OYE MUNDO / sometimes

By Jesús Papoleto Meléndez Jesus Papoleto Melendez
sometimes (
                            when the night air feels chévere!
) when i can hear the real sound
of el barrio
on la conga        y timbales
coke bottles
& garbage can tops

          when i can feel
          & reallyreally touch
          la música Latina /     africana

& the fingerpoppin' soul
emergin from tears /     sweet tears of laughter

          & i can feel
          a conglomeration of vibrations /
          heat waves
          body waves
          people waves
          of real gente
          / & i feel gooooooood

when i can taste the rare culture
of cuchifritos        y lechón
chitterlins      & black-eyed peas
& corn bread

          & la pompa is open
          & cooooooools the hot tar
          of summer heated streets
          where children play
          kick-the-can (

& sirens
cannot be heard)
          / sometimes
sometimes
when the last of the ghetto poets

writes of flowers
growin in gutters        / & i know it's real
          / sometimes

sometimes /      sometimes
when i can almost hear       / being echoed back
an answer
to my ghetto cry

sometimes /        sometimes
i run up the fire escape /      not to escape
& climb on the roof
& stand on the ledge
& look down
& yell out
to the midnight world
below
above
around
within :

          OYE MUNDO Tú ERES BONITO!!!

& i forget about the junkies
on the stoop.

Jesús Papoleto Meléndez, "OYE MUNDO / sometimes" from Hey Yo! Yo Soy!: 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry A Bilingual Edition. Copyright © 2012 by Jesus Papoleto Melendez.  Reprinted by permission of 2Leaf Press.

Source: Hey Yo! Yo Soy!: 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry A Bilingual Edition (2Leaf Press, 2012)

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Poet Jesús Papoleto Meléndez

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

 Jesús Papoleto Meléndez

Biography

Raised in New York City’s east Harlem, poet and playwright Jesús Papoleto Melendez is one of the founding poets of the Nuyorican poetry movement. His short-lined, quick-turning poems engage city life through a mosaic of metaphor and song. In a 2013 New York Times article, David Gonzales observes, “The poems of Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez have a bopping rhythm, where words cascade down the page and—when he recites them—swirl around . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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