Puerto Rico

I am writing today from within. I write from the roots of my being. I am an American, a Puerto Rican. I am the daughter of an island born on the mainland of a country in turmoil over identity. Today, I see inaction on behalf of other American citizens, on inhabitants of an island in despair.  Americans absent from inclusion, they live on an island bombarded by the waters of grief and we are all hurting. Our island is in trouble and we are stranded on the mainland, hopeless, fearful, and desperate.

La isla del encanto, la isla de mi niñez, drowned by a storm— is surfacing for air.

And I see all of us crying out for our people.

I see humanity emerging from the depths of tragedy.

We cry out with memories of a coqui singing, the sounds of parrandas bellowing through the night, el cuatro is the backdrop of my childhood, with trio music cascading through my memories.

I still smell el calor de la lluvia que cae en el verano and I hear my grandmother saying to me, “se caso la bruja, lluvia con sol.”  I can’t translate culture. I can’t turn this refrán into something that makes sense in English. Sometimes, I can’t make sense of myself in America, because I am  Puerto Rican. The earmarks of our culture lose meaning when we try to translate them.

We try to translate our being, our identity. We try to be American- but we don’t have to try because we are Americans with a dash of sazón.

Our culture is a mixture of history told over the sounds of an island’s melody for decades.

We are American. We are part of this country too; we are the people of a nation that ignores us.

We fight in wars, we work in your business, we are doctors, nurses, teachers, representatives, we even hold a position in the Supreme Court, we are Grammy award winners, Tony award winners, actors, actresses, sports players, musicians, rappers, poets, writers, executives, secretaries, your neighbors, and friends.

It saddens me that the tragedy which has fallen upon the birthplace of my ancestry has devastated the Motherland. But I want you to remember “Esta raza siempre es brava/ Aunque sople el temporal” (Residente, Hijos Del Cañaveral).

Don’t lose sight of the solidarity that has forged from this tragedy. Make an effort to help. Bring attention to the plight of our island; bring attention to the people of the island. Don’t sit down and remain silent, write letters make phone calls, donate money for relief efforts (Donating items is not always the best solution unless you know what is exactly needed. Avoid waste).

Find out where the relief efforts are, change the conversation of the nation unite with others and make CHANGE happen.

Music Monday: Moon Night

I almost forgot about Music Monday. So for your listening delight in keeping with today’s theme here’s the supernatural delight of dancing in the moonlight.  This is also for a dear friend who is no longer here, Linda, I remember when you played this song and danced in your seat because you loved this version.

 

Music Mondays: Changes

Change starts with you! Remember your history as a warning, learn from the lessons of the past. Changes start with people like us-it is up to us to make things all right.

 

 

Music Mondays: Tell Me

Today, I will invite you to share some of your favorite songs for Music Monday.

What’s on your playlist?

What are you listening to right now?

Are there any artists or songs you want to hear next week?

🙂

Music Mondays: Residente’s Rap

Residente is one of my favorite rappers.

If you don’t understand Spanish, then you may not understand my fascination with this artist, but regardless I am going to share. My children listen to everything I listen to because they are always with me. Usually, my oldest daughter does not like my music choices but when she listened to Immigrants for the first time and heard Residente’s part she stated, “I feel bad for people who can’t understand Spanish because he killed it.” In other words she thought it was good.

Renee Perez, better known as Residente, has won a Nobel Peace Summit Award.  He has a  Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in computer animation. He makes references in his raps from Don Quixote to injustice. Residente is a part of a group named Calle 13, they have won approximately 24 Grammy awards. He provides lyrically rich content mixed with a real understanding of social justice. Then, switches it up to create an up tempo raunchy hit.

He’s an advocate of educaition and social justice and I just love him! Super Fan Girl and I don’t care!

About the Music:

The first one is an 8 minute dis track for a rapper named Tempo who wanted to battle over a comment Residente made about the genre of Reaggeaton being stale. Unfortunaltey, Tempo cant compare! Round two happened and Residente made a follow-up distrack, 11-minutes that just showed his superiority in the genre, once again.

Immigrants from Hamilton’s mixtape. “Sin pasaporte americano porque la mitadad de gringolandia es terreno Mexicano.” Loosely translated: “Without a passport because half of America was Mexican territory.”

El Aguante talks about all the thing we put up with as a people and society.

“aguantamos el que vende balas y el que la dispara
aguantamos la muerte de Lennon, la de Víctor Jara
aguantamos muchas guerras, la de Vietnam, la Guerra Fría
la Guerra de los Cien Años, la Guerra de los Seis Días”

We put up with those who sell the guns and those who pull the trigger
We put up with Lennon’s death and Victor Jara’s too
We put up with wars, Vietnam, the Cold War, the 100 years War, the Six-Day War.

Enjoy!

The Poet & Writer

I want to be a poet, so I say “I am a poet.” I want to be a writer, so I say “I am a writer.” I have these tales in my head I write them down. I have these poems I place in this dumping ground. They’re rough draft versions that need much work.

Editing- that’s what they need.

Editing, the dreaded daunting task of correcting my own work. In this exercise, I stab my piece and make it bleed. Slashing the prose of my mind, I become the killer—my very own horror movie. Holding a knife I cut through the surface of ideas, what a bloody mess! I begin stitching together the remains- I’m creating Frankenstein.

I have blood on my hands.

I must massacre all my hard work.

The blood, sweat, tears and hand cramps didn’t create an impeccable first draft. I do not want to hack away any piece of them, of the story or the lines of poems. I am, emotionally invested in the purpose of my prose.

Weaving together intricacies, creating new identities, giving life to the characters you read. Even made up people have feelings too!

I know that what I have is a draft. I know that I must continue to create.

I know that I must learn to walk away.

Breathe and take a break.

To write and create!

Music Monday: Girl Stuff Mary J. Blige

Today- I decided to take it back- back into time, when I was young a full of life. Now I reminisce about that time.  The soulful sounds of Mary J singing through a busted radio with a makeshift antenna trying to get reception.

When you’re searching for a real love because you can love him knowing that he is all you need to get by.

Enjoy!

 

Music Monday: Mumford and Sons

For this installment of Music Monday I chose Mumford and Sons. Some days I just love to listen to them.

I Will Wait For You to listen like a Little Lion Man in The Cave, waiting for you to Wake My Soul.

Enjoy!

Let’s Share: Patricia Bell-Scott

Again, I am going to talk about another wonderful woman I met over the weekend at this writing conference I attended.

Patricia Bell-Scott, I don’t even have words to describe the friendship that emerged. She is an award winning published author and all around humble human being.

Please check out her website:

http://patriciabellscott.com/

Then purchase her newest book:

The Firebrand and the First Lady