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I am an illegal immigrant...

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decatur avenue, bronx, ny

I am an illegal immigrant looking for Decatur Avenue in the NW Bronx on May 1st, 1980
Then I'm out the door and I'm on my way
Down a pot-holed street that was a virgin one day
Before it got knocked up and renamed urban decay
The smell overwhelming
Piss and poverty out of control
Kids old as Methusaleh
Checking you
Messing with you
Cursing you
Blessing you
'Hey, mire, what the white boy want
He whorin' or he scorin'?
Yoh, my man, over here
I got what you want
Got what you lookin' for.
'The Bronx in all its elegance
Paranoia palpable
Don't look left, look out on the right
Keep your head down
And whatever you do, keep moving.
But I could handle it
I could handle anything now
With that shot of Bushmills coursing through my veins
I was the man
I was walkin' with God.

-Larry Kirwin

Credits: For the 2006 People's Poetry Gathering, City Lore and the Bowery Poetry Club invited New Yorkers to take on the personas of their favorite New York City places. The following is one of the results...