Poem

The Call for Never More
by Ira Merritt

They made the call
And we heeded its message.
Out of hiding,
Wedged in the hedges
And Hickory,
We galloped out
Of Van Cortlandt;
Passing Riverdale, Kingsbridge
And Spuyten Duyvil.
Winding down hills
Past olde Columbia U,
Then boarded the Number One
To the border,
Resisting the river,
Crossing at the Marble Hill.
With Manhattan encroaching;
We needed to find our way,
 
But not underground.
Awakened from complacence,
Caught contemplating
Its fine and private place,
Below the Yonkers line.
We worked our way
Out of Woodlawn,
South of the cemetery;
Above the bodegas
And auto shops.
Snaking through Jerome
Past Lehman’s tomes,
Where the U.N. was first seated.
Past Bedford, Burnside,
And Mt. Eden.
 
The news spread beyond the grave,
Through the sleepy Norwood enclave;
“Little Belfast” of lore,
Sympatico to
The I.R.A. - no more.
Interrupting our stroll
Wallowing round the Oval,
Where once the Jeromes’
Rounded their track.
We slipped underground,
Sailing under the Grand Concourse;
Past Fordham, Tremont,
And Yankee Stadium.
 
The call was not mist,
In the marshes
Of Pelham,Throgs Neck,
And out to the ends
Of a City Island deck.
We rode to the platform
For the long local journey
In the east, engaging
Zerega, Castle Hill,
And Parkchester in the north.
 
Rambling through the south,
And out of the ashes,
From which President
Jimmy Carter once stood.
Leaping up from
Longwood and Cyprus
Then Strolling down Brook Ave
To what we now call So Bro.
 
The far north was not forsaken
And we enlisted in
Wakefield and Eastchester;
Riding heavy through Gun Hill,
Disarming at
Allerton and Morris Park.
Watching from our high seat,
Zoologists tending
Their flocks at West Farms.
Meeting up with those from the south
Freeman, Simpson,
And Intervale Avenues.
 
From all over the borough
We tumbled into Mott Haven
Or is it Melrose?
Which was once Morrisania.
Entering through the glass door
On the corner of Courtlandt,
And One Hundred Fifty First.
It opened its arms
And stretched its reach
To this mixed medley;
Waiting our arrival
At the home of the Bronx
Documentary Center.
 
Our tools we left home;
No brushes, chisels,
Sewing machines or palettes.
No canvasses, sculptures
Murals or Quilts to log.
For our images captured
By local photographers,
Grabbing them all:
Segments of our soul
Laid bare for all to see.
 
The conversations mixed
Nasal Bronx accents
With those born south
Of the mainland.
It’s always a trek
Uptown for those
Bred in Manhattan, Brooklyn,
Queens and Staten Island.
But their journey less far,
Than those of our
Brothers and sisters
Below the southern border;
From Mexico, Puerto Rico,
The Dominican
Republic and much more.
Rapt in discourse
With the European corps:
Welsh, French, Italian,
Serbian and Russian.
Taunting the Southern twang,
The gunslinger,
Mid-Western gang.
A dabble from the Pacific Pines,
And Canadian climes;
Listening to the lips
Delivered from Africa
And the Far East.
 
Nomads congregating
With long time residents;
We’re as young as ninety-three
And as old as twenty-five.
We are Christians, Jews,
Muslims, and Hindu,
Animists, agnostics,
Believers in Voodoo.
We all found our calling here -
And now we are called upon
To let the world know
Who we are.
 
Into the cameras
Of our own film-makers.
We are noteworthy,
With quality
And imagination.
Beyond the walls of Chelsea,
Where we have been blacklisted:
The Bastard Borough/
To them we say:
Never More, Never More...