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Joel L Young

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Popular Poetry (Sociology)

In the Bright Ghetto
by Joel L Young

Saturday, February 15, 2003

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A found poem inspired by several news stories and a movie title.

Somewhere between Warsaw and Eight Mile
Pianists play for electricians and their wives
A working class gala with cheese balls
And sausage sandwiches
With non-alcoholic beverages and sparkling juices.
There's laughter, frivolity, with the joyous new year
Only the pianos are grand. But No one is having fun in the ghetto.

Politicians are banning toy-guns from the hands of children
The air has lifted and love is cognizant on the face of concrete angels
While cement mixes on faces of service men looking out their windows
Of their apartments waiting for that last bell to go "ding, ding, ding!"

In the bright ghetto, rappers are ripping about their women folk
Disrespectin' themselves and their homeboys
While younger boys, are dissin' the women!

The police move in like some 60's LA riot thing,
But the weather feels like another kingdom.
Northern Ireland like harps are playin'
From a blaster on the next street over.
An artful brother is river-dancing with his girl
All you need are tanks and a little beer
and it's a microcosm to call it home.

A street light wavers; a kid pulls a water pistol
And puts it in his mouth
An elder woman screams, a cop overreacts
The kid says to chill it's only water.
The cop takes the gun and reprimands the kid
Black or white it don't matter
When the kid yells, "fire!"
From the back of liquor store dumpster
An electric wire is dangling and spitting like a diamond back rattler.

Hell comes to the ghetto in a wasted rage
On the otherside of town, a pianist is playing to a lighted skyline in a distant blaze.

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Reviewed by Christine Morell 2/15/2003
Powerful, Joel, with vivid images. Excellent.
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