city morning

May 15, 2013

morning breaks
lights go out
in the city

dawn holds
the loudest silence

coffee shop gates
rise with the sun
brewing hustle beans
with an extra shot
of get yours
this city
runs espresso

coaxing caffeinated dreams

nyc dawn
picture by: flicker.com

reflection: 40 years later

January 22, 2013

WHO GETS ABORTIONS

I will never need an abortion.

I no longer have a crib. Due to a disease called endometriosis five years ago, I had a hysterectomy. Still, I have a very difficult time understanding why anyone would feel the need to get involved in such a personal and private decision.

When I was 14-years-old I went with a cousin on mine to the clinic. When they told her she was pregnant she was numb. She was around 19. They gave her options. She said she’d let them know what she would do.

I don’t remember many details except for her silence. The train ride back to her mother’s place was quiet. And in between tears and sighs I could feel her worries. There are so many components to this decision: spiritual, emotional and physical. But they were hers and only hers to make.

I am not sure when she made the decision but I was there the day she came back with her boyfriend. Her eyes were swollen with tears. She lay down in her bed. And she asked me for a pen and paper. She said she was going to write a letter to her unborn. I saw it as her need to talk to this spirit she was returning to the spirit world.

I never asked her any questions about her decision. I simply understood that this wasn’t the time for her to take that step.
Years later, she married and has three beautiful children. I am witness to an amazing mother. A mother I know wasn’t there when she was 19. There is no way she could’ve been that mother because she needed time to “prepare.”

My mother once told me that she considered having an abortion when she became pregnant with me. She already had my two brothers and she said she felt overwhelmed. She wasn’t sure she could handle the load. But that’s just it; it was her decision to make. This shouldn’t be up for debate in chambers and capitol floors. And when it is, it threatens autonomy.

Forty years after Roe v. Wade we are witnessing to a war on women’s rights. The Viagra debate was never a debate. It was a demand to insurance companies to cover it and that was that. Yet it took 30 years to approve birth control pills.

And why are we, as women, not up in flames about this? Do we not recognize or realize our power? Are we raising sons to forget where they came from and that they must defend and protect our rights for the sake of their own children as well?
Roe v. Wade was just a step. Our battle is much longer. We may have come a long way but baby, it is so far from over it may just be the beginning.

We must remain vigilant and civically engaged in the process. Otherwise, they will cast a vote on your body: Nay, to your very basic right to make your own decision.

I will never need an abortion.

But my cousin, my mother, my sister, my niece and my daughter cannot and will not be kept from their right to do what they feel is best for them.

A government that interferes with that by definition becomes a tyrant.

queens v. jester-kings

November 1, 2012

i was born a Queen.

a long beautiful
lineage of Queens
who had to be kings
in castles
filled with jester’s
who played at being kings.

jester’s who silenced their voices
with side splitting punch lines
no jokes.

jester-kings who forget the strongest
piece on a chessboard is the Queen.
but who know…
that we are so powerful
it scares them enough to castle
behind three pawns.

while they dictate our moves
tell us where we need to be
how we need to play by the rules

check.

i am Queen.
the game starts and ends
when i say it does.

you have for too long
thought this game was about you.
setting parameters
trying to restrain
my strength
my voice
my choice.

jester-kings
your days are counted
the game is changing
Queens will rule again.

but don’t worry
we won’t pay you less for equal work
we won’t put viagra up for legislation
hell, we won’t even expect you to cook and clean.

trust.

this game
is about to get real.
so get your crooked rooks
and your bullshit bishops.

all i need is a few Queens
to do all the work
you and your pawns
have failed to do throughout
the history of your existence.

check. mate.

untitled

April 6, 2012

black child…
you never got the chance
to taste the rainbow.

17.years.old

[pause]

think for minute and remember
when you were 17.
you were so full of life… and dreams.
what did you want to be when you grew up?
what did you like? what were your hopes?

black child
you will never know.

because bazooka joe thought your melanin
was the 8th deadly sin
and felt the the need to stand his ground
pull a trigger
and just like that.

…you never got the chance
to taste the rainbow.

this race war
has taken more lives
than all the wars combined.

this race war
has got’ us running away from each other.

fear is a four-letter word with a five-letter sentence:

death.

17.years.old
17.years.old

you never got the chance
to taste the rainbow.

you never got the chance
to live life.
to try and make better days.
to watch your parents grow old.
to witness so many beautiful parts of life.

he took your now & later.
left a sour patch on our tongues.

and the iced-t
tastes like bitter hate.

kiskeya

March 2, 2012

yo nací de tu vientre.

el amor de mis padres
hizo fiesta una noche de septiembre
en tu santo domingo.
celebraron el natalicio de mi padre
y ocho meses después
llegue yo a ser tu hija…

apenas entrando a mis cuatro años
me arrancan de tu ceno, rumbo a, disque’ mejores horizontes.
llega la niña
a la ciudad de los rascacielos.

el frío llego muy rápido,
los inviernos son cruel…largo.
y la nieve no sabe a yun-yun.

aquí el calor se encuentra en el recuerdo del sol de tus playas.

no me crie en tus calles.
pero camino tus callejones
cuando me imagino en ti.

cuando era niña
mis visitas en las navidades y los veranos
siempre me llenaron de alegría.
aun llevo el sazón de la cocina de mi abuela
en el paladar de mi memoria.

e recorrido muchas partes
de tu cuerpo. me enamore en bahía de las águilas, sentí el latido de mi corazón
en santiago. en aquel salto en samaná,
me bautizaste. en punta cana descanse.
la romana me dio de beber. y en san juan
ahogue mis penas.

tu belleza me roba el aire
y le da alas a mi alma.

el silencio de tus campos. la alegría de tus playas.
hasta el afán de la capital lleva algo de poesía.

eres poema de belleza y amargura.
eres la bachata mas agridulce
que se escapa de un colmadón,
acompañado de johnny walker.

un merengue de salón que enamora
bajo un vino tinto.

eres la alegría en una mesa de domino.
eres la paz junto a las aguas que llegan a tus orillas
para descansar su jornada en la cama de tu arena.

tu historia me conmueve.
tu futuro me preocupa.

no estoy presente en tu día-a-día.
solo se que cuando piso tu tierra fértil,
mis labios quieren besarte.

si aquellos en poder pudieran ver tu valor
mas allá de sus intereses personales.
si le dieran prioridad a la educación
si la infraestructura de barrios pobres llevaran mas cemento,
estuvieran mas firme en sus sueños.
si no hubiese tanta pobreza. tantos niños con hambre.
fuese kiskeya bella en todos sus aspectos.

tu gente esta sedienta por una oportunidad a tan solo una oportunidad honesta.

yo. tu hija, que a millas de tu calor,
te siente en el frio de esta tierra que nunca me dio la bienvenida.

te llevo siempre presente. tu nunca me diste una despedida…

una madre, nunca olvida su hija.

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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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.