The South Bronx

The name once sent shivers
Up my spine
A place I wouldn’t be caught dead in
I once said
My sister and I went there once
With Sr Ruth Rosenbaum,
A Jewish nun! A convert
Who in turn helped many others
Running a home for youth.
I liked it there
Playing cards with Miguel
Who liked to play WAR.
But who was really escaping from the war
Outside the haven of Ruth’s home.

It’s changed now
Not a yuppie haven
Of co-op apartments
And trendy eateries.
Like Harlem.
The Bronx always has retained some
Of it’s toughness
It’s vitality
That raw New York grittiness,
Not a dangerous way
As it once was
When I played war with Miguel
Who escaped wars that would make any child shudder.
But in a way that unites us
Powerfully so
Like a tough mother
Who will fight for her children.
Like a Bronx cop
who won’t take no shit
From nobody.
Like the ferocious tigers and the apes
At the best zoo in the world.
And Reggie’s swagger
And Jeter’s tenacity
And Mariano Rivera’s walk in from the bullpen
In a deafening Yankee Stadium
Which should always and forever be in the South Bronx,
even if just on the edge of it.

Brooklyn is a bit too sweet
Staten Island is too sedate
Queens is nice, but almost suburban
And Manhattan…
Don’t even get me started.
Disney changed that place into a playground.
For tourists.

Give me the Bronx
Any day of the week
And we’ll always win
In 7 games or less.


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