Ivoncito lived near Graham Avenue where mom shopped for cheap clothes on
On his roof was a makeshift tanning salon
I roasted myself as he read me lyrics about what was wrong
with life and when he would be free to sing his song.

I lived where waves crashed on rocks
and locusts screached on old trees
where grass was cut and the garbage men came on time
there was little crime
in the Emerald City of suburbia

I wanted to be Brooklynese
hated all that didn't know me
including me

I was on that Coney Island cyclone ride
in my mind
horror show
I wanted to be
black, white, latina
no way out and no way in.

Pink Floyd and boleros played in this sky
As I watched the white boys and girls gettin' love off acid
They read Emerson and Thoreau telling them, "build your castles in the air"
American style madness drove them to dream of free love and open spaces
community and real integration
whatever that means

Meanwhile, Ivoncito sold candy to my Latino pannas in the suburbs and my
pannas sold it to the white kids trippin' on the beach.
White kids kept their dreams alive cause pop was the firechief, mom was the
doctor and uncle was the lawyer.

The fists around those jail cell bars were ebony
Ivoncito got caught American style
no band aids for the bruises, no trial.

White kids talked about wanting to be free to date any race
bennetton and mtv style

I stayed silent
They never remembered my face, just one of them washed up spics
I read
winning smart spic of the class awards my grandpa hung on his wall next to
Marilyn Monroe, JFK, Albizu and his equivalency diploma.

Ivoncito's mom died of cancer weighing 90 pounds
As she like a raisin shrunk
I saw my hands and my books age
as I cried in the rain, no wipers for my glasses.

We wuz kids once you know

When we were young
Ivoncito came to where I lived on the beach
staring at the sand and
kept repeating, "you're so lucky to live here- to have a beach w/ real sand
and water,"
"I loved those street waves I only rode once" I said.
We both had rhythm and we danced together like the country and the city mice.

We found each other inside each other
Hiding so long we were afraid to come out

His lyrics foam in my mind
running ferociously to paper
He never knows that half his soul is in my verse
and half of his lyrics come from his view of the ocean near my house,
where he saw hope
and I saw hell.

Lenina Nadal

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