reflection: eve

December 29, 2011

i stand at the eve of a new day,
that will mark a new year.
we are always setting resolutions
around this time. making a list of
the blessings and the challenges
the year brought.

some can’t wait for it to be over.
others may count it among their favorites.

i count it as another year.

aware of the blessings in each challenge
i will not reflect on what was lost.

instead, i want to celebrate friendship.

there are five women in my life
that have made such an impact
this year. they have left me in awe
of their spirits. three of them are “new.”
the Universe brought us together because we have
purpose in each others lives. and i look forward
to uncovering and discovering each new day our
friendship.

the other two, i’ve been friends with for over ten years.
in separate parts of the country. we have never spent
more than three days at a time in each others presence.
still, the connection we have is unbreakable.
the distance is no match for the Love
that has grown between us
and the support we provide each other.

how beautiful is friendship, that the moment you meet certain people
the connection is so strong, you swear you’ve known them
for a lifetime. conversely, those you have known for a lifetime
remain beside you, though not physically; their spirit is as much
a part of your everyday as breathing.

that is what this year has brought me: a deeper appreciation for friendship.

those that showed up to visit me while i was in the hospital; who were part
of my physical and spiritual recovery. those who opened their doors and offered
a place to rest my head or a meal. those who called to ask if i needed anything.
the random text to just “check in.” the email to remind me that i wasn’t alone.
those who came over just to watch a movie and keep me company.

i am thankful for friendship. that kind that picks up right were it left off.
the kind that instantly happens at the meeting of kindred souls. the kind
that’s kind and patient and supportive.

on the eve of a new day, that will mark a new year
i count my blessings in the form of your Love and laughter.

may each new day strengthen our friendship
in faith, Love and support.

Writer’s Note: Gracias Adriana, Yari, y Spectra por su amistad tan bella. Lauren and Rosa, words cannot explain the love i feel for you; here’s to many more years.

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reflection: the D word

December 26, 2011

recently a friend of mine posted something to the effect of how LGBT POC’s needed to speak up about the realities of depression in our lives. i’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks, as i have been battling my own “demons.” the season doesn’t help either; short and cold days mixed in with holidays that are suppose to be “the most wonderful time of the year” only throw me deeper into this state of “wtf?”

i’m a positive person. and for many in my circle of family and friends, i’m considered “the life of the party.” when i have shared with people that i suffer from depression their first reaction is “really?” which has often left me to keep silent about it because i don’t want to be seen as anything but that “happy self.” god forbid i should say that sometimes it gets bad enough that i have to take medication to “level me out.” and when you add that piece to the mix you are then seen as unstable to many and if it’s on your life “record” and you decide to apply to certain jobs, your ass is shit outta’ luck ’cause well… “you just might GO crazy.” it is after all, the thinnest line.

culturally, it’s a taboo. as Dominicans and Puerto Ricans immediately will categorize you as “crazy.” they don’t necessarily believe in going to talk to someone about your problems either. and don’t you dare mention medication. i mean, that just puts you on the sidelines for good. my behavior changes when i’m feeling this way. i find myself sleeping more and disconnecting myself from loved one because i don’t want them to see me like this. because i don’t want to “change the image” they have of me

i’m a happy person. it’s just that sometimes i’m not.

i would be the first to encourage a loved one to seek help, to trust that things will get better, to believe that whatever it is they are going through is “momentarily.” and when i am going through it myself, i keep repeating those same words. intellectually, i understand that “this too shall pass.”

but it’s in the moment that this shit is toughest.

it’s in the moment where your thoughts take over. in the night time when the silence is loudest, all you can feel and hear and see is a fucking desire to just disappear. because you believe that in the absence of you, the rest of the shit that weighs you down will somehow disappear as well. that maybe, you become free of the shit that you carry if you’re no longer around.

and you look for places to find encouragement. reading quotes. quoting scripture. talking to a friend. finding ways to find ways out of your own self is a conscious fight we must make.

i can’t tell you what the root of my depression is. i can tell you the many places in my life where i feel unaccomplished. alone. sad. hopeless. helpless. i don’t know if this shit is nature or nurture. i just know it is. i have dealt with it throughout my lifetime. and yes, there have been days when i didn’t want to deal with it and i thought about other options. it is difficult to wake up to our respective realities some times.

yes, i know that there are people who have it worst. but i compare myself to no one. i am carrying my own weight.

i agree with my friend that we must speak out more about this. it helps to know that we are not alone. it helps to talk it out with others in similar situations.

i know that this will pass.

but for the moment… it sits with me. breathes with me. sleeps with me. and weighs on me. and i walk with it.

yemaya

December 24, 2011

quiero regalarte
una correa de caracoles
para crear un rompe olas
entre tus caderas,
y los arrecifes de tu cintura.

entrar a tu mar
de espalda.
siete veces
hundirme en tus aguas
para emerger mojada
en libertad.

diosa. yemaya.

quiero ser estuario
que desemboca en ti.
voy ahogar
desilusiones.

aqui estoy
a la orilla de la esperanza.

antidote

December 22, 2011

i hate you.

i hate how you creep
up on me.
like a hold-up,
pressing the cold barrel
of your gun against
the small of my back.

my spine cracks.

the ground, frozen
makes a figure eight
out of my five senses.

i can no longer feel.

numbed hands
clasped together
against my chest
i hold on to my Self.

that Self.

brilliant
excited
passionate

now, swallows
pills that turns
stomach inside out.
the toxins
of your presence…
make me absent from my Self.

esta navidad

December 14, 2011

arbolito…
que alegria
si debajo de tus ramas
encontrara yo, el regalo del Amor.

si entre lucecitas y guindalejos’
colgaran sus besos.
o tal vez Ella seria aquel angel
que con brazos abiertos me
espera en el tope.

que no lleve mucha envoltura.
tiernamente
soltare el nudo de su enlaze.
abrire la caja y descubrire
cada detalle de su espiritu.

arbolito…
quiero que tus campanitas
suenen un bolero.
que le canten un aguinaldo
a la magia de la epoca.

y que una estrella fugaz
encuentre hogar en mi pecho.

safe

December 9, 2011

i don’t know if you know
but the only time i felt safe
was when you were around.
i knew nothing could happen to me.

you were my he-man.
always defeating the skeletor of my fears.

the saddest day of my life was
that august day of 1986,
when you and Manny left.
i knew i wasn’t safe without you.

i loved the summer.
the warmth of your arrival,
was the highlight of my year.

i tagged-along. sometimes i annoyed you,
(that’s what little sisters are supposed to do).
you held on to my pigtails
making motorcycle sounds.
you watched over me. i loved when we played.
wiffle-ball with duck-taped plastic bats.
chasing squirrels. handball. night pool. shoe-shine girl.
and forts. you made the most amazing forts.

you were my boot camp.
those times you were “mean”
was your way of getting me ready for life.

life has given us years. distance has kept
us apart for the majority of our lives.
but we have always been a part of each other.

life has been hard on you.
and you always come out on top.
your strength amazes me
(i wish i had a little more of it).

your Love… it weakens me.
your humor makes me laugh ‘til my belly hurts.

today, i celebrate the gift of your life.
your light shines so brightly David Anthony!

i am lucky to call you my brother
and blessed to have you as one of my best friends.

Happy birthday He-Man!

me and my best friends

call

December 5, 2011

“i believe in love when you can’t possibly call it love.” -nppa

by any other name
it will still be
the action that lives
long after earth has
expired in its own
hatred.

it will be the verb
that creates a new world
the big bang
of a new universe

without a doubt
someone will die for it
another will build for it
a few will act a fool
(cause it can make you do that)
while others will give up on it.

and when you have no idea
what to call it
…it will call you.

open letter to campaign x

December 5, 2011

dear campaign (fill in the one of your choice there are hundreds to choose from),

please, under no circumstance, mistake organizing with campaigning.

organizing is when you gather a people, have THEM identify the issues, provide the tools necessary so that they may advocate for themselves and they LEAD the way to systemic change created from within.

campaigning already has a set agenda and you invite others because you NEED them to meet your goals.

did you catch the difference? (i hope you do. i mean, you and all your law degrees and political jargon and your corporate behavior dressed in non-profit should see it clearly).

the former starts from its people, works with its people, and then its people create the change they wish to see. the latter, well, just wants to move a personal agenda and when it realizes it doesn’t have “enough people,” they scramble to find tokens in a jar of spare Blacks, Latinos, Queers, women, low-income people… throw us a t-shirt and some event, catered by who else but us… and expect us to join or even more baffling, fight for… what YOU want.

well, shit… have you stopped to look at your campaign from the perspective of the tokens in your jar? have you taken the time to really look in your jar? i mean, honestly… stop looking at people like they’re just people. it makes you insensitive, shallow, and disconnected. plain and simple. take the mutha’ fucking time to really learn a people. go with intent. sit and have a cup of coffee with someone you might never sit with. learn their struggle. see if you can taste it. learn what moves them to continue in light of their struggles. try to have a genuine human connection that tugs at your heart.

…but you won’t.

you’ll keep pushing your campaign based on political strategies created by the same people you claim to be fighting against. in the end, you might win… ’cause money, well… money is money.

and conversely, in the end… you will not have changed anything. because the system remains the blueprint for legislative oppression created by the oppressor.

but please, do me at least one favor… don’t call it a movement if it ain’t moving.

sincerely,

Sarahí Y. Almonte

sugar

December 4, 2011

i bet you can
taste her on your lips
three lifetimes later.

the last time
she made love to you
was so sweet,
you’ve been packaging
it in candy wrappers
and selling them
for a nickel.

this is not refined sweetness.

she stirred your soul
with sugar cane sticks.
while you bit her rawness…
she caramelized your fingers.

yes.
it is possible to taste her
lifetimes later…
she has crystalized
your heart.

para volver a amar

December 4, 2011