In the winter of seventy-seven, the jostling crowds at Lowe’s Paradise Theatre hollered out as the ape clung to the crumbling tower—desperate for escape, nearing collapse like a burned-out tenement. The people rose from their seats, showering applause as Kong crushed propellers in his closing fists before his final plummet, their cheers rising higher than the smoke circling above the rows of neighboring buildings blackened and hollowed like rotting teeth.
Daniel was too young to remember, but this morning in the car when he yells, I feel so good today, I feel like King Kong! he is saying the Bronx still dreams of Kong rising from his demise, strolling along the Grand Concourse offering his upturned palm. The Bronx dreams of its King lifting the people from their slouched huddle at the bus stop, beyond the zoo and the ball park, beyond the borough’s obdurate gravity, so when they turn back they turn together like a planet steady on its axis, like the tide, like the idea of a thing into the thing itself, they turn and turn and turn. [End Page 1036]
Deborah Paredez, co-founder of CantoMundo, is Interim Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies and Associate Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas in Austin. She is also author of This Side of Skin and Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. She has also published in a number of periodicals and anthologies, including Poet Lore, Mandorla, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, and Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America.