Bronx Poetry Project student Alondra Uribe competed in the Urban Word Slam Preliminaries on Monday, March 12th at The Point. She advanced to the semi-finals, with hopes of making it to the Apollo to compete for a spot on the Urban Word Slam Team. Below is her winning poem, titled "An Ode to the Bronx":
Praise this morning
how my feet hit the ground with a sense of purpose
how the wind hugged me
kissed me on the cheek like abuela
ran its fingers through my hair
and told me to stay forever
and how I have to stop myself before spewing out harsh words of hate
towards everything I've ever know
every house I've made into home.
I can't control it
can't cool it down like 75 cent coffee
can't slow down BX41 bus stops.
I don't hate The Bronx,
I hate that I can't win dance battles against showtime performers on the D train
I hate that people put your name,
and my childhood
and my mother's sacrifice at the back of their mind
like somehow they can make us go away,
like somehow they can bury my mother and brother without singing their song.
Say The Bronx with respect,
something the black boys on my block died for.
Say it like how you say Manhattan is the heart of the city
like there aren't more parts to a body.
Say it like how you say I talk white
and I don't look like I'm from the Bronx.
Praise my upstairs neighbors
how their chants and loud roars rise the sun in the sky
commanding its sunlight to shine another day.
How I join them with my broom stick
pounding to the beat of my own drum..
Praise my deformed family tree,
how I can call the bodega owner my brother
the old lady on the 6th floor grandma
8am classmates my kin
and the lunch guy Uncle Jimmy.
Praise our song,
our way of crafting wicked curses
the path we carve in solid cement.
How we make gardens bloom in broken buildings.
Praise our eternity and ways of taking history into our own hands,
how brown girls from The Bronx aren't supposed to write poetry but I did it anyways.