Why are you so dramatic
Mi cuerpo el campo de batalla
Ella me amo con una pasión desenfrenada
sin complejos ni limitaciones
sin pedir algo a cambio
sin desconfianza ni reservaciones
Ella me amo y aveses me pregunto porque de todas las personas en este mundo me escogio a mi
Me entrego su corazón y yo como egoista lo recibí
En un cajon cualquiera lo escondí
Y hasta hoy no me explico porque
Ella me amo
una persona cualquiera sin nada que dar ni compartir
nada de mi es especial
pero en su mirada me sentía
Ella debió haber sido un angel en otros tiempos lejanos
sabía más del mundo y del amor que yo
sabía de tristeza y de dolor
sabía como besar y acarisiar mi alma
y yo muy cobarde
no la supe querer
no la supe amar
con su mirada descosía mi existencia
me hacía pedazos y de nuevo me unía como un rompecabeza
su risa y pelo libre
sin miedo se lanzaba al abismo
siempre fue mas fuerte y valiente que yo
Ella me amo
cada esquina de mi ser roso con sus tiernos dedos
cambio mi manera de ver al mundo y a mi mismo
llegué a sentirme digno y dueño de su amor aunque en el fondo sabía que no lo era
nunca lo fui
y nunca lo seré
Ella me enseñó que podia ser mejor
con cada pelea
cada palabra que salía de su boca bañada en fuego consumía mi mente
hasta ahora me pregunto si todavía me ama
si algun día alguien me amara con la intensidad con que lo hizo ella
La busco en otros rostros
en otros brazos
en otros besos
me da miedo pensar que lo nuestro nunca sucedió
que lo soñé
que lo imaginé
pero no sería capaz de tanto
aveses encuentro su rostro en mis sueños
su forma de adorar quedo guardada en mi piel
aunque me estregué hasta los huesos no la puedo borrar
Ella nunca me reclamó porque no la amé igual
se que se dio cuenta
merecía mejor que yo
o quizas pudo ver que yo podía ser esa persona para ella
con su intuición divina
aveses creo que ella sabía más de mi que yo mismo
que veía lo que yo podía ser antes que yo lo supiera
llegue a creer quel universo la puso en mi camino a proposito y desperdicié la oportunidad
nunca me perdonaré todo lo que le hize
una diosa revolucionaría como ella
que lucha de la misma manera que ama
que se enoja con la misma intensidad que besa
no volveré a tener otra igual porque en el mundo no existen suficiente ingredientes para crear mas personas como ella
Ella mejoró el rumbo de mi vida
me enseñó de posibilidades la belleza y el amor
con ella a mi lado sabía que hasta lo imposible lo podiamos conquistar
lo reconozco ahora que ya es tarde
muy tarde para mi
el tiempo la favorece a ella
me falta mucho por recorrer
quizas algun día la alcanzare
Llegué a pensar que solo era feliz a mi lado
hoy me doy cuenta que no fue así
que esa es su forma de ser
dispuesta a sentir con una felicidad interna y eterna
nunca fue mia
ella le pertenece al mundo al universo al cielo y todo poder divino
por ella llegue a creer en Dios en la paz y la justicia
Nunca pensé de como sería mi vida sin ella
que hasta en las malas me amo y vio algo en mi
que todavía no se que era
mujer enfrentada a la vida
le tuve miedo y hui
pero en la esquina de mi soledad aun la encuentro
aunque nunca le entregué mi corazón ella con sutileza se lo robo
es mejor así pues yo no sabía qué hacer con el
si me lo permite y me alcanca la vida intentaría amarla de verdad
espero algún día pedirle perdon y agradecerle todo lo que me enseñó
espero agradecerle por todo lo que me amo
[Inspired by the build community not condos street art in Brooklyn]
Doña María is up before the sun rises
Moon shining on her face she gets ready for the morning commute
It’s her job to feed others
Moon shining on her face ella empieza a cocinar arepas, tamales, café y chocolate
Arepas made with corn and cheese
They start to melt as soon as they touch your mouth
Tamales wrapped up in leaves
That break off at a single touch
Authentic café from the hills of Colombia
Chocolate de la Abuelita
The food is hot steaming up her small home in Queens, NY
Where she has seen her children grow into young people
Their infant pen marks on the wall and cracks on the tiles from rough play are still present
They wake up to the smell of comida caliente
“That’s not for you!” she reminds them
Packed in her food truck she makes her way down Roosevelt Avenue
Las luces all around her
Always the same routine
True Colors Gay Bar is now closed after a long night of celebration
Newspaper clippings, apartment rentals, and jobs are stapled across every wooden pole
Se solicita mesera
One bedroom apartment
Close to the train
A man is selling social security cards
Abundancia Colombian Restaurant is on the right
There is a catholic church on the left
Venga y pare de sufrir
Need help with your taxes?
There used to be a movie theater here
Right across the street from la panaderia
Near the hospital where she gave birth, Elmhurst
She arrives at the same street corner she’s worked in for the last several years
On this corner
In her truck she has paid years of
Construction of a house abroad
Care for parents abroad
And saving for college degrees
Doña María knows these streets like her hands
Cracked and calloused
The same streets she has walked up and down with her family on hot summer nights
Ices and paletas in hand
The same pot holes
The same broken bricks
The same graffiti
These streets have not changed
El dueño de la bodega speaks to her on a first name basis as he carries the store pet
There are no strangers here
Esto es comunidad
Moon shining on her face she lights up her truck
Ready for service
The lights read, “open”
¿A cuánto los tamales?
¿Tienes más arepas?
Un café por favor sin azúcar
Yo quiero un café, dos de azúcar y un poquito de leche
Café para mi, más leche que café con una de azúcar
Solo una arepa hoy porque estoy cuidando mi figura
¡Hola Doña María como esta de bonita hoy!
¿Y sus hijos como están?
Questions comments and food orders
This is the routine
What puts food on the table
Doña María always cooks and sells just enough
Never more never less
She’s content with the little she has
It was never about wealth or riches
The sacrifices were for happiness
Sin papeles pero con sueños
Sin papeles pero con dignidad
Without papers but with dreams and dignity
The 7 train runs every minute during rush hour
Shaking the street when it passes by
Waking everyone up
It runs from 42nd street Times Square to Flushing Main Street
Illuminated and alive the train is never empty
The train is never silent
The train is always busy
The train is multilingual
From the train window
Five Pointz once smiled at us
Colorful and unique art decorated its façade
Rain and snow come into the train
JFK and Laguardia airport
At Queensboro Plaza you can see the skyline
The twin towers were once visible in the distance
At 82nd street you can buy the latest fashions
Colorful communion dresses
And quincinera outfits
Some elotes, samosas and roti
Or devour a bistec ensebollado at Quisqueya
On 103rd you can buy tacos
De carinitas o al pastor
There are no taco bells here no chipotles
There used to be a movie theater here
For a cheap price you and your family could watch two films
It’s a CVS now
Helado de coco and mudanzas papi
Dozens of immigrant screenings, attorneys and organizations have come together down the 7 train
Mets-Willets point was once Shea Stadium
Tortas de milanesa
Sunday soccer games
The Andean Food Festival
The Colombian Festival
Men in Black
San Simon dance practice
The Queens Zoo always open but always empty where are the animals?
The Hall of Science
Musica playing in the background
This is Flushing Meadows Park
Blocks of auto repair shops
Tinting, cracked glass, new lights, oil change, new paint job, affordable prices
Last stop last stop
Stand clear of the closing doors
Two blocks up from the last stop you can buy four dollar sushi roles
Hot pot dinners
Fried and steamed dumplings
Buy 1 get 1 free taro, coconut, apple, chocolate, mango bubble teas milk tea, and green tea
Chinese New Year
Admiring the dragon racing up and down the streets
It’s a tradition
There are no strangers here
This is community
How will Doña MarÍa sell her tamales, arepas, café y chocolate
When the streets become businesses she cannot pronounce
Will her café con leche compete with Starbucks?
These signs of a cleaner and safer Queens erase the resiliency already here
We weren’t dirty to begin with
Will her house stand untouched during gentrification?
My childhood is splattered across the windows of houses and buildings in Queens
Woodside, Corona, Elmhurst, Roosevelt and Flushing
Home away from home
The only communities that have nurtured my growth
Where I met Mexican and Dominican food
Where I learned to play dominoes and heard Bachata playing from the neighbor’s window
Home away from home
Where I was welcomed since I was 4
Español spoken on my block I never felt alone or scared
Community not condominiums
There are no strangers here
Doña MarÍa packs up her truck
Her casita awaits
Tomorrow will be a new day
Filled with hopes that these streets will always stay the same
I know that sometimes it can be hard to look in the mirror and feel like you’re enough.
Is my hair, body, and clothes
Having to adjust the way you walk or the way you talk to please them
It’s even more difficult when the biggest critics are your parents
Maybe, if I talk like this or walk like this or do this or do that they won’t say anything today
Maybe, just maybe
If I stay quiet at the right time and speak at the right time we won’t argue today
Maybe, I won’t go out today so they don’t ask for details
If I lie, they’ll know I’m lying..
If I tell the truth they’ll still think I’m lying
They already think I’m “sinning”
I know that sometimes it can be hard to feel loved
Do they really love me for who I am?
Do they love me for who they want me to be?
Do they love me because they hope it’s a phase?
Do they love me to put on a show?
Maybe it would’ve been easier if I was “normal.”
But I can assure you
You are enough
You are loved
You are valuable
You are worthy
You are normal
more than that
You are extraordinary
You are courageous
You are beautiful
The pain inflicted in her exterior is visible in every square, circle or triangle mirror she passes by.
Shiny crystallized eyes reflect suffering far beyond her years.
Pig tails, school books, Disney movies and Barbies accompany her
Eyes corrupted with things she should not have seen.
At the small age of seven she could have told you what the male genital looked like.
Mind corrupted by a man.
She could have told you how heavy a grown male, 5’6 to be exact, felt on top of a lifeless body tired of
Waiting for the rescue that never came.
She could have told you that muffled screams did not stop him.
At the innocent age of seven there is nothing child-like about her.
No matter how much bubble gum body wash was used,
Her body stayed dirty in the places he touched her.
Ears scarred by the words he forced down as he belittled her heart, body and mind.
Repeated enough she believed it
“I’ll kill you if you tell.”
Every night after the first time she felt his breathe curl down her neck she’s been terrified of consented
kissing and touching reaching her inner soul.
Hands like wrinkly raisins prove the many tears she’s tried to catch and force back into
an overflowed soul by dark waters and images that cloud her.
She could have told you how many nightmare-filled nights she’s spent crying till sleep overtook.
Surrounded by the fear someone will open her bedroom door again.
Calloused feet from trying to outrun his hungry hands
till that time he succeeded in grabbing her while an oblivious mother was busy pushing a shopping cart,
somewhere else away from her.
Every night since the first time he forced her onto a bed she’s been terrified of willingly laying her
unprotected body next to a loving man.
Every night since the first time he forced his member onto her child-like existence she’s never
been capable of letting a man near the passage to her soul and innocence.
Every night since the first time she was berated, abused, molested and under validated she has
questioned her own worth.
Worthy of taking part in a fairytale romance.
Important enough to be caressed by soft silk hands.
Every day and every night after today I have decided to step out of the life consuming dark shadow he
my life, dreams and my happiness will be lit up to show me the way.
Love myself, and be loved, like I’ve never been broken.
This blood and life pumping muscle is a reminder of what I survived,
I could have been raped.
I could have killed myself.
I could have been dead.
I have forgiven myself for the endless times the finger was pointed at me
Instead, I have forgiven him to find peace and unity within me every day from now on since today.
Some say your body changes when you lose it
I can understand why
Something you’ll never get back
Don’t know where it went
Don’t know why it happened in the first place
It ain’t coming back.
“I lost my virginity to a douche bag” she said to me
Couldn’t feel he heart beating anymore
Couldn’t hear her laughing anymore
She don’t want to talk no more
Trying to be tough trying to be strong
Can’t let the weakness show
Keep these emotions under control
Tossing turning screaming crying
Hearing him breathe heavy on her
Put his hands on her
Thrust her thighs open
Pry her pull her rip her
Tearing at the perfectly imperfect body
Pushing shoving rushing into her
Not a moan was heard
But the sound of the bed slamming into the wall each time he…
Silently weeping covering the bruises
Cover girl, you can’t hide the ones inside
They say your body changes when you lose your virginity
Hips don’t swing anymore
Shoulders slouched, arms crossed, lips sealed
Trying to love but inside is broken
Everything spills through the cracks
Innocence wasn’t lost but taken
Begging to stop
Following by a grunt and a slap
Hands no longer open to touch
Cold, solid hands pushing, shoving, rushing away from here.
Punching life in the face for letting her down
Lonely and scared
“god wasn’t there” she said to me.
Saw her childhood burn up in flames
All a big blur like faded pictures
Along with her laughter
Tiny little hands holding tight to little dolls
Glittery dreams for a glittery future, no longer sparkling
She crawled into a fragile ball
Body disrespected for no reason at all
Forced to stand up tall
grow up and take control
saw fists swinging into the air
no longer victory but attempted assault
screaming taunting for a fight
holding a brick heavy bat
food flying smacking into the walls of a basement apartment
red bloody ketchup dripping to the floor
pieces of rice decorate the room like tiny little stars covering the night sky
saw his robe purposefully coming undone
hungry hands pulling a little princess’s body
suffocating swallowing her whole
saw his rusty lips with greed and past innocence
slide up and down her neck
like a light switch being forced to turn on
heard her muffled plea, “PLEASE!”
tears trapped in her eyes start to burn down her cheeks
make it end
scared to ask for help
terrified screams spilling over her edge pouring like the Niagara falls
he said he’d call someone
take her away from mama
separating her from who had given her birth
the one who provided the breath of life that boosted her existence
life that apparently isn’t sacred enough to respect
trembling and shaking
night after night he’s lurking in the corners of her nightmares biggest fears
disgusted with her reflection
someone once told her, “your body changes when you lose your virginity”
but what if it’s taken by force?
No one mentioned what would happen to her soul
The ground you set foot on is divine
You’re not a penny, dollar, quarter or dime piece
You’re a fucking masterpiece
Created by love, you’re royalty
The words you speak
drenched in truth
dripping with life
the sparkle in your eyes
all of it.
all of you.
Sweatshop eyes glistening with tears that drip drop on red white blue fabric.
Stitched and woven into the American flags they so proudly wave.
Sand paper rough calloused hands feed young mouths,
caress a loving partner good-bye,
Looking for a better life.
Diving, ducking, leaping, flying, swimming
To achieve a dream
Hungry and thirsty
Craving the taste of freedom on their tongues.
Running, screaming, hiding, sobbing, escaping Grimm reaper faces
Black brick-heavy guns filled with bullets of racism.
Falling into a wonderland of dessert sands.
Falling over bodies no longer breathing.
Lungs filled with trapped wishes never completed.
No flask or treat to eat.
No white rabbit.
Raped hands holding tight to childhood laughter
Robbed hands feeding young mouths that aren’t their own
Hoping to one day return.
Working, learning, working, eating and
Sleeping, working, smiling, working and
Crying and working and weeping while working
It never stops
Dragging dreams into white colored mansions and green parks
Pushing strollers that aren’t their own.
I stood there in the kitchen twirling the curly wire in my hand
as I heard your beautiful voice fill my soul through the phone receiver.
Not as often as mom would have liked but still the same.
Having to buy calling cards at the local bodega.
Having to schedule when I would speak to my Abuela.
Telephonically connected for about 5 minutes until the operator started harassing us that it was time to hang up.
5 minutes to tell you I loved you and thought about you all the time.
5 minutes to hear you say, “estoy orgullosa de ti mija”
to ask if you received my package.
Enough time to say we were going to see each other soon
that we would finally be able to walk hand in hand down the streets of Colombia
smell the air surrounding your little farm
as our toes dip into the rivers by its bed which are bathed in coffee richness.
See the beautiful land of my ancestry. of your ancestry.
Drink agua panela while you tell me stories about the time you fell climbing a tree
the scab on your knee
the scar encrusted on your hand from the time you burned yourself
I’ll laugh while you tell me embarrassing stories of mami
I’ll listen to the first time you killed a chicken para el sancocho even though I’m totally disgusted
5 minutes to make promises and scenarios
to mend the pain our departure caused
enough time to say things I didn’t believe.
enough time to escape reality.
Standing in a hectic line at Best Buy with mami
she holds a black box that will provide a relief to the distance
that will shorten the space between us caused by the lack of a social security card
a box which encompasses a black logitech webcam that focuses on reuniting separated families.
not having enough tissues
not having enough tears left
after seeing you on the screen
my curly locks reflected in your curly short hair
laugh lines and crows feet imprinted on your face
showing the passage of time
the pain that’s left behind
the wounds you cannot hide
Finding out you had breast cancer was the toughest thing to deal with
or so I thought.
No one told me the grieving would be this painful.
Having to watch your health decline through webcam appointments
and listening to your laugh fade on the phone
will forever be images and sounds imprinted in my heart.
Mom always told me to suck it up when I spoke to you.
That you needed our strength
you needed our love.
To just mention the happy things,
keep the conversation ordinary.
But, every time you told me to please stop sending money and let you die in peace, a piece of me broke inside.
Every time you begged for me to come say goodbye
to please see you one last time
I covered my mouth so you wouldn’t hear me cry.
I’m sorry for turning out to be the granddaughter I didn’t want to be.
I’m sorry for not being there every step of the way
I’m sorry for not being by your side as you faced this
when your soul started getting weary
when your sickness weighed more than any fridge, any elephant or any weight ever lifted
when your precious curls started falling out and spreading all across your pillow and the spaces in between your fingers
I should have been there
to pick up the pieces of your life and glue back together your memories
to comfort you as the medicines took control of your frail existence
to help you walk up and down those same roads we promised to once visit
For National Coming Out of the Shadows Undocumented and Unafraid Week I decided to come out through poetry. Here is the audio and the written version. I hope you like it. Press play on the audio and follow along [=
opening the squeaky door I find my mother sitting there
bent over holding albums in one hand
soft cream colored tissues in the other
begging for forgiveness.
I’m tired of seeing my mother cry and ask for forgiveness to a crime she did not commit.
her salty heavy tears falling from her cheeks like dead bodies failing to cross the border
feelings of guilt from her immigration situation
lacking papers. no documentation
crying over opportunities I couldn’t receive
dreams I couldn’t complete.
fussing over empty social security number boxes
on college applications
what will I say to the administration?
who so fearlessly dropped everything and everyone for something new
a place she did not understand she couldn’t comprehend
parent teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, meeting with the landlord, at the store,
I translated everything
becoming her ears, mouth
covering her eyes her lips with my 6 year old tenderness.
the bridge to two worlds.
coffee beans, salsa, vallenatos, agua ardiente, arepas, empanada, agua panela
backstreet boys, sesame street, barney, concrete pavements and snow
who spent nights crying for life and memories back home
no longer in control
she thought I didn’t know
every muffled weep stabbed at my soul
she said, “Angy, I came because of you”
hatred rose in the depth of my heart and mind
wanted to cover my eyes, ears and hide
yelling. screaming “why didn’t you just abort me!
grabbed me, pulled me right out of your body
saved yourself all this agony
searched for a better life without me?”
“I didn’t have a reason to live..till you came along” she counters.
giving but never receiving
scared her status will be revealed by simply breathing
don’t talk about this, don’t trust anyone.
raised in dark-colored all-consuming fear
sucking me down stealing my laugh
scared to own this, afraid to be myself
no le digas a nadie! I heard her repeat. don’t tell anybody.
Oppression and injustice weighing down on my back
bones splitting cracking weighing down on me
I’m reaching for clarity
hate, tugging at me pulling from all sides.
gotta break free
rusty colored chains that
tie me down from
reaching my fullest potential.
holding on tight to them I
dig my nails and teeth into every word ever spoken
every hate crime
every time my mother was blamed
each hate word carved in my brain
dig my nails and teeth into each tear I shed
for every time I was told I wouldn’t be able to do it
for my grandmother looking down from heaven
this is for you.
for all the memories we didn’t have a chance to create
for my mother sitting somewhere at home
this is for you.
for all the fear drowning in you I will come out alone
crushing these chains and
stating I am undocumented and unafraid
I want to celebrate our victory
I will own my story