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"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train.
Mind the closing doors."

by Lanny Smith
New York, New York

Teeming new toward school in waves and rivulets
between autos, their skin of summer-burn to
hue mahogany, shirt-tail-tattoos covered now and
renew-proud-parents appearing tug or tow, they swim,
syllables finding Creole or Span-Quisquella, Bengali, lilt
Jamaican, Puerto-rich-mix as Senegalese to French to
Good South North Carolina Georgia dream-speak,
Arabic, Albanian and Mexi-sung Castillano.

"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train. Mind the closing doors."

Yes, in beauty toward school, goal feed-our-minds, this is your brain-on-eggs, but then
to what? Future these growing, born or brought, Americans
to what? Parents struggling, with heart-break-love like any-parents-anywhere,
to what? Left-behind logic, as if our Armageddon were not
so current as to bespeak the (very old but) daily news.

"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train. Mind the closing doors."

One full moon later (within a year eclipsed by mock election)
All Hallow's Eve brings door to door the goblins feared
by republic-coulds: black bats, white ghosts, precocious-sequined
verdant ballerinas, dressed beyond the dead, Woodlawn's Duke El Jazz awaiting.
Who of them will "make it outta here"? One, said the rap-man,
one in a thou-sand. One coke-cane, two-for-jail, 3 to HIV and four #1% that’s murder.
Hell to be a kid in the 'hood, some mothers, aye no, lost five or six or seven
already to the blight as every-child a Chestnut tree recalls, their baby.

"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train. Mind the closing doors."

But that’s just 'rithmatic to Bush-pals, fodder for a boot-strap-up
"all volunteer"-called US Army, reason enough to leave the UN Child
Rights Declaration (Somalia is with U.S.!) co-unsigned, unless
one also needs the Right electric-chair for adolescent kids as if adults in Homeland Texas
(or "torture-light" them evil boy-teens in Naval Base Guantanamo--share our "child-protection" mercenary "the man" venture-capital "smoke-em out" logic -- with the world).

"This is a Bronx-bound number four train. Mind the closing doors."

Do understand, don't underestimate, the resilience, posada at Christmas, Eid-al-fir,
Kwanza, Chanukah, Diwali, there's lights and camera and action and no
you won't find a more beautiful people, UNICEF-cum-MacDonalds,
globe-anywhere because they’ve all sent child ambassadors
here to seek autonomy, economy and peace.

"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train. Mind the closing doors."

We’re two thousand four and counting, pretending terrorism magically
appears without our system (never no never a repercussion to imperial-stick-design),
and fantasizing children left to rot or become goat-got-drunk and glue-sniff-simple
will not, sooner or sooner, to terror with terror respond or,
maybe it’s in anticipating that likelihood precisely that we build jails privatized
to house a madness we pretend isn't opportunity-less-response normal,
harness neo-slave-labor to capital-gains effect,
(bad news if instead these kids got an effective education!),
a matter of -- active neglect.
Who else would Humvee Iraq-oil-battles to grease
the black-gold-lined pockets of the U.S. Cabinet,
each of whom has been employed by Big Petroleum and his halitosis-relations?

"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train. Mind the closing doors."

Malcolm-the-prophet said chickens-come-home roosting, choose bullet or ballot, yes "when night falls it’s even-steven," within his Spartan lived-life of love;
Martin, dreaming mountain-top, drum-major-E-quality, justice-charisma incarnate, got grace-land murdered with a trash-land weapon in his "Viet Nam is civil rights too" peace epiphany.
Ah, but when we will have audacity to act ourselves like children. . . .?
Like children matter, in any land, free, walled, bombed, or so un-curtained, in our time?
Listen can we to the raucous chatter, pleasure-outrageous-screaming-laughter, at recess
in any elementary school, Dear Watson, and make that play-joy manifest in opportunity!

"This is a Bronx-bound Number Four Train. Sister. Brother. Mind the closing doors."

About the poet:

Lanny Smith, MD, MPH, DTM&H, Liberation Medicine Counsel & President's Council of Honor Member, is the founding president of Doctors for Global Health and Associate Professor of Medicine in the Residency Programs of Primary Care and Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At Montefiore he is Assistant Director of the Human Rights Clinic for Victims of Torture and a practicing community health physician in the South Bronx.

Published in In Motion Magazine October 16, 2010

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