Old School Germantown


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Poem about aging and my home town neighborhood

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Old School Germantown

  1. 1. Old School Germantown back in the day where the homies played congas in the small park across the street where i grew up and gangs roamed free named for neighborhoods like "Haines St." supposedly the toughest street in my lower middle class hood back in the day where the homies played great black music -- drums, saxes, whatever -- in homes, on poaches, in parks wasn't any kid on my block that didn't play some kind of instrument course i was the only kid on my block who also dug the folk music that both white dudes and now-old sons of sharecroppers shared through the radio static from Boston WBZ several steps later auditioning my tunes at some folk club clear cross the race divide some white dude say puzzled eyebrows raised "well, what clubs do YOU play?"
  2. 2. meaning this is white music, brother and who would employ you? didn't know that a young man of your complexion could do it this way he probably thought, hey what I hear is all good but the color of the singer is just, well, wrong years later from tangiers to osaka from rio to sion i learned that the music that came from my germantown, philadelphia hood was played in places hovels and palaces all over the world from Osaka to Timbuktu great black music beautiful more than anything soul, jazz, hip hop hell i don't know maybe even some classical but mostly pure and not literal embellished by experience gained in life and on streets "your people got music" my college roomie once say
  3. 3. later martina navratilova say after some tournament "I envy you blacks" you got the boogie, you got beat she tell me this back in my newspaper days back in the day crooked streets of germantown my small lower middle-class hood that way before my time settled into its own groove by the experience of quakers who fled the old world during the days that formed America way, way back in the day cool too cool for school germantown where unlike anywhere else it was OK dare I say to be black and date white as my homie once say germantown high, hey "nobody'll say nothin' if you go out with a white girl it's just not such a big deal." Years later I learn to appreciate the funky roots that gave birth to the mixed blood that flows through my afro-eurasian veins
  4. 4. years later here in my small-town hood my eleven-year old son wears cornrows and hears hip hop music not so different, really from the sounds of the streets I walked through way back in the day such a rich feeling now to grow old and still weave absolutely new school textures and forms though informed by twists and turns of memory some few lessons learned way back in the day. – Angelo John Lewis 4/04 Lambertville, NJ