When I was growing up
The neighborhood I lived on
Seemed no different
From the ones you’d see
On Leave It To Beaver.
Rows and rows of brick houses
Very friendly neighbors
A sweet old couple across the street
A park in the back yard
And familiar paths to bike on.
It wasn’t until I grew older
That I realized other people
Viewed it differently.
When I went to prep school
(which my dad worked two jobs to pay the tuition for)
I onced took a driver’s ed class.
The instructor thought he’d be funny
And take everyone down
To the “bad neighborhood.”
The other two students in the car with me
Giggled nervously as they drove down
The cracked pavement.
They joked about “the ghetto”
Not knowing that the fourth passenger,
lived in a house on the exact same street.
In college, I showed a classmate
Our house, which was now up for rent.
He compared to neighborhood to
his home country.
This student was from war-torn Croatia,
And an abandoned, spray-painted truck
triggered unhappy flashbacks.
I thought my wife was fine;
She was on a wide-eyed quest to
Chronicle my past.
She later confided that
traveling to my old neighborhood
She’d never been more scared in her life.
Keep in mind my wife is a hearty soul
Who has survived Mt. Pinatubo
And once was almost kidnapped.
And yet the eerie, silent menace of Detroit
burrowed its way into her trembling soul.
I look at these times, and I beam with pride.
Rather than be insulted,
I remember each story
And I can’t help but feel like Superman.
— El Santo