Remember Thomas Jefferson Park Circa 1912

Inspired by this post at Harlem Bespoke:

Crazy Bunch Barbecue: Jefferson Park, Summer 1999

This is definitely
for the brothers
who ain’t here
who woulda said
I had to write a poem
about this get together
like a list of names
on a memorial
to celebrate
our own old-timers day
for those of us
who age in hood years
where one night
can equal the rest of your life
and surviving the trade off
was worth writing on the wall
and telling the world
that we were here forever


The day started with snaps
on good-livin’ pot bellies
receding hair lines
and new roles as Mr. Moms
Jerry had the best joke of the day
when he said that my family was so poor
that on Thanksgiving
they had to buy turkey-flavored Now & Laters
the laughter needed no help
when we exposed the stretch marks
of our growing pains


Phil had barbecue on the grill
He slapped my hand when
I tried to brush extra sauce
on a leg
“Yo, go find something to do
write a poem
write something
do something
I got this
I’m the chef
You the poet
Talk about how you glad to be here
do something
look at that little boy
on the baseball diamond
running circles around second base
today is his birthday
look at him
beat the wind
with his balloon.”


It used to take a few drinks before
we could cry and say I love you
we have always known how to curse
and bless the dead
but now we know how to talk in silence
as we walk into the sun
like the little boy’s sneakers
we disappear in a cloud of dirt
and we go home
grown up
and full


This is definitely
for the brothers
who ain’t here
who woulda said
I had to write a poem
about this get together
like a list of names
on a memorial
to celebrate
our own old-timers day
for those of us
who age in hood years
where one night
can equal the rest of your life
and surviving the trade off
was worth writing on the wall
and telling the world
that we were here forever

© 2001 Willie Perdomo

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