Tasting South Central

And when it was time to leave you, silver chain and all, I wanted to turn back

By Sofia Teodoro
Published on LatinoLA: November 16, 2006

Tasting South Central

I want to mistaken the helicopter's search light above us for a shooting star.

LAPD strolls by instead, flashing lights at 2am, asking if I'm okay. I nod as they cautiously drive away.

I escaped the monotomy of my block to find refuge in yours.

At a distance, a cry of a colic baby, the howls of a chained street dog, an indigent pushing a squeaking shopping cart, some weird never-ending beep beep beep noise. These sounds that remind me I'm not home. These sounds that make up you.

You bring out the smart mouth in me, sassy enough to make you laugh but not sweet enough to kiss me. Must be the hood in you that makes you act like that.

Guarded against crimes of passion I had no pleasure of being an accomplice of.

The distance between us has become noticeably awkward, even to the cops that continue making rounds.

Look at you, diamond-in-the-rough type of fellow getting harassed and teased because you haven't made your move. But when that kiss finally happened, the crackheads creeping behind us couldn't even take my mind off you.

Kissing you was like tasting South Central before it became South LA: a rough yet pleasant dose of reality and contradiction given all at once. Your lips tasted like 2pac in '95 and el Narquillo before the gut, broke down cars with bumping systems, faulty street lamps and shattered dreams, silver chains and white tee shirts, illegal rooster fights, spanglish words, Tacos el Gavilan, the ghetto bird, all you.

And when it was time to leave you, silver chain and all, I wanted to turn back. The same way I did when I first left Watts and East LA.

But I didn't, as tempting and as hard as it was. Driving in the opposite direction of the ghetto, white moon fading behind me with the rising sun as my front.

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