I Don’t Hear America Singing in the South Bronx
I don’t hear America singing in the South Bronx.
As the sun rises over this low and dismal place,
You can hear the stirring of a people in bondage:
A people held together by the same broken dream;
The dream of every American to live in harmony.
Each link of the long chain that binds us,
Represents our failures in achieving what is rightfully ours.
Our yells and calls for help fall on deaf ears.
Our captors’ hearts are as solid and cold
As the concrete streets of our land…the South Bronx.
False promises are what they make and we…
Being vulnerable, take them and are satisfied;
But nothing is gained.
We’re living circles of unending strife as
We strive to become all that we can possibly be.
Every once in a while a prodigy is born.
Someone who is able to break the chains
And leave behind the memory of the land
That raised him.
Let’s hope that he remembers
Of what soil he is from.
If I am among the lucky ones,
I pray to God I can help my people to be equal!
This poem was written by Gisela Rodriquez-Montalvo in 1979. Today, she is an extraordinary and exemplary teacher in the South Bronx. She earned a B.A. and M.S. from Fordham University.