The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

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MAY 2020 Issue

True Account of Talking to the 7 in Sunnyside

   - Right to Liquor Sign
   past Super Laundromat & European
   which is closed. FOR RENT. Inquiries
   five one six two four eight oh
   there is Golden Wok, then

 - What are you doing?

    - Oh. This.
   Bodega. Closed.

 - Awww.

    - It’s now
   Inquiries Call

 - We can’t go to it again?

    - No more

 - Awww!

     - Used to be Korean
   -owned & now it’s just
   on the corner of
        forty second

 - Why it’s getting closed?

    - Because
   it’s getting
   closed. Because richer people
   have been moving here
   & raising

 - What does that mean?

    - It’s called gentrification

 - Awww….

    - They make it hard
   for us to continue to live
   in this neighborhood

 - Well what is gentremecation?

    - When people who make
   a greater amount of
      move into your
   neighborhood &
   they threaten to push out
   families who look just like

 - That’s so sad!
Who will eat our food?
It’s so tasty!


    - Keep walking west
   till you hit forty first street
      & see
            PS 150
   which, thankfully, we’ll avoid
            this fall

 - Why we will avoid it?

    - Because the principal is terrible
   & when principals are
      Teachers leave
   & we are always going to support

 - Why Baba?

    - Because Teachers are the ones
   who keep our cities

 - What is intact?

    - Holding fast.
   Teachers keep kids out of trouble,
   they guide you to be a better person
   actually yr first teachers are always
.   going to be Mama & Baba
   the others
   Ah Mah Ah Gung Coco & Coca

 - I love Coca! Baba
we didn’t go to temple for a long
long time!

    - I know. We will
   next weekend. After
   we attend Tita Emmy’s
   panel at PS1 MoMA,
   Little steps big steps tiny steps

 - Why oh why the um principal
is terrible?

    - Ah because the principal
   doesn’t care about
        her teachers
   she wants always to blame
        her teachers
   for every problem at
        her school
   precisely what most


 - Baba how many how many days
is Earth going to be alive?

    - That is a good question
   How Many Days Is Earth Going to Be Alive
   I can tell you we’ve arrived on Queens Boulevard
   & the forty first street bus stop of the Q32 & 60

 - Baba Baba
the only thing under Earth
that would be alive

    - Ohh THIS place
   closed too?

 - And no firecracker
and no shooting

    - Used to be a spa
   meanwhile itong Baruir’s Coffee
     e nahati siya
   Virage’s Mart Convenience Store
   where yr Coca Marvie wd hoard
   phone cards to call Manila
   & Sunnyside Florist NY For All
   Designs & Occasions⎼⎼hangaang
   kelan lang kaya para sa kanila?
   Hetong Coffee Shop sa kanto
    once run by four brothers from Puebla
   now a bistro called SOLE LUNA

 - Also what, Baba?

    - Sole Luna, mahal ko.
   Nasa Lowery station na tayo
   para kunin yung 7


 - Baba, Baba! Um the time
when we get home can you please
look up how many days is the Earth
gonna survive

    - Cge, mahal ko
   but only if you step
   away from here
   then say

 - Hello, 7 train!


Paolo Javier

The former Queens Borough Poet Laureate (2010–14), Paolo Javier was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Piñas, Metro Manila; Katonah, Westchester County; El-Ma’adi, Cairo; Burnaby and North Delta, Metro Vancouver. He’s produced three albums of sound poetry with Listening Center (David Mason), including the limited edition pamphlet/cassette Ur’lyeh/ Aklopolis and the booklet/cassette Maybe the Sweet Honey Pours. The recipient of a 2021 Rauschenberg Foundation Artist Grant, Paolo Javier was a featured artist in Greater NY 2015 and Queens International 2018: Volumes. His fifth full-length book of poetry, O.B.B., a (weird postcolonial techno dream-pop) comics poem that also includes illustrations by Alex Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion, has just been published by Nightboat Books. He lives with his family in Queens.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

All Issues