A Halloween Memory

A Halloween Memory

All Saint’s Eve, daddy took little miss piggy

to the Cypress and Harman bakery,

where they gave her cookies and pennies,

and her pumpkin was brimming,

until mommy stripped wrappers

off tootsies and suckers by evening.

Inspect for catheters, needles and blades.

Don’t get too gleeful,

mommy checks for evil and lethal –

all to keep her piggy’s kisser safe.

 

– Rachel R. Vasquez, Oct. 2017

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It’s not Halloween anymore, but better late than never. Didn’t originally title this – but it is what it is. 🙂 Once upon a time, my mother would check every single piece of candy I received on Halloween just to make sure it was safe before I could eat any.

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Little Cousin

Little Cousin

My little cousin’s got the Brooklyn.

The kind from the underside of pinched Corona caps,

stoops littered with sunflower seeds,

and Beenie Man grating from a recorded cassette.

 

I have other cousins who were cured.

Left cemetery meetings amongst Kings and color initiated school holidays.

My aunt grew tired of sleeping away from the windows and cured her children the only way she knew how –

Pennsylvania.

 

My little cousin though, he’s got it bad –

the Brooklyn.

The kind where no Jansport or Jordans were safe.

The kind where kids were offered Remy Red from paper bags out of cars blasting “infiltrate”.

We didn’t mean for him to get it, but it was like he was destined.

 

Lured by Wyckoff summer nights.

Enticed by windshields of Puerto Rican flags and “Rollin’ with the Clique” down Onderdonk.

He must’ve been seduced by starry names we wore on necks, fingers and belt buckles like voiceless shouts.

 

Maybe he caught it from someone else?

Foxy, Chino, or was it Willie?

Was his name Willie?

Willie who wore foundation two tints too light,

lookin’ like an unslept, unbrushed Tego Calderon,

who strutted up the block to talk about love and dick before I’d seen either?

 

Was it all the unready mothers raised by unready mothers,

then trying to raise sons like sacrificial lambs?

Like offerings to “outside”?

 

Was it that my little cousin heard?

Heard women talk about “the club” the same way some country folk must talk about “the city”?

“Better than being out here in the sticks. Why ain’t we at the club?” as if there was only the one?

 

Did my cousin see?

How shadowed men jittered in doorways across the street from the abandoned warehouse on Willoughby?

I remember his ear to ear grin as he told me he saw

me kiss the pothead I pined for from Stockholm,

the one with a topless fairy tattooed under his forearm.

 

I think he’d already showed symptoms of having it then,

but we had hoped he’d outgrow it.

Doesn’t really matter now

that he’s a grown man.

 

They say he’s got the Brooklyn terminal.

Here we are now, years too late,

trying to save him.

It’s up to the blood in his veins now.

If he’s not careful,

 

Brooklyn will kill him.

 

And we’ll continue after,

asking ourselves for the rest of our lives,

how we could’ve prevented it.

 

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  August 2017

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Got family on my mind. Also wondering if I can find a WordPress theme that respects a writer’s line breaks, indents and spaces…

Broadway Junction

Broadway Junction

Going to Broadway Junction used to be like the beginning of a fantasy novel.

“Only the very brave or the very foolish
dare venture
to the Junction.”

“Our kind are not welcome
by folks who dwell in the depths of Brooklyn.”

“Few of us journey there and ever return!”

“Take care on your travels and be wary of monsters.”

Red and blue warbled the walls where my cousins slept
away from the windows.

I remember the relief my family had whenever I returned.
My limb inventory was successful and yet,
each time I came home, I was a little more jaded
than the last.

Like a war journalist who managed to survive the trenches
and lived to tell the tale.

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  July 2017

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Broadway Junction used to be a dangerous place, but then again, so did Bushwick. How the times have changed.

Circus Act

Tightrope flashing
Footwear swaying
Below
The Banners start waving
On comes the theatrics
Clowns run doing acrobatics with popcorn snappin’
Knick knacks blastin’
The audience
Turn their backs
Past fireworks flarin’
Blue and red blaring’
To the spatter and racket
Like confettied ketchup packets
Glass flickers
Footsteps crackle
The batten is broken
Simmering pyros
The ringmaster leaves the stage
Scraps and echoes
The act has made the front page
But the trainers have lost their animals

– Rachel R. Vasquez, 3/6/2008

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