So Boogie Down: A Bronx Poet’s Tribute to His Hometown

Cern in the South Bronx / Image: by Street Art NYC, Dani Mozeson & Tara Murray
Cern in the South Bronx / Image: by Street Art NYC, Dani Mozeson & Tara Murray

Check out this poem in which the writer, Alexander The Griot, takes us across our beautiful Bronx through a journey of words hitting all corners of our borough.

So Boogie Down

I’m so Bronx I go back before Crown
When the Chicken spot was Sunshine,
When you didn’t use the same word twice
For the A-B scale in your rhyme.
When Olympics was the diner after the club,
Letting her rock your name chain meant you were in love.
Going to the movies in Parkchester circle,
And then holding hands with wifey in the oval.
Walking from Hayes to The Wiz on Third Avenue,
Yeah the Maroon and Gold long before I became a que.
Buying bootleg tapes from the Nigerian,
Talking him down from $3 each to four for ten.
Wonder bread stores on Conner Street and 233rd
Partied at the same spot from Fever to Rhumba,
Ate the best pastries at Sal & Dom’s with my Gumbas.
So Bronx I got my fade from Patty and Bo Butta at 6 Corners,
Before the Royal Coach, Baychester diner was the truth like Sojourner.
So Bronx I still get my Pizza from Nick’s on Gun Hill,
Something about a TGIF there seems so unreal,
Hit home runs from Van Courtland to Castle Hill.
Remember when the whole Intervale station got burned down,
When lyrics meant more than sales to claim the emcee crown.
Shrimp Box and Johnson’s had the best food,
Long before the retail chains like Bronx BBQ.
When people were scared to go to Yankee Stadium
Before the chips, The Captain and the Core Four,
When it was sexier to root for Daryl and Straw.
And people would joke and call us the burnt down Bronx.
Before new malls and condos on the White Plains Rd water
When murder and mayhem were the Bronx borders.

About Alexander The Griot aka Cream:

Alexander The Griot is a writer, poet, speaker and musician from the Bronx, New York. His name is a combination of his given first name Alexander meaning “leader of men” and the term “Griot” which is a West African term for a tribe member’s role as historian, storyteller, praise singer, and poet.

His writing spans religion, love, politics, life experience and erotica under which he pens his work as Cream Omega. Alexander, or Cream as many friends call him, has opened for Jazz acts such as Spyro Gyra, been retained for speaking engagements at Hampton University for Tony Brown’s Scripps Howard college, rallied for justice for Amadou Diallo at the Bronx Supreme Court, been recognized with awards such as the Hip Hop Palace UMA for Best Spoken Word Artist, writer for Drumtide magazine, and was recently a featured and awarded artist at Atlanta’s BPC Black Poetry Fest.

Alexander The Griot is a charter member of the ACTIVE Collective poetry group. His goal is to use artistry as a common denominator to unite people to understand the similarities in their plights rather than the negative associations highlighting our differences. Alexander hosts a monthly show in New York City at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar and features monthly in Harlem at Farafina Café & Lounge


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