Lemon Andersen

Noose York

Noose York Noose York

Read Lemon Andersen's Noose York and share your own poetry in our comments section. 

Apr 26, 2013 / Lemon Andersen

Noose York Noose York

Listen to Lemon Andersen read "Noose York" AudioPlayer.setup("http://www.thenation.com/sites/thenation.com/modules/contrib/mp3player/mp3player/player.swf", {width:610,animation: "no",remaining: "yes",noinfo: "yes",transparentpagebg: "yes"}); It looks like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now. AudioPlayer.embed("mp3player_1", {soundFile: "http://s3.amazonaws.com/thenation/audio/mp3/AudioNation/2013_04_11_Lemon_Andersen_Export_Computer.mp3"});   Waiting for a Crown Victoria on the corner of Central & Putnam in the Bushwick section of Old Medina Waiting here on the corner for a Crown Victoria which finally shows up after running past a traffic light without the thought of a fast child crossing the street chasing her mother’s milk grocery list in hand. Pulling up to a hard stop heavy-footed brake The car doors unlock in a dominos spill. The driver jumps out points his finger and barks, “What are you doing here, got any drugs on you buddy?” This is not the cab I was waiting for, not the Spanglish taxi man who always tells me on my way to JFK I could get more bang for my dollar Americano if I spend my money in DR. “Static, static” His partner who jumps out of the passenger side with a walkie-talkie chirping is shaped like a radio DJ Too many crack-of-dawn diners in his blood He grips his pistol and also barks, “Hey big guy, where were you coming from?” The kids up the block take their eyes off the moon and I am center stage under that same moon, luminous against the storefront dry cleaner, shoved toward the cold glass by the hype man behind the badge face pressed tough against the cold glass, needle-and-thread neon sign rat-a-tat-tatting. I stare at the Selena-shaped tailor sewing inside. Wanting to speak, even if I stutter, I still have to utter the words to these officers for those kids who were staring at the moon, for their older brothers, their uncles dragging their backaches back from a prideful hard day’s labor. Wanting to speak for them with valor capture for these blue bloods the beautiful confidence snatched every day on this corner I pull out the heart to say, “Yes sir, no…” An empty can crooning, “No sir, yes…” The rhythmless words cut off by the rattlesnakes these nerves cut short by the quotas because history on this corner has proven that collars have to be made by the end of the month and these backward numbers have nothing in common with real suspects real crimes Like outta-town gun laws and Walmart shoppers. I go over the speech in my head “What are you going to arrest me for, officers?” Shit, that’s easy. “Do I look suspicious by the trends I wear for standing on the corner waiting for a cab? On the corner of a street you don’t own…” Damn, too liberal. “Sir, why do these men only get stopped for being black, for owning their brown skin?” That is it! That’s the stinger. But just then the radio DJ checks my chin and my pockets while his partner kicks my legs wide and to the side, and I finally yell out, “Do you even know who Israel Putnam was?!” Intermission… Do you know this corner was named after an American revolutionary who killed the last remaining wolf of Connecticut in a town called Brooklyn? You wouldn’t know that, hype man, cause you did not go to school to research the beat of your streets to uphold the law That’s right, this same corner where your guns make me feel like breathing air is a felony waiting to happen. Is it because of the way we look? How does this deep hooded sweater I wear over my head come with a license for you to kill when I wear it to block out the frozen world while the projects are overheated. Maybe it’s my sneakers I bought them for running, but if I run we all know what happens next. It can’t be the color of my skin when you both look like distant cousins If you go back far enough, aren’t we all… Then again maybe not, cause in my family we were raised not to point at people especially at officers cause they don’t point back with their fingers. You want to stop and frisk someone, stop and frisk the mayor cause his pockets are low and his money is high and the teachers are as broke as a joke. You will get more out of his spare change than what you can get out of these rabbit ears right now. You want to arrest somebody go arrest that new neighbor across the street, the one right there double-timing it with the checkers-game flannel shirt that could be mistaken for gang colors on me. Arrest him for not helping the doña next door with her bags of empanada ingredients up the stairs cause he is too busy constructing, plotting a blueprint plan to open up a Vietnamese restaurant run by Mexicans, when Doña Margo been dodging hollow tips right here, on the corner of Central & Putnam right here, when your precinct wouldn’t even drive down this block thirty years ago. You want to arrest me, arrest me for being honest cause I was lying before. The words never came out, never blossomed…. Never. Too scared of this new city pushing me out Too many front-page posts warning me it will be my word against yours The truth is that you know like I know that a law like stop-and-frisk is built to send more Puerto Ricans to Orlando Blacks to Camden and the Dominicans to Amish country, Pennsylvania But they will be back when it’s over. Cause they gotta go home We all gotta go home. Read all of the articles in The Nation's special issue on New York City.

Apr 17, 2013 / Feature / Lemon Andersen