ethel’s words

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Today I walked on Denver Street
This street,
This consecrated Street--
those young men who remember
all have moved away.

The spirit of Speedy Gonzalez
looks for them,
and softly cries
their names

The spirit of Speedy Gonzalez
did not run away
when they came--the Big They--
the big “they”
that messes up our lives.

Forlorn, having no will to run
the spirit is trapped here--
here where courage, machismo,
refused to die
but Speedy died. Listen on any night
here in this now-subdued barrio.
The spirited people moved away
hating bullets
wanting to hide from cops

to a barrio where the name
is whispered by aging voices.
Perhaps written, a graffito
saying simply, “Speedy”.
It is still written here;
to see it
you have to believe it.

Ethel C. Hale