You who created the city that never sleeps, lend to me poetry designed musically.
I hear their chants now, raising dust off
concrete— voices drowned out, almost, by a truck’s screech,
The pleas of the strikers asking more for their labors,
the cries of the homeless begging for favors.
This city, my city, rocks me to sleep with the lullaby
of danger dancing on its streets—
Meringue and Salsa, Hip-Hop, R&B,
Jazz, Rock & Roll, and African beats
Bounce off of each other, tumble, and weep—
cry out for their people, stand up, and leap.
Youth remember those, as they crowd ‘round stereos,
whose hearts became destitute, relinquished repose,
Who climbed the social ladder of upward mobility
only to be jostled to the floors of tenements—cheap.
Youth lose themselves in another’s creativity, remembering
Hughes’ warning of deferred dreams exploding.
This city is more than subways and trains;
this city is more than buildings and planes;
My city is more than “The Empire!” stated;
yet New York City is segregated:
Glistening on sidewalks beyond Central Park
are binaries we live by—profound and stark.
God, my God—like You, a poet— I consider the song of poverty cruelly ignored by some wealthy;
I endeavor to expose the song of these streets so another can heed the screams of these beats.
You, my Muse, have lent me this poem. This poem is my Street Song, the Song of these Streets.
Copyright Xiomara A. Maldonado 2011
This poem won the ESU First Prize in 2005 and well-represents my beliefs.