Who are you, David?
I was born and raised in the Claremont Village section of The Bronx in Morrisania Houses. My interests were always creative but being raised by a single mother of two boys, art equipment wasn't always available. Pencils were accessible, so writing is how I channeled my creativity. I now love to draw, paint, and recently have found photography to be my second love after writing. My piece Broken Towers was written from frustration. The Bronx never felt like a home for me growing up, only a place to live. I took it for granted. I became part of the problem of gentrification. I was taking the best parts of The Bronx and keeping it for myself without giving anything back. It wasn't until I was tired of using clichés in my creative outlets, that I decided to pull inspiration from the world around me: The Bronx. Broken Towers isn't only a grievance against the rich. It's a warning for Bronx creatives who hone their craft professionally as an escape from The Bronx. If we don't realize the creative history of our borough, and the potential it still holds, others will. When others take our place, our stories will no longer belong to us.
By David Diaz
High gloss. Beige.
Spewed on the walls.
No trim. No accent.
Goes with all, with no taste.
Brown rice, no salt.
Look up at the face,
Beige crown molding makes.
New one, every time.
Living in stories, like those stories.
Not the same stories.
Kids raised well,
On Black leather and round dinner tables.
No "I love you” at the front door.
No "goodbye" either.
Only "be careful" and "see you later."
No carpet on elevator floors.
Only a yellow puddle guessing game.
No polite doormen,
Only a singing crackhead.
Living EBT to EBT,
Cuz another job doesn't have the time.
Bill collector want another dime
Teacher ain't paid enough to care yet you ask,
Why so much crime.
How can we stay inspired enough to inspire ourselves?
To clean the hallways and plant the fields.
To avoid the corner stock market,
And live long enough to see a whole foods?
Where do we go from our red brick homes,
When we can't afford what they make in a day?
Soon cabs will stop for us and take us home.
But what home will we have here?
How much more will it cost,
For our milk and eggs?
They fixed up the parks, but don't let us play.
They buy all our shops, but don't let us stay.
How much farther do they want us to go?
Already separated by bridges and tunnels,
Hills and laws,
Reputations and conclusions,
Red lights and city bikes,
Starbucks and food carts,
Restaurants and welfare,
MTA and town cars,
Happy smiles and worried stares,
Opportunities and expectations.
This caste system is etched in place,
Allowing enough anomalies to escape,
To keep us from revolting,
Or to fill us with just,
This is supposed to be our beginning, not your ends.
Not a new project with an open lottery.
How can we find the correct passage and patience?
With so many platinum towers in the way?
Potential in the property. No potential in the people.
"They had their chance,” but did we really?
Was it them or was it us? Whose fault?
Not enough time to answer.
Maybe that’s the point.