What must it sound like,
The idiom of our tongue,
If you have come from other shores:
Listening to tapes
In classrooms below ground,
Beads of dampness on cold cinderblock,
Trying to apprehend small meanings
Run in, run over, run down;
Dress down, dress out, dress up.
Would it be the same
For someone to come on to you,
Or come out?
The streets we are speaking of
Lie within a zip code precious
To the meal-time callers who offer
Investment breakfasts, or days at
Gated golf clubs by the sea.
Down these arbored streets
Barrel young women in SUVís,
Cell phones in hand.
They may slow down for young men working.
On these streets houses have been torn down,
And pick-up trucks arrive each morning:
Turrets rise, formal gardens are installed,
Lawns sprayed dead, to be overlaid
With new rolls of turf.
On the door of a portable toilet a radio hangs;
Songs in Spanish issue.
The listeners are far from home, and
The maidsí bus doesnít run anymore.