celebrating her sofrito

November 6, 2011

every day i celebrate you. Mujer Latina!

i celebrate the Latina who matches her chancletas with her belt and her bandana.

i celebrate the taste of sofrito on
your lips. the sazon on your
fingertips. the maizena in your eyes.

i celebrate the yuca
roots of your soul.  the way you make
love in the kitchen and then serve it up in plates filled with ancestral
traditions that got me sucking the marrow outta’ that pollo guisao’ like it was my first home cooked meal after coming
back from a hunger war.

i love the anger in you. the coño carajo in you. the mira,
muchacha er’ diablo no me joda
, i’m pissed as hell right now, in you.

i love the diversity of you. the trigueñita, la negrita, la blanquita, la morenita. la gorda, la flaca
the one with the hips that were made to raise 13 muchachos.  i love the intellectual
you. the nerdy you. the quiet you. the loud you.  the silly you. the serious you. the office
you. the i don’t wanna’ do shit today but lay on the couch, eat platanitos, drink malta and watch novelas in
you.

i love and celebrate your voice. the one that sings while
you clean. the one that can say the perfect words whispered softly al oido.  and just as quickly, stick her head out the
window and yell, “mira condena, you didn’t
call me last night.”

i celebrate the 2.5 hours it takes you to get ready because Mami always said, “no salgas a la calle looking like una loca you never know who might find you.”

i celebrate the nurture in you. that tenderness wrapped in strength
that has been known to tumbar gobiernos,
to heal the bruised and fix the broken.

i celebrate the “tu
belleza,”
that simple sexiness you carry on your hips like an extension of
your heart pulsating to your very walk.

i celebrate your laughter. that contagious carcajada
that can be heard in the next barrio.
that smile that brings light to the darkest of places.

i celebrate la cultura
in you. the music, the food, the lessons you pass on, the love you pass up.
the way you dance with la escoba
while you clean. the way you find ways to keep the island traditions alive on
these palm-tree-less grounds.  the way
you can paint montañas outside the
window panes of cities.

i celebrate the guerrera
in you. the i ain’t giving up ‘cause my abuelita’s
abuela
didn’t and that blood runs through me. the i will not back down. i
will stand my ground. go ‘head and try and push me lest’ you be a pendeja and want to see the wrath of a
thousand generations unleashed on you like the female version of Tito Trinidad.

i celebrate you. the perfect balance of love, anger, and
tenderness.

Usted Mujer Latina… my strength and weakness within.  every thing i am and want.

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let our love be

November 6, 2009

when we look to the horizon,
and see dark clouds fast approaching,
let us take that time,
to lower the sails.

when that eerie silence
before the storm
makes our hearts uneasy,
let us tie a reef knot
and hold each other closer.

when rough waters
rock the boat,
and the wind
threatens a wreck,
let us not abandon ship.

and when we’ve been
battered and tossed…

let our love be the anchor
that stabilizes our ship.
let our love be the compass
that guides us back to shore.

let our love be…
the calm after the storm!

for my love.  i stand with you.  beside you.  just hold on tight. i love you.

~Sarahi Yajaira, 2009

based on a true story

September 23, 2009

last night
the moon
spotlighted
on us

as we showcased
our love.

gently,
tenderly,
we offered the night
a kiss for every star
that witnessed our love.

undressed
our desires.
slipped into
passions.

tasting
savoring
honey
coated
love.

the stars
called for  an encore.

without hesitation,
we obliged.

the night
gave us
a standing ovation.

bowing.

curtain falls.

our love rises.

~sarahi yajaira, 2009

spirit

August 17, 2009

I have never been “in the closet” except to pick out my clothes and such… but I have never been IN THE CLOSET. When I learned that what I was feeling had a name to it, I simply stated a fact: I am a lesbian. I choose at the tender age of fifteen (sixteen years ago) to let it be known. Whether my family, friends and others liked it or not, was entirely irrelevant to me. And much to my human nature, I decided that I wasn’t going to give those who claim to “love me no matter what” much of a choice. It was simply, “This is who I am.”

With this in mind throughout the span of the last sixteen years of my life I have met many a closeted people -including women I have been in relationships with. To some extent, I found it difficult to be in some of these relationships because in some instances, I had to quasi-jump in a closet or omit information or alter some facts because well, I was in love and I did what I had to. I have also experienced the closet from a friend’s perspective. I have heard all the reasons why people are in closets: “I am not ready,” I could loose my job,” “My family will disown me” and a myriad of responses and reasons that I have always respected but never fully understood.

I am not sure if I have ever fully understood the reasons because I never had to experience being in a closet. Perhaps that is the main and only reason. But aside from my desire to get all of those who live in these confined spaces (which I presume can get quite comfortable given some decoration, a bed and even a small window) out and about, I have wondered what it does to a spirit to live in silence.

A spirit that is not free cannot live as a spirit.

When I stated my truth the only door that closed was a door that was barely open -my mother’s. And while it was very difficult not to have her support, I went on about my life because I sought to be around those who did support me and the new beautiful spirits I have met along the way. I am fully aware that not everyone is as fortunate as I have been. I have heard horror stories that have included beatings and death. But what has been playing in my head for about eight months now is a question that goes beyond the rhetoric of “coming out,” it goes to a place that’s intangible: the spirit of a person.

I wonder what a spirit feels when it must remain silent (whether in a relationship or not).

Everywhere in the world you see signs of people in relationships through a family picture on a desk, a wedding band on a finger, a conversation about a vacation or a telephone call reminding someone to bring home milk and eggs. It is in these small details that I find myself frustrated with the idea that my closeted sisters and brothers feel that they must remain silent.

The individual who is not in a relationship must experience this two-fold because I believe that at least the one who is in a relationship (when the doors are closed and the curtains are drawn), can experience a free spirit within the confines of a bigger space than the closet.

Again, I do not know what it feels like to live in silence -shit, I came out of my mothers womb one-and-one-half-months early and screaming. My mother said then, that she knew I was going to be very expressive and forward. But since I do not know what it might feel like to live in silence I can do nothing but come up with what I would imagine myself to be experiencing if I had felt that I had no other choice but to remain silent. I try to put myself in the shoes of my closeted sisters and brothers.

My first thought is that the shoes are tight. You see I have long feet (actually, long toes). My second thought is that I would feel like a wilted spirit trying to grow with the little light that sneaks through the window in my closet. I feel suffocated. Claustrophobic. Ashamed. And my biggest fear… alone.

“Alone.

And I don’t even have my self.”

That’s what a young student told me at a presentation I made in October of 2008 at Rutgers University. She said she,”felt as though [she] didn’t even have [her] self to turn to.” That, “[her] spirit had somehow left [her] side.”

It was one of the few times I was left speechless. And my only response to her at that time was, “Your spirit has not left you. It’s just standing outside the closet door waiting for you… all in due time.” And she half-smiled.

In December of 2008 I received an email from her subject title: “knock, knock.” The email read, “I talk to my spirit from the inside of my closet. It feels a little better knowing I am not alone. It’s not time yet… but at least I breathe easier. Happy holidays!”

As I recall this conversation, this email and my thoughts these past months, I realize and learn two things:

(1) That as much as I try to put myself in those shoes, I could never fully express the feeling of silence because I cannot digest what I do not consume.

(2) That spirits live and survive in the most threatening environments because the spirit is transcendent.

NOTE TO THE READER: The word spirit comes from the Latin word spiritus, meaning breath.

~Sarahi Yajaira, 2009