Four Letters Down (I Come From)

Jose Vilson Jose

Pedro Pietri

“Four Letters Down” (I Come From) by Jose Vilson (draft)

But where I come from isn’t yours
I come from disjointed alphabets, incongruent pronunciations of antique names,
Burgundy stoned buildings arranged vertically, inorganically
With pathways tight enough to hear the shrill screams of murder and mayhem
But wide enough to feel like it’s not everyone’s issue
I come from white lines plastered on fragile concrete and fluorescent murals
On the track following their roads and their wrists
People still unsure whether to signal left or signal for help
I come from yells and whispers in rhythm with the boom-bap and the bomba
The roaches in the toaster playing the maracas with their feet
The pipes in the winter playing the timbales
I come from the land of the Chinese chicken and fries
Next to the Royal fried chicken and fries
Next to the chicken falafel spot with fries and a bogeda with the Coronas
I come from kids no higher than my knees mimicking kids no higher than my waist mimicking kids no higher than my ribs
I come from everchanging landscapes and neighborhood rallies
Wondering whether flotillas is the next possible solution
For the hundreds of poor people getting pushed out of this industrious island
I come from a place where, on Wednesdays and Fridays,
I can stand in a line starting from my house to hear false prophets
Proclaim this house for theirs
But where I come from isn’t yours
Pay what you like for this show, but the change I’m seeking for can’t be found here
It’s found in places that don’t exist,
Nice places where my memories don’t require refurbishing
Where can aspire to building within without moving out
I come from a place where just a street away, presidents of a century past
Drove past us planting seeds of hope in a rather depressing time
And this newest deal is a rather raw deal …