May 18: “spring again”

spring came /
the same way winter left
& summer will come
& summer will leave;        slowly
          / when no one’s expecting it
             when people are tired of waiting
like waiting for welfare checks /
          a long wait/             a slow wait
the windows are open
but butterflies don’t fly in
to display a sense of love
           / only housefly enter
              to sit on food       & eat crumbs
& dreams escape /
& become stolen      & lost      & used
& wasted        & thrown away
& dreamed anew
the junkies sit on the stoop
& nod themselves into dreams
            / maybe into the ones which escaped
& stinkball is played
& on warm nights        the ghetto musicians play
our ghetto song
on garbage can tops         & bang on empty coke bottles
& sound real chévere
the junkies will sit on the stoop
& nod themselves into dreams /
stickball will be played /
                                             the streets will become chalked
                                             with 1st and 2nd & 3rd bases
hop scotch will become a game
& tops will spin on sidewalks /
& everyone will anticipate summer.

— Jesus Papoleto Melendez


March 30: “our happiness”

was when the
lights were

the whole city
in darkness

& we drove north
to our friend’s
yellow apt.
where she had
power & we
could work

later we stayed
in the darkened
apt. you sick
in bed & me
writing ambitiously
by candle light
in thin blue

your neighbor had
a generator &
after a while
we had a little
bit of light

I walked the
dog & you
were still
a little bit

we sat on a stoop
one day in the
late afternoon
we had very little
money. enough for
a strong cappuccino
which we shared
sitting there &
suddenly the
city was lit.

— Eileen Myles