Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lexington Park’s Last Stand: The Battle between Somerville and Charlestown By Jasen Sousa

Lexington Park’s Last Stand:
The Battle between Somerville and Charlestown


The summer heat
was at an all time high,
the night was calm, the air
was dry. The scene was the same
as any other night, Lexington Park
illuminated by one single street light.
Kids were playing basketball
while others hung out
on the long legendary concrete wall.
Boys trying to mack
pushed girls on the tire swing,
some smoked weed, drank beers
and did other illegal things.
Rumors swirled for weeks
that these Charlestown cats
were coming to our spot in Somerville
strapped with gats.
Lexington Park’s fame
had been put on the map,
so much in fact, that people we didn’t know
from another city were plotting an attack.
We sat, we laughed, we waited,
some of us sober, some of us faded.
This was the night it finally escaladed.
Cars sped down the avenue,
music thumping, kids yelling profanity.
The night Lexington Park
erupted with insanity.

We thought
they were scared to stop,
complete silence,
just as everyone shrugged it off,

out of nowhere, the violence.
They abandoned their cars around the block
and rushed us from all sides,
Lexington Park was the battleground
where Somerville and Charlestown would collide.

They didn’t bring guns, but they brought
plenty of bats and hockey sticks.
The last thing I seen before I got hit,
hanging from a telephone wire,
a white pair of kicks.
We heard sirens
and all of us ran,
I must have landed a punch
as I looked at my swollen hand.
A few of us took cover
on a stranger’s back steps,
licking our wounds
and catching our breath.
Hearts beating out of our chests,
looking at each other wide-eyed,
happy we escaped death.
Hours later everything settled down,
we went back to the park
and thought about the possibility of revenge
in city dark.

Truth is,
we never found out who they were,
kids from Charlestown
who attacked in a blur.
Because of the commotion
the city thought it was time to rebuild


and tear down the park where many of us
learned our life skills.
A place you could go
when everything else in your life
was wrong, a place where
you always felt like you belonged.

A week later Lexington Park
was demolished. Some of us went on to jail,
Heaven, work and college.
The same sneakers still hang
from their laces under a Somerville sky.
Lexington Park’s last stand,
a moment in our neighborhood’s history
that will never die.



Taken From
Selected Poems of Jasen Sousa
17-24
©


*(Previously Unreleased)

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