound

Making umpteen tons seem float like cork

The iron gìant that we rely on/

Ferocious, fearful and yet somehow wan

Spring Semester 15 (in 8)

Tomorrow I begin again
A new semester & students
We, together, will start new trends
Embarking on fresh engagements

New personalities to teach
Me how to better instruct
People to locate goals and reach
Enduring happiness and such

Classrooms: aging and decrepit
Ideas and theories: still older
Will become students’ learning kit
Where their intellect will temper

Ev’ry new college semester
Turns people into investors

Haiku Journal DMV-Manhattan-Subway Edition

new york sattelite 1

Yesterday I went to the DMV to get a New York License. I was dreading the waiting, but optimistic about finally getting my bureaucratic life in some sort of order. (Next I will try to get a passport!) I write my journal haiku or senryu throughout the day and today’s rhythm gave me a lot of time to reflect on events. There were three things that happened yesterday and I think this is a good “haiku journal” entry, so I am vainly sharing it. (Sorry I can’t format this into columns this Morning)

39. Computers are out/
Metrocards demand money/
At #woodside station/

40. Tollbooth clerk covers/
Window with impotent signs/
Backs them with ennui/

41. Most are just angry/
Ancient immigrants can’t know/
“Why no traveling?”/

42. Clerk tries to explain/
To ancient Himalayan/
Of “system failure”/

43. Palms up and head down/
The clerk gives up on language:/
Universal sign/

44. Mercifully my/
Soggy cash is accepted/
By god in machine/

45. Kindly Latina/
Money’s rejected by god/
Of electric eye/

46. She’ll be late for work/
While desperately begging/
For a crisp fiver/
47. DMV start time/
For attempt at an ID/
12:20 PM/

48. Bureaucracy makes/
Life together easier/
(Not always nicely)/

49. Pallet of people/
From which DMV’s painted/
Beyond the spectrum/

50. I love New Yorkers/
In their peculiarity/
While being tested/

51. Done with first window/
At a painless 12:50/

52. Alpha-Numeric/
Computer-read tickets called/

53. Slow but efficient/
Workers execute their functions/
While we demand more/

54. Man with pompadour/
Speaks formal Urdu to wife/

55. New Americans/
Seem more adept at these lines/
Then those born right here/
56. Subway ride back home/
Walked vanishing Manhattan/
Past places ʇɐɥʇ were/

57. Manhattan changes/
It is no longer my place/
It’s for others now/

58. City Landmarks go/
New places: new memories/
Mine Evaporate/

59. Walking those same streets/
Without friends I once walked with/
I’m slowly erased/

60. Memories miss me/
Youthful, lustful, desirous/
I’ve outgrown ʇɐɥʇ self/

61a. That city belongs/
To ambitious desirous/
Not contemplative/

61a. That city belongs/
To ambitious desirous/
Not the satisfied/

62. Lovers on the train/
Hungry hands kept to themselves/
Eyes feasting on eyes/

63. Thus it’s ever been:/
Youth revels in its beauty/
While the old look on/



George & Trayvon

George & Trayvon
This one’s too complex for a haiku:
Being white’s always been a “participation sport:” hate blacks or latinos correctly & be accepted by the clan-cops-continuum. If you declare white supremacy’s goals your own, you will get the privileges of that fiction (see the Samuel Jackson character in Django).
Zimmerman was probably the least comfortable in his family (& lightest) with the fact that their afro-diasporic-latinos and might have been teased about it by his siblings & parents. Being also the dumbest in his family he would have tried to prove his “superiority” by playing the neighborhood Gary Cooper (or Clint Eastwood) as a neighborhood watch junior sheriff, with a cereal box badge & REAL GUN.
Latinos, Asians, Australian aboriginals, -fuck- Haitians & Nigerians & Senegalese will all distinguish themselves from working class African Americans as a shortcut to getting some of that “American Dream” (sold at Walmart & denied to underclass blacks, Latinos & Asians).
Calling out & murdering an underclass Black kid is the surest way to get the stain of mother Africa off of your identity: the catharsis requires blood. As Hurston wrote “real gods require blood” regarding the anxious climb up the color cast system ranking system. Zimmerman, as an insecure light-skinned son of the African Diaspora with pretensions to middle class normalcy, had to kill a nigger (since he washed out of the police academy-lottery).
Interestingly his german/Jewish surname suggests another axis upon which this all plays: by breaking the covenant of the civil rights era Blacks & Jews he might be finding a way to get goyem approval as well, proving not all Jews are liberals & can be accepted by mega-church-christendom (adorned with parking lots & SUVs).

Performing Whiteness:/
A participation sport/
(Just hate them coloreds)/

Killing a Nigger/
Earned Zimmerman Acceptance/
Of GOP-Klan*/
#haiku *NRA-Klan

In apartheid South Africa, Japanese were “honorary whites” while the Chinese were simply coolies (or so I was told), racism is a participation sport. It is one that j participate in with my pompous vocabulary & Ph.D. Since I was a boy my ability to arch language over working class whites gave me a feeling of satisfaction directly related to Zimmerman’s automatic pistol. We all participate. & yes this is related to 70s identity politics & essentialism, but the problems of white supremacy haven’t changed enough to merit new remedies.

1a. White Supremacy/
Means devaluing Black folk/
Even by Black Folk/

1b. White Supremacy:/
Devaluing Black People/
Even by Black Folk/

1c. White Supremacy/
Means devaluing Black folks/
(Even by “Niggers”)/

1d. White Supremacy/
Devalues All Black People/
(Not only by whites)/
#haiku #

1e. Media content/
Devaluing Black people:/
White Supremacy/