Friday, August 19, 2005

Corona, the crown of Queens

Up above on the El, track work on the 7 line takes place,
traffic on Roosevelt Avenue is restricted to one way
Old woman pushing supermarket groceries in a cart,
a grimmed face father holds his son's chubby hand,
two kids zig zag, riding on the congested sidewalk
with their beat up mountain bikes popping wheelies

Multicolor awnings on top of business doorways,
all day a medley of Mexican and Ecuadorean music
plays on from the record store speakers,
soccer shirts on hangers are rainbows in display

A young mother pushes her baby stroller
with the weight of her uncertain future -
she barely finished high school and the odds are
stacked that she'll never enter college

Another middle aged woman sells peeled mangos and oranges,
while the coconut man hacks away with his machete
and a customer chomps on a Dominican papaya

Corona, the crown of Queens is the land,
a platform, a trampoline of scattered dreams,
some of which never pan out and fade away
Corona, the land of the lemon ice king

Nothing goes to waste in this neighborhood,
every building and apartment space is rented,
every billboard and window display is filled,
every parking space and driveway is occupied
every horizontal surface is filled with concrete -

Even the skies are filled with brick-colored train cars
and low flying planes roaming LaGuardia airport,
except in some cracks where grass weed grows
and some flower pots move with each passing train

The gypsy cab driver with his cool dark glasses
picks up young girls going to an all night fiesta
There are no maps sold to a happy and brighter future
at the newspaper kiosk, only lottery tickets for 1 dollar