Alberto Cappas

Letter For Iris

It was long ago yesterday.
The oldies, the gangs, the wine,
Trying to find definitions to everything,
Everyone refusing to speak Spanish,
Stupid heavy accents,
Keeping our welfare secrets to ourselves.
You didn’t reveal anything until years later.
It was long ago yesterday,
The oldies, the gangs, the wine,
Going to sets during school hours,
And drinking that terrible wine that you disliked so much.
And the Ricans and Dominicans from downtown,
Rapping to you behind my back.
The Latin Knights against the Young Lovers,
The Sinners against the Viceroys,
The Dragons against the Assassins,
Jitterbugging into oblivion.
Willie, a junkie on Columbus Avenue,
Eddie, a homo on 72nd Street,
Carlos, a revolutionary at Attica,
Sara, a community leader in Washington Heights,
Jose, a capitalist on Wall Street,
Mimi, a housewife in Puerto Rico,
Carmen, a puta in the South Bronx,
And Miguel,
Demonstrating in front of the United Nations
With fifty buttons on his jacket.
It was long ago yesterday,
The oldies, the gangs, the wine,
Remembering those wonderful nightmares.
The playground, the backyard, the roof,
The fire hydrant, the basement,
And those silent trips to the park where we called
For the plans that never came.
I leave you know,
The oldies, the gangs, the wine,
Hoping you found your definitions without regrets.
I only discovered new ignorance and stupidity
By many that refuse to open a new path
To our growth and development.
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