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To the Home-Owner’s Association This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Acapulco, Mexico

People jump off cliffs here, and trust
the ocean to catch them.

She's sitting in front of her house, staring
out into the streets so full of people
riding in the backs of trucks, walking
barefoot down the sidewalks, and it's
just so foreign to me, can't imagine
a life of windows without glass, homes
without doors, and when I sit on my
porch swing
I'm always afraid someone's watching me.

I went to dinner today to a small corner
East African, Middle Eastern
restaurant, and everyone there knew a
language I couldn't even name,
and never in my life
had I felt so white, so un-tattered
by reality
that I couldn't even fathom the life
of my neighbors, of these people who
come every summer to my pool
after playing basketball at a court
that only they use – I seldom see
kids play 'til they have no sweat left,
at least, not the ones that look like me,

but I have to turn these kids away
because they don't have a key.

Why are we so trained by doors
that we can be so sure of who to let in
and keep out anymore? The world's
so full
of gates and all I see are fences, plastic and white,
black iron stakes, and none of it
seems right.

Ever since I moved into those doors
those kids have been playing on that court, I've seen
them grow into something you wouldn't
expect, living here, I've seen them grow
into people who just want to play
themselves out of poverty
I can see your noses wrinkle
with the idea of their sweat,
but I've seen people
revel in it, walk shirtless into the streets with it,
breathe in every cool breeze and know
what it's worth –

I've seen them scream into the rain, suck the earth
into their lungs and let it out again,
they breathe
the life they're in and all I can see
you do is
swallow humanity for the sake of
cleanliness,
and who cares
about cleanliness, who cares
if they scream, and who cares
if they swear, and who cares
if they sweat onto the pavement –
it's clear just like yours, we're all full of
rain drops we need to give back to
the earth –
the summer's hot, in Mexico and in
Alton Park.

Some people can trust the ocean –
there's no fence between those cliffs and that sea,

but sitting in that pool,
sitting in the restaurant,
sitting on that tour bus
going down the streets of Acapulco

all I can feel are walls between
them
and me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm:
I love how real this poem is. It's really worth it to connect with other cultures, but there are few things that are harder to do. :) Great work.
 
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PennyM.L said...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm:
This is really,really great! It was a great read, it's really meaningful too. Good job!
 
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