sobreviviente

February 13, 2012

“aqui no se vive mi hija,”
dice mi viejo.
“aqui se sobrevive.”

y es que este gobierno
tumba esperanza.
ser ladron es un delito
solo para el pobre.

la corrupción se disfraza de sacerdote
para absolverse de su propio pecado.
de un departamento de educacion
Que ni ABC se preocupa por sus hijos.

crece, generación tras generación
sin saber leer titulares.
por eso los periodicos llevan fotos,
y los partidos colores.

para que en filas sus votantes
se acuerden quien le dio
el saco de arroz
que solo le da de comer
a su familia una semana
mientras su desendencia
se quedara hambrienta…

si mantenemos a un pueblo sin educación
jamas tendran su liberación.
y el 27 de febrero celebraran
la dictadura de un gobierno.

y un pueblo
con caras enmascaradas celebra sin querer ver
que independiente de su partido,
el diablo cojuelo vive en su palacio.

no hay peor ciego, que el que no puede leer
porque a su gobierno asi le conviene.

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god wears a size S

February 7, 2012

it is no mystery why the world can’t find god.

you have made god so small,
theologians have been searching in the fine prints
of scriptures only to loose themselves in translations.

your rhethoric and rules
have diminished god
to simple verses misquoted
from altars and pulpits alike.

religions read hatred from their Book
and claim righteousness.
they have been
everything but right.

throw up scripture
on billboards…
give tracts to distract.

god never wanted to be read.
god wants to be lived.

but you have made god so small
in Love and so big in hatred,
your microscopic view
increases macroeconomic blessings.
while churches get rich
on people’s fears,
faith is bankrupt.

god never wanted to be a business.
god wants to be lived.

you have made god so small
and insignificant,
you have people believing
that hell is place in the after-life
not on the tip of your blasphemous tongue.

i need to free my captive tongue.

let it break through the bars of my teeth
and grind out the words i’ve kept inside
for fear that i would offend someone,
i always edit my words.

see when brown and black folk
start screaming
they call us crazy. uneducated. disrespectful.
class-less…

so i swallow the spit.
creating phlegm,
my chest grows tighter
and i can’t breathe.
my bronchitis turns to pneumonia.

do not judge me
for coughing it all up.
’cause ya’ mutha’ fuckas’
do some shit like hold a public office
and tell an entire community
that the way you will heal them
for YOUR mistakes
is by having a fucking taco dinner.

you insensitive, ignorant, hijo e’ puta
you coward. you privileged… white bastard.

i dont’ want your apology.
keep your excuses
y te lo metes’ por el culo.

i want you to step down,
’cause you don’t have the balls to step up
and admit your truth.

when you think that a taco dinner and a trip to puerto rico
show diversity, YOU. ARE. A. FUCKING. RACIST.

(by the way, puerto rico was glad you left)

remember malik jones?
can i get the stats on Latinos arrested
in your community?

you are nothing
short of a cabron.

so i am left
to shove my middle finger
down my throat
and throw up everything i’ve kept inside
’cause i refuse
to keep shitting it out
into the sewers that run
through our cities and underneath us
like water under the bridge…

it’s easier to ignore what you don’t see.

i can easily see what you’ve ignored.

but you are just one of so many more.
who sit in churches . who hold office.
who run corporations and banks.
who speak out your ass…

while we bite our tongues
bleeding anger
onto our chapped lips,
we look rabid because we are
so fucking tired of your bullshit.

and what frustrates me even more
is that your brethren… your kind… your people….
they don’t even call you out on your own hatred.

fatalities & poverty pimps

January 23, 2012

government induced fatalities.

there is no mortal
who can win this kombat,
when a lifeline
starts in the red.

blame the victim,
those who “abuse the system.”

the-ebt-card-swiping-medicaid-using
-cash-assistance-spending-heat-voucher-
processing-section-8-housing-people-
who never had shit to start with.

they are the reason our economy is falling apart.

the government cuts services
and then blames us for the deterioration
of our communities.

joana earns $622.04 per month.
she works part-time. her and her 8-year-old
son are on state health insurance.
if she goes to work full-time, they cut her assistance.
after rent, utilities, hospital bills,
and groceries she is left with $64.30.

she ain’t lazy you sonvabitch’,
she is trying to survive
on a system that doesn’t even give her
a fair chance at the starting line
because the day she was born
she inherited poverty.

and then she’s upset…
because she believes
what they handout in pantry lines.
as the poor gather to grab a few bags
of near-expired food.
she says, “is some people in the community
who abuse the system, who mess it up for us.”

and all i can think is
“they fucking got to her.”

joana, the system has been abusing us for years.
it’s been committing crimes against us. creating
laws in our name as if they even know what it is like
to wake up with last weeks hunger in your stomach.

then they incarcerate us in our own fucking
neighborhoods. you can turn projects into prisons
in two seconds.

all the while we just tryina’
find a way to make a way for ours.

they got us fighting each other
for crumbs they toss our way.

but according to them, it is us.
we are the fall. we are the reason
for this winter season.

Shang Tsung has a way to make the images change.
he the shapeshifter, soul absorber.
has a people seeing his words as truth.
forget enron. delete wall street.
“get over here!”
our ASSets are theirs.

then along comes a “savior.”

some philanthropic-poverty-pimp
trying to “do good” in our name.
who tries to romanticize our hoods
and create change without even asking
us to be part of the process.

we are so fucking exhausted,
we have no fight left. so we take
whatever little shit they’d like to throw
our way.

“fuck you very much!”

we started in the red. we can’t combo our way
out of it because we’re always on the defense.

this game is over
before it even starts.

finish them!

B, F, B, D, 3(jump)

[rip off]

El Barrio (Spanish Harlem)

January 15, 2012

218 e. 122nd street
105 e. 107th street
123 e. 112th street
is Home.

my DominiRican blood diluted
by the salted waters of the atlantic.
abuela left her Puerto Rico:
from el caserio to the projects.

(like moving from hell’s first floor to the second)

a government “project”
called HOPE VI
revitalized ghettos for the pictures.
while section 8 has been subsidizing
our communities will to fight
since 1973.

still, here…
there is Love, and laughter and strength.

i’ve walked these streets
my streets
el barrio… mi barrio.
mis calles.

all of it my childhood playground.
i ran up and down third ave,
our shopping mall strip.
stopping at a hunded’ sixteen for that sanguich’ cubano
walking up to lo’ cuchifritos for my orchata.
the scents watering my mouth
-i salivate spanglish lyrics.

that’s the spoken word here in el barrio.
at first, a struggling tongue-twister
that with time became the last romance language.

a language of love that dances in my mouf
like a smooth socially conscious ruben blades salsa.

turning corners. hopping trains.
breaking into night pool. sitting on stoops.
chillin’ on park benches. talkin’ mierda.

i. was. home.

those streets call me by my middle name.
they speak to my soul. the music of
hector lavoe. ray barreto.
the barrio boyz.
like TKA we were “louder than love.”
blasting from cars.

the sounds orchestrated
a latin symphony.
horns, percussions, and strings
attached to our souls.
sweet music of esperanza.

on 110th and 2nd ave.
doña clara sold limbel de coco
for .25 cents from the 5th floor of her building.
you’d put your change in a bucket
she’d pull it up. put your limbel
in the bucket and lower it.
you sucked it all the way to
wagner housing.

our parents worked
and worked. and worked.
“tryina’ make a dollah’ outta’ .15cents.”
they worked magia
like Chuito the Santero.

we were a commUNITY.

the lady on the third floor
who was always watching
out the window, (the one we
called Carmen la bochinchera)
she would tell your parents on you
if you were outta’ line.

and your Tio had as much right
to whoop your ass con la correa
as your moms’.

it was only called the ghetto
because they labeled it so
but we knew this was paradise.

yeah, it wasn’t the places we saw on TV
but it wasn’t the mortar and brick that made
it what it was… it was our Love that sustained
an entire community.

now i go back… heard something
about calling it “Spa Ha.” i thought
it was a new business they were opening
that offered massages and shit like that…
pero no, they want to sell it like SoHo
to the yuppies…

you can’t gentrify a pastelillo, or an alcapurria.

what the fuck do you want to revitalize?
this place has been alive for years.

you want to create change in our communities?
go into the projects and fix my aunt’s bathroom walls
you can see the old plumbing as clear as your deceitful
intentions to “make it better” for us.

she’s been living there for more than 30 years.

change the tired kitchen cabinets
that have been storing your expired
generic canned goods that have been feeding
us poverty dressed in “good deeds.”

these roach-infested-asthma-trigerring
-drug-ridden-violence-beaten-poverty-
stricken-hunger-growling-projects
are a direct result of your “projected” outcome.
when instead of providing resources to a people
you gave them temporary assistance
in the form of block cheese
(we have been your lab mice for decades).

i would’ve preferred a block grant
that offered real solutions not temporary ones.

carajo!

the images of mi barrio
will change drastically.

’cause starbucks coffee smells stronger
than capri’s bustelo.

but i swear…
te lo juro por mi madre,
if my fucking cuchifrito place
closes… i will round up
every botanica from 125th to 103rd
and ask the gods to burn this mutha’ fucka’ down.

this. is. my. home.

you can’t keep coming
into people’s communities
and displacing their dreams.
you delay their achievement.
you deplete them of drive.
you keep them in ghetto mentalities.

pero coño, you’ve been doing this shit since 1492…
and you do it so fucking well.

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locksmith

January 6, 2012

i wish
i wasn’t born
a poet.

instead,
i would’ve
liked to have been
a locksmith.

my entire existence
would be dedicated to
the art of making
and defeating locks.

i’d lock up my sentiments.
secure them in a place
where they’d never be hurt.
no key. just a combination
of infinite numbers written
in braille ’cause Love is blind
and only it would know
how to unlock me.

i’d work on deciphering
combinations.
i’d learn to unlock
fears and insecurities.
i’d work on bringing light
to the darkness of a vaulted
soul and free it from itself.

but i am just a poet
whose safe
is a pen and paper
that unlocks at the simple
turn of a connection.

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

1%

November 22, 2011

the toxicology report
shows your levels of “i care”
are dangerously low.

they’d inject you
with a double dose
and hook you up
to an IV bag,
but your body
temperature is so low,
it just might
freeze in your veins.

i’ve been next to corpses
that had more warmth
than you.

anger
is a disease.
it has become a
pandemic
it took over
your global body.

your vomit
contains feces.
the same shit
you swallowed
all these years
to make yourself
believe that somehow…

___________________

time of death:
0231 hours.

sentence

October 17, 2011

there was a crime
committed against you.
so horrible, its got you thinking
you are guilty.

you’ve locked yourself up
in a prison of silence.

don’t sentence yourself
to life behind fears.

i will stand here
until you realize
you are free.

and then,
…we can walk out together.

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011

reflection: tired

October 5, 2011

“i am tired of fighting,” posted a friend on her page.  and i knew exactly what she was feeling. i mean, we truly are “scratchin’ and surviving” ….each. damn. day.

sometimes we are fighting (exerting valued energy) for things that in this day and age, we should NOT be fighting for. some examples include: housing, healthcare, food… you know, the basic necessities for a human being to survive.

and we fight. and fight. for crumbs. and then we fight each other for the crumbs thrown at us. it is literally exhausting.

we try to organize communities only to be met, not by apathy but by exhaustion. the “fight” has been legislated out of them. they believe in nothing and no one because years of advancement can time travel right back with the cast of a vote or the swinging of a wallet.

hell. fucking. yes. you have a right to be exhausted. tired. fed up. and ’bout ready to catch one. ’cause this shit sucks.

but that’s just it. that’s what the powers that be want… for us to just lie down and call it quits. they would love to see is throw in the towel. raise the red flag.

what i’d like to throw is my exhaustion. and i will not raise a red flag when my hand has taken the form of a fist. they are more afraid than we are because they know the power we have. they know, that if we would come together we would be undefeated. they know our collective numbers would crash the market of their egos.

we, together, are the sum of their greatest fear.

so yes, be tired. be exhausted. and then muster all the energy of a fighter who knows that the battle is hardest right before you emerge victorious.

 

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011