spring again

By Jesús Papoleto Meléndez Jesus Papoleto Melendez
spring came /
the same way winter left
& summer will come
& summer will leave;        slowly
          / when no one's expecting it
             when people are tired of waiting

like waiting for welfare checks /
          a long wait/             a slow wait

the windows are open
but butterflies don't fly in
to display a sense of love

           / only housefly enter
              to sit on food       & eat crumbs

& dreams escape /
& become stolen      & lost      & used
& wasted        & thrown away
& dreamed anew

the junkies sit on the stoop
& nod themselves into dreams
            / maybe into the ones which escaped
& stinkball is played
& on warm nights        the ghetto musicians play
our ghetto song
on garbage can tops         & bang on empty coke bottles
& sound real chévere

the junkies will sit on the stoop
& nod themselves into dreams /
stickball will be played /
                                             the streets will become chalked
                                             with 1st and 2nd & 3rd bases

hop scotch will become a game
& tops will spin on sidewalks /

& everyone will anticipate summer.

Jesús Papoleto Meléndez, "spring again" 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


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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