III

You don’t have to smile for their files anymore! All you have to do
Is look away from the camera at the new poem you’ve written or
The recent painting you found on your canvas on the morning
You decided never to arrive at work on time again! And
You danced all night & drank & made a toast to your favorite
Indian ghost of the memory of having been in New York City before
You landed in Spanish Harlem on a Blimp that took forever to get
From Times Square To Grand Central and back to Times Square to
Ask where is Times Square! A Rican lost in New York! A Rican in
New York Lost! A New York Lost Rican! And the more you walked
In the opposite direction of tropical dreams and urban ambitions
The more difficult it became to talk in English or Spanish!
So Spanglish came to the rescue and we became out of focus Nuyoricans
Which is not the same as being lost & is the same as being lost!
We followed the Piraguero all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge &
Jumped & landed on a bar stool of a Member’s Only Club in El Barrio
Where we read El Diario as opposed to the Daily Bullshit News!
A train became el train A truck remained un truck A sandwich became
Un sanwiche! Ham & cheese con aguacate please and por favor cojelo con
Take it easy porque se me apago la boila del building y no tengo esteam!
The rules were the same rules of the element of island surprise
It didn’t take us long to learn after the Marine Tiger burned
That we were here and have never left there! Which made us schizo
Phrenic & entitled us to forget about working and surviving on welfare
& criticize anyone who has read Kafka as opposed to the Holy Bible!
We let our folks worry about the bills and became the best stick
Ball players of the western hemisphere in Pre Post Out of Focus
Nuyoricans scene of impossible dreams of owning seven Bodegas
And eleven Botanicas and nine airlines to fly back & forth to Ponce