Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Suspended from School, the Pachuco’s Grandson Watches Happy Days While His Homie Fulfills Prophecy


All morning I’ve searched for my grandfather
in zoot suit pants like two pairs of parentheses,
in case he happens to be walking across Arnold’s

drive-thru. I like to think he could’ve went anywhere
then. The whole gang bores me though. I don’t know anyone
like Richie or the Fonz, who isn’t as hard as he thinks.

It’s something with the thumbs up and that leather jacket
everyone respects or fears. All my heroes are my homeboys
who move through the impermanence of their day.

Right now, Mr. Apell is calling one of my homies
to the board to solve for X because he thinks it was
my homie who yelled out “Mr. Apple.” My homie,

who knows the answer is 7 and -7 will take the chalk
and draw an apple, its stem and one leaf before walking out
of Pre-Algebra forever. My heroes are good at their getaways

and not saying goodbye. My grandfather used to say
it was all about balance. Being Mexican on one side.
White on the other. He invented tightrope walking

through the streets of Los Angeles and sold his secrets
to the circus. I read history books, but don’t say anything.
They called my grandfather Pancho, they called him

Wetback. We are on the page they didn’t print.
I never met him. I don’t know if he was ever there.
I just wanted to use my head like my hands and break away.

Right now Richie and the gang are in trouble. Someone
fucked up. But it won’t last. I’ve seen this one. Right now
no one is stopping my homie. I don’t know if I would I have.

And I have to remember that. Fonzi laughs and everybody
joins. I don’t know why. They don’t either, I think. Credits roll.
The outro plays. My homie jumps the fence by the track,

by where the ice cream man parks after school,
and the links rattle behind him.

Michael Torres is a CantoMundo fellow, born and brought up in Pomona, California where he spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tinderbox, Cream City Review, Huizache and Green Mountains Review among others. He has been awarded grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Currently, he resides in Mankato, Minnesota where he teaches creative writing and hosts art workshops for homeless youth at the Reach drop-in center through Good Thunder Reading Series Community Outreach.