from De la Bronx

Greg Fuchs

Everything is psychological, prejudicial, & personal
Which is why knowledge is the key to the door of freedom
Not computers or just more math classes, Mr. Pundit,
Politician, or New Robber Baron throwing money
Certain un-expressible yet flammable feelings are eternal
On September morning, here comes the sun that makes flowers
Some brief moments absolutely indistinguishable from 14 or 40
Ahab couldn’t relinquish his bitterness nor the fool on the hill
Uptown is the new downtown and downtown the new suburb
Please make it before the first frost or the rents go through the roof
Tiny little wrappers everywhere
Big billowy clouds between the River Park Towers
So many horrors of the supra-modernist edifices
Almost anciently sacrificial in its ritualistic telling
Everyone knows someone thrown out a window
Boy slits his girl’s wrist on a roof, slits his own
Throws himself off but is caught in a tree
Neither die
                  The clouds move toward the Palisades
Brushing the Bridge Towers like a dream affordable
Housing in a city accustomed to cramming the poor
Into tenements so that others can have inexpensive
Labor and sandwiches and goods it’s no wonder
There are gangs hanging out on Burnside Avenue
Although you will never see them from where you are
Inwood is not the Bronx
Although some folks we must pity
Believe it is, even others believe Manhattan ends
At 96th Street, pity them more
You could get all essentialist identity politics on them
But then again the shifting demographics of the city
Shift so much it defies the sociologist’s art
In spite of your political desires to hold on to the contrary
Streets of stone, and houses materials, less imbued
With nationalist, racial, or ethnic characteristics
Than we like to believe, the one constant sadly
Is hatred born of ignorance, like when the Irish
Beat my French grandfather in the Irish Channel
Of New Orleans reminds me of the Irish Inwood
And Bronx becoming Dominician changing invisibly
To other Caribbeans, Africans, Balkans
Points to the importance of studying your history