Beyond the Mean Streets – In Remembrance: Piri Thomas

“Because he became a writer, many of us became writers. Before ‘Down These Mean Streets,’ we could not find a book by a Puerto Rican writer in the English language about the experience of that community, in that voice, with that tone and subject matter.” – via NYTimes.


I would not be who I am today, this blog would not exist – had this book  not been read or written.

Piri Thomas in his own words on his early life – via NPR

Born A new At Each A.M.

by Piri Thomas
The street’s got kicks man,
like a bargain shelf,
In fact, cool-breeze, it’s got
love just like anyplace else.
It’s got high-powered salesmen
who push mucho junk,
And hustlers who can swallow
you up in a chunk.
It’s got sewers that swallow
all the street pours down its throat
It’s got hope wearing
an old over-coat.
It’s got lights that shine up
the dark and make the scene like new
It sells what you don’t need
And never lets you forget what you blew.
It’s got our beautiful children
living in all kinds of hell
hoping to survive and making it well
Swinging together in misty darkness
With much love to share
Smiling a Christ-like forgiveness,
That only a ghetto cross can bear.
The streets got life, man,
like a young tender sun,
and gentleness like
long awaited dreams to come.
For children are roses with nary a thorn,
forced to feel the racist’s scorn,
Our children are beauty
with the right to be born.
Born anew at each a.m.
Like a child out of twilight,
flying toward sunlight,
Born anew at each a.m.

Author

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