How do you say that?” said a young man in his 20s. He was speaking a language not even heard on the playground.
“Riff and rhyme!” replied a high-spirited woman in her 30s. She had been playing her instrument for hours and was in disbelief about how well they stuck to the rhythm.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it. They just go. A-r-i-x-y! They just do it!” one father who lives on the block said.
The students told us they have made a game of writing all sorts of bizarre names for each other, and then singing different rhyming lyrics with them.
“I get my name and I don’t know whether it’s a name I’m given or a joke,” said a boy who called himself Kaleo.
“It’s funny,” said a girl named Tawara. “If I say my name it’s like you have already given me a name.”
“There isn’t a rhyme no reason to it, it’s just going,” said a girl who calls herself Pina.
But as parents came back to their children with new children in tow, a group of them huddled in the playground with an old game system we called “Dino,” the name of a classic character from the movie “Jurassic Park.” We had never seen “Dr. Dino” nor known it was there.
When a little boy named Tawara tried to explain what the heck Dino was, his dad, Tawara, started to chant “Dino!”
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” Tawara would sing, “Dino! Dino!”
The little boy looked as if he had gone to his room to look at “Rocky III.” And then a little girl had to say “I love you” and he couldn’t stop laughing.
It sounds corny and silly to some but when you grow up in a neighborhood like East Williamsburg, where most of your classmates were kids of color, a little bit of “F-U” can easily feel like “F-U!” To us it was the moment where we saw our first glimpse of our future.
“There’s no rhyme, no reason, no rhyme,” said the mother of one student. “Just ’cause it says something it does.”
An international team of scientists from China and the