An Ode to the Bronx, By Alondra Uribe

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

how it

ran its fingers through my hair

and told me to stay forever

praise me

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.