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Posts Tagged ‘Edwin Torres’

Poet Edwin Torres Reading at Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival at the New York Aquarium. Photo © Edward Hansen

Poet Edwin Torres Reading at Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival at the New York Aquarium. Photo © Edward Hansen

If you’re looking for something to read on this rainy, “as summer into autumn slips” kind of day, ATZ recommends this poem by Edwin Torres. The autobiographical “Coney Island 1969” was written especially for Parachute: The Coney Island Performance Festival. Torres debuted the poem on September 12, the first night of Coney’s Island’s first annual performance festival. The Alien Stingers exhibit at the New York Aquarium proved to be an inspired setting for the event as the parachute-like jellyfish danced in the water behind the human performers. Now if you’re looking for somewhere to go on a rainy day, ATZ recommends the Alien Stingers at the Aquarium, which is open year round. The adult jellyfish is called the “medusa.” How poetic is that?

CONEY ISLAND 1969       

My father was the manager of Nathan's Hot Dogs on Coney Island
A memory inside a beach ball
My cousin reaching below the surface
Water in my lungs
Gagging
Blue sky
Technicolor white
Where skin should be

        My father watched me walk the cracks
	From our bedroom window
	In the Bronx
	Asking me
	What I thought I was doing
	How a line is straight when you walk it
	How a man knows exactly where to go

My father took us to Nathan's at Christmas
Company party
Santa
A thousand presents for each and every child
The boardwalk was cold
The rides empty
Coney Island winter
You had to warm your fingers
By hiding them from the ocean

	My father gave us hot dogs and fries
	Between his affairs
	He gave me animals
	To show his love
	I had a beagle, a turtle, 3 guinea pigs and 2 java rice birds
	I loved them
	So I loved my father

My father took me and my two sisters to the Statue of Liberty
He told me it was made of Limburger Cheese
I loved him
He never hit me
He never hugged me
I had to walk straight
That's what he told me

	When I visit my father
	At St. Raymond's Cemetary
	I find his gravestone
	I have a son I tell him
	Winter is our time
	When he left
	When all those presents at Nathan's were opened
	All those families

My father towered over me
Laughing in his eyes
You're my little man he'd say
From up there
The bumper cars
The mirrors
All those reflections

	a location's intuition
	will be to remain
	long enough to be found

	in a relationship with scale
	the chance to leave
	will follow its pull

	calling to catch
	what will does
	to weight

My father was never Coney Island to me
He never knocked on the door
That morning in the Bronx
My mother didn't open
No cops told her nothing
She didn't hide her face in her hands
No silent tears
	cover her mouth when she snore
No floor I play my indians on

	No roller coaster tell me no turn
	No question come from long legs
	No mean kids
	No skinny mirror
	My father had yoga thumbs
	Look what I can do I'd say
	Leaning out just far enough
	To make you catch me

        -Edwin Torres ©2009
Jellyfish in the Alien Stingers Exhibit at New York Aquarium, Coney Island. Photo © Charles Denson

Jellyfish in the Alien Stingers Exhibit at New York Aquarium, Coney Island. Photo © Charles Denson

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