para aquellos que viven en mi barrio

i just came across a picture that reminded me of “back in the day”. a time when three little boys-black, puerto rican and dominican-were inseparable. not a gang or hoodlums. brothers. or hermanos.
a time when friendships weren’t just about facebook and getting linkedin. a time when being from “the neighborhood” meant something positive. we took care of each other. i miss that.

i miss the fried pork chops and potatoes stuffed with beef
victor’s mom used to cook
i miss the crush I had on victor’s sister Joanna
he never knew about that
i miss sharing frozen red kool-aid with crooked popsicle sticks
i miss chico sticks and funyuns
i miss $.25 hugs and fried bologna sandwiches
only $1.25 plus tax
i miss playing stickball in the street until we couldn’t see the ball
or playing “catch-a-girl-freak-a-girl”
our version of hide-and-seek
i never caught Joanna
i miss doing backflips on old mattresses and break dancing on cardboard
we were terrible
i miss block parties and music
we used to call it hip-hop salsa
those were the days
i miss playing miss pacman on that busted black and white tv
we couldn’t even see the top of the screen
i miss stonewashed jeans
and basement haircuts
only $5.oo, $6.00 if you wanted a part
more importantly, i miss my boys
we never let money, culture or race define us
only bind us
so this is for my boys
and like victor used to say
“para aquellos que viven en mi barrio”

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