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spring again

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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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spring again

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  • 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 the room, through the window and out onto the streets of El Barrio. Among the founders of the Nuyorican Poetry Movement, his poems are carefully crafted reflections on urban life, with equal doses of humor, anger, love and absurdity.”
    Melendez’s poetry collections include Casting Long Shadows (1970), Street Poetry & Other Poems (1972), Concertos on Market Street (1993), and the bilingual volume Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry: The Collected Work of Jesús Papoleto Melendez (2012,...

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