Whittier Boulevard

Lucinda Crespin

She sits on the curb of Whittier Boulevard and Atlantic
It could be any street corner in any neighborhood
She watches the lowriders as they pass at 5 miles per hour
Here come the show cars with their fancy paint jobs
The Sons of Soul, Orpheus and the Latin Lords
They stop in the center of the Boulevard
One car club at a time, they begin to make their cars dance
To the rhythm of oldies, disco, cumbias or mariachi music
I wonder what they will be blasting today
Hydraulics bounce the cars up and down, to the left and right
Bam! Synchronized they drop their cars to the ground.
I hear it before I see it, they sling profanity like rocks
The peace, the show, the fun is slipping away into the darkness
I watch as a dozen young men and girls quickly get out of their cars
Crowbars, bats, and bottles flying through the air
The beauty of the Capri is distorted
The flames a patchwork of color with no form
Windshield glass flying through the air
3 young Chicanos are beating the disco king
He tries to shield his face and tries to roll away
There is nowhere to run he is caught between
Their kicks and the tires of the bleeding Capri
A loud thump of iron and wood as it hits a target
It resonates like the bass of a stereo through the air
A Chicano falls to the ground, his head is bleeding
He rolls on the concrete holding his head
His face hidden beneath the crimson
“Beto! Beto! Are you alright?” He kneels by Beto’s side
Tears in his eyes he says, “Come on ese, get up, you can do it bro”
Beto’s hands relax as he takes his last breath, his brother kneeling at his side
A flood of tears trickles down the crimson and red tears hit the ground
El Chicano stands up with a determined look on his face
He goes to his car, looks at windows broken, bashed with a bat
he reaches past the sliced leather into the glove compartment
he pulls out a gun and looks around, blood, glass, crowbars
He finds his target, “Hey Orpheus,” he yells to the guy with the bat
As the batboy turns, the shot rings out and the bullets fly
His brother’s killer falls to the ground and the crowd runs
East, West, North, and South
away from the bullets that continue to fly
The sirens are blasting and drawing near
The flashing lights are getting brighter
The shooter falls on one knee, tears streaming down his face
“I have to go Beto, I’ll see you soon Bro”
He looks back at his brother one last time
he runs into the dark of night
A flood of memories fills her mind, she remembers
Her brother was shot and killed on Breed and First Street
She whispers a prayer to God as she runs towards home
Away from the memories that make her bleed
Away from the violence and senseless death
Away from the boulevard, this city, this life.

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