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Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez


of a butterfly in el barrio or a stranger in paradise

Home; a place to rest your feet, a place where you can sleep.   Man, a place where you can shit, and no one can complain.

My Home /        el barrio where people rest their feet outside on the fire escapes, where i have a place to sleep with my brothers, sisters, cousins oh yes, and Rover all in the same bed.       / where no can smell shit        ’cause we’ve been living in it        all our lives   (we’re immune to its stink)

  My home; where on hot summer days people gather on the grandstands /        the fire escapes and in the box seats/      the stoops and cheer our home gang’s stickball team (they call themselves “the new york junkies”).

and on those cool summer evenings we hang our legs from the windows /

the roofs /        the fire escapes while eating pop corn and sippin coke / or snorting it / shooting it and watch the Saturday evening gang-fights.

     yes, this is home /        our paradises and you’re always welcomed as long as you’re poor.

and it was here            / in my home that a butterfly happened to wing by he was easily spotted as a UFO because of all his beautiful colors

     he flew over the buildings /      through the lots /      around home plate a    sewer top      in the middle of the street

he flew in his dance about manner.

and i almost cried when i saw children reaching reaching out for him     reaching for hope for love / for that lost dream

and he continued dancing /     or maybe flying away away to save his beauty from these love-hungry children

he flew             he flew and i cried when he fell down the sewer /        now he was part of us.



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