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Winter 2018/19

Jesús Papoleto Meléndez


Because the situation is so truly bleak, I haven’t raised my voice up
to speak out with disgust against the daily torment and torture
I see that seems innate within the lust that normal citizens go lusting after
in this so modern day& archaic age in which we live.
No, I’ve not Risen to Speak Out
Against the daily wages of sin that mankind is involved in
Because now Hatred flaunts and strolls in busy Metropolitan streets
with the security of the Police, and the message that It surreally wields is so well rooted
in Contemporary man’s heartless soul, wherein compassionless
this day dares dwell.
All this, All people All the world know All too well:
That Nothing Evil ever happens without hatred on its side…
Once spun
in its Immoral course,
There’s no preventing the wickedness that it unleashes,
Nor is there repenting from it for the poor, too-human soul.
Yet, No one!
No, not one listless ear is even listening to the beating of its own heart;
Its owner’s lost somewhere, sleeping beyond his inner ear, where all he hears
is the garbled voices of Conformity barking out the mundane Orders of the Day
that maintain the Status Quo!
As they lay languidly, complacently in complicity
To the crimes committed in their name, and convinced of having done their very
little bit against the void of hopelessness that now pervades the planet Earth,
and sullies their hearts’ hopes & dreams…
I, for one –
Am sick and tired of pointing it out to The World
Every time I see a mucous-faced baby girl, sucking at her mother’s blood-drained breasts,
embraced in loving arms, between a war and death;
While proud consumers wave a flag
in mock protest in shopping malls, purchasing armchairs for their Plasma-TV sets
To go sit at home and watch the parade of global homelessness in the Daily News
via a Satellite connection, which comes directly into their homes, always around dinnertime.
For Whomever –for Whatever!
As it always goes with Whom and Whatsoever –
Periodically throughout history, whenever Apathy becomes a matter of non-fictitious fact
And everyone collectively comes to believe a certain Truth that, in fact,
Perpetrates a lie: The self-deception of Cosmic-denial mother’s a self-hatred
Whose rage lashes out – Not against its Oppression!
But, instead to murder the impression in the mirror on the wall –
And is undeniably responsible for the roving gangs of young, hot-blooded Soulsters
who wander aimlessly about, armed with guns & knives, in a culture without culture
that makes of every natural citizen a vulture,
Preying on devouring
Any sense of humankind that might surface from humanity…
Thus, old Black men tremble by their mailboxes with an ancient fear,
waiting for their pension checks, & the elevator to appear
in contemporary, Cosmopolitan urban public housing units
Where everyday, ordinary Sophisticates inhumanely roam in their realms
quite naturally, & nakedly behave like savages inside a cage they freely call Society.
Oh, who’s to stop these rabid youths who attack and kill their own ancestors
and their elders, too!
– Just for the pure Impurity of it;
To see what they can steal, and get away with it!
And fail to see the crimson liquid Spirit that they leave
flowing lifeless in a puddle at their shadow’s knees.
Oh, if only
We could see reality in a sub-atomic particle-view
That we might see blood, not as red, but rather as the life-spirit matter
of which violence always diminishes to a splatter.
They weep not for whom they view lesser than a stranger;
They, themselves, long lost, and estranged from the cultural leap-of-faith
that might someday bind them to humanity with simplistic consciousness.
Instead, young men die with their intelligence intact –
Staring into blank Infinity,
Without a clue before the world as to what is the glue
that attaches us all to this floating ball, twirling in its fantastic mystery.
In Life it’s known all things grow old within the progression of Time & Space!
The Universe itself growing old, still expands from its own mistakes.
Thus, I do believe
That Modern Science, somewhere in its secluded place, indeed
has over-powered primitive man & mind, and quite meticulously plans out all this despair –
Like sports events bent on lifting public cheers from those who can still afford
the price of box-seats upon which to sit their butts, and not have to sacrifice an inconvenience
while witnessing their greatest fears unfold before their eyes…
Nor, any longer, do I believe
That Earthquakes are a phenomena of Nature – Nor of Nature’s God!
And that neither are Tornadoes, nor even Storms, Hurricanes or Tsunamis –
Otherwise Tropical in their nature, which seem to somehow adore only
Adobe-huts, made of sweat and bones, and inconveniently located in exotic,
isolated locales, still out of reach from most wandering tourists, seeking danger
& adventure, with treasure maps of Natural oil deposits and obsolete brochures in hand.
Where once proud peasants toiled the land, Pity them now; For woe are they
and their backward way of life, hands-on with nature, as it were.
Their loss fails to bring a tear to swell in the socket of a glutton’s eye.
For decisions are made in well hidden, higher places,
Somewhere near God’s house,
I must suppose, wherein ultimately it is decided which esoterically indigenous
Real Estate property will take a tumble in a cloud of mud and dust onto the oceans’ floor,
opening new opportunistic doors for the development of beach-front bungalows
for the newly riche from war,to exploit & their children explore.
While life remains lonely and so full of desolation for those whose lives fall
down ugly, more or less destitute from birth, such attests to their lack of worth,
That not a fickle finger is lifted, nor shared the wealth of knowledge of how
To make ends meet in Paradise –
Right here, right now!
To shift the unequal weight of human misery
on the planet Earth.
But because –
Unlike the strongest trees, Men will not
by a subtle breeze be swayed from the joy of their misdeeds!
They are the branches that do not yield to the winds of time,
and therefore, break by the weight of their own stubbornness.
So Everyone, as promised, will receive their turn to die!...
And they’ll be each awarded at that time both, a Birth and Death Certificate,
without much “Thanks” for their participation in this Life.
And when Life itself on Earth finally dies,
Only a certainly selected, intelligent Insect will remain
To bit, by bit, pick up the pieces once again, and reorganize the world anew;
And to prove once more, that No One, once alive, then died
Has yet removed the dust from his own grave.
So thus;
While brand, new babies peacefully dream in their sleep,
It is GOD
Ultimately, Who is to blame –
For the burning flame of life they’re about to greet,
For it is He who must love the misery that He so often keeps.

JESÚS PAPOLETO MELÉNDEZ (“Papo”) is an award-winning New York-born poet who is recognized as one of the founders of the Nuyorican Movement. A playwright, teacher and activist, he has published several volumes of poetry: Casting Long Shadows (1970), Have You Seen Liberation (1971), Street Poetry & Other Poems (1972), Concertos On Market Street (1994); and the stage plays The Junkies Stole the Clock (New York Shakespeare Festival, 1974), and An Element of Art (El Porton The­atre Co., 1978). His latest book, Hey Yo! Yo Soy! 40 Years of Nuyorican Street Poetry, A Bilingual Edition, is comprised of his three previously published books from the 1970s.



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