Bushwick-born poet, Emanuel Xavier, who has curated this monthly feature exclusively for Bushwick Daily, featuring poems by local Bushwick residents and/or natives, will be saying goodbye to his hometown neighborhood.
He moved back to Bushwick in 2001 after 9/11 to be closer to his family and helped the neighborhood change as one of the first pioneer artists who romanticized the neighborhood even as far back as his poem, “Bushwick Bohemia,” first published in 1997 from his poetry collection “Pier Queen.”
Recently married, Emanuel will be moving with his husband Brian and cat Alexis into a new home. This will be our final Bushwick Bohemia Beat Poetry feature. Please enjoy this bittersweet swan song from one of our Bushwick legends.
Yes, worry. Your time has come and gone.
There was a time you were beautiful.
You’ve become the father you never met.
Like how Christians assume they know Jesus
though he looks nothing like they imagine.
You are not going to be remembered.
The best thing you ever did was keep a cat
alive for over sixteen years.
All you have is that rent-stabilized apartment
with the cracked paint and broken windows.
You’ll get over it. No one ever expected this
much from you anyway. You should’ve died
a long time ago. You’re lucky. There’s a man
who loves you in spite of your age and failure.
& you can still have a future, as the winter
season approaches, with someone who will
keep you warm at night and fill you up inside.
Your body may not be what it used to but
it can continue to provide pleasure.
You reinvented yourself many times before
& your mouth yet has stories to share.
Let go of the past, the revolution has fresh
faces at the forefront. Move on. Your words
can no longer signal change. & opening doors
does not mean you get to stay in the room. It
gets crowded very quickly. You become invisible
like the dead poets before you. Finish your drink
and grab an hors d’oeuvre before you go. Perhaps
outside it is cold & blistery but, you’ll see, that thick
skin will come in quite handy.
All images courtesy of author.
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