Blog: Literanista
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Born Anew At Each A.M.

The street’s got kicks man,
like a bargain shelf,
In fact, cool-breeze, it’s got
love just like anyplace else.

It’s got high-powered salesmen
who push mucho junk,
And hustlers who can swallow
you up in a chunk.

It’s got sewers that swallow
all the street pours down its throat
It’s got hope wearing
an old over-coat.

It’s got lights that shine up
the dark and make the scene like new
It sells what you don’t need
And never lets you forget what you blew.

It’s got our beautiful children
living in all kinds of hell
hoping to survive and making it well
Swinging together in misty darkness
With much love to share
Smiling a Christ-like forgiveness,
That only a ghetto cross can bear.

The streets got life, man,
like a young tender sun,
and gentleness like
long awaited dreams to come.

For children are roses with nary a thorn,
forced to feel the racist’s scorn,
Our children are beauty
with the right to be born.

Born anew at each a.m.
Like a child out of twilight,
flying toward sunlight,
Born anew at each a.m.

Writer and poet Piri Thomas died this week at his home in El Cerrito, California, at the age of 83. As a young man, he robbed people on the streets of New York, used and sold drugs and served seven years in prison. After he got out, he wrote a memoir called “Down These Mean Streets,” first published in 1967. It described growing up in what was then called Spanish Harlem in vivid, angry language that continues to be taught in universities today. 

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