You remember, that was the summer of Up Rock, quarter water,
         speed knots, pillow bags, two-for-five, Jesus pieces, and
         Bambú. The Willie Bobo was turned up to ten, and some
         would’ve said that a science was dropped on our summer.

The summer that was lit with whispers of wild style, Rock
        Steady battles & white party plates made all kinds of
        moons on the playground foam.

The summer the Burner was used to eat & mandate, inspired
       Sunday sermons, became a literary influence with humming
       climaxes, a bribable tale, a dub tied to a string &
       squashing beef wasn’t an option.

The summer of fresh shrills, and a future somersaulting off a
       monkey bar; a future placing bets that all us old heads,
       desperate to find a new cool, could not flip pure.

That was the summer that our grills dropped to below freezing.

Back then, Palo Viejo was thermal & therapy, bones were
       smoked in the cut, and you had to expect jungle gym giggle
       to be accompanied by buckshot.

That was the summer Charlie Chase hijacked megawatts from
       Rosa’s kitchenette, found gems in a milk crate, spun his one
       & twos below rims that still vibrated with undocumented

The same summer we became pundits & philosophers, poets
       & pushers; that we all tried to fly, but only one of us

The summer that Papu turned up to extra status. The only one in
       the crew who had reduced fame’s window by a fifth when
       the camera panned his Cazal-laced Up Rock in the Roxy
       scene of Beat Street.

One could say we gave the Block gasp & gossip, body & bag,
       a folktale worth its morphology.

That was the season we had reason to rock capes & wings,
       chains & rings, some of us flew Higher than most, and
       tricks were hardly ever pulled from a hat; all that, & a bag
       of BBQ Bon Tons was enough for at least one of us to say,

I’m straight.

From The Crazy Bunch  by Willie Perdomo. Copyright © 2019 by Willie Perdomo. Published by arrangement with Penguin Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.