Mission Street Strut

At 16th and Mission

People sit on benches

Of metal, not wood

 

Riding those benches

Watching the world

Go by as the pawnshops

Disappear with the dreams

Stuffed inside them

 

Riding the benches,

Those ex-players

Ex-disciples

Ex-scholars

Ex-heroes

Ex-sons

Ex-daughters

Ex-fathers

Ex-mothers

Ex-radicals

Ex-mentors

 

Cuban brothers

Whose tongues

Are paved as black

As the street under

Their feet climb

Palm trees

 

Looking out over

Mission

Street

 

And the cops

Look up at the Cuban

Brother up in that palm

Tree and say, hey

Get down from there!

 

And the Cuban

Brother looks down

And smiles

A necklace of

White

 

I ain’t goin’

Nowhere, he

Says,

 

This is my home

 

And the cop

Takes out his

Nightstick, beating

The skin of the

Tree

 

And the Cuban

Brother laughs and

The tree shakes coconut

Bombs on the cop’s head

 

And that palm

Tree shakes, bends

A permanent sway

In the Mission Street

Wind

 

It moves like

A long legged

Lady down 16th and

Towards, 17th, 18th

19th

 

The people on benches

Get up and dance,

Shaking the ground

Under their feet on

Mission Street

 

Where they

Belong

 

© 2014 Tony Robles

 

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