Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lo Que Hay

Oye mi gente: if there are any events that are aimed for Latinos/POC happening this week (or on an ongoing basis) please let me know about them via email or via comments here so they can be posted in the "Lo Que Hay" section of the group blog I write for : VivirLatino.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Sinverguenza's Walk

A walk down the same stretch of street feels different depending on who you are with, what time you are walking , and what you are carrying in your bag. Two and a half weeks ago, when I first took that walk in Jackson Heights, it was an early Thursday morning. Not so early that there weren't people in the street. In fact those that didn't have off for the holiest of Jewish holidays were probably off at work. There wasn't anyone to notice that I was wearing the same clothes I had worn at the tertulia the night before, except for him. We shared an umbrella until we got to Northern Boulevard where I stepped into a livery cab. He stayed with the umbrella. When I arrived home I showered the wine, cigarettes, and kisses off. I emptied my pocketbook of the poems I read the night before and what seemed like endless pieces of flirtations written with strong smelling permanent marker on cocktail napkins .

Two mornings later I walked down that same stretch of Jackson Heights. The sun had just barely risen. The streets were not full but there were people shuffling off to work. This time I was alone, he- now converted into lover- couldn't be woken up. Maybe it was because I was alone, hailing a livery cab on Northern Boulevard in the same clothes I had worn to a party the night before. When I emptied my bag at home there were no notes, just a damp rolled up ball of turquoise fishnets.

Rachel Kramer Bussel led me to this article which reminded me of my most recent early morning treks home smelling of sex and all sorts of other delicious things. Was I ashamed that I had shared some naked time with someone else? No. Hell it made me feel pretty damn good. Most people that know me know that I'm a outwardly sexual/sensual person but it was what everyone else would think that disturbed me. Would my neighbors see me and know from that knot in my hair close to the back of my head that I had recently been on my back , legs spread with someone between them? Why the fuck should I care? But the thing is we do.

Sometimes I think though that it's not shame I feel but a certain pride and post-fuck elation. I want to tell everyone how great it was, how amazing I feel. I want to wrap it up or bottle it and share.

Early this week as I stood waiting for my daughter to be dismissed from school , I was glowing. I leaned into the personal space of a mother whose son is in the same class as my daughter and asked:

"Do I smell like sex to you?"

Friday, October 28, 2005

Costumes Not To Wear

I wish I could say I was surprised to read that a bunch of white kids down in good ole Bush Country er Texas thought it was ok to dress like Maids, Yard Workers and Pregnant Latinas at "Fiesta Day" during their School Spirit Week. I also wish I could feel shock that no one in the school administration saw this as problematic. But I'm not.

Via / Latina Lista


Halloween is just around the corner and I may or may not go to a party tomorrow night. It is dependent on me figuring out a costume. I was thinking a puta poeta but isn't that me everyday? What exactly does a puta poeta wear?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Last one from la Tertulia

Ricardo León Peña Villa

Hasta la proxima Tertulia!!

Mas Boricuas Representin at la Tertulia Anoche

From top to bottom: Angel con su Trova-ton and Frances

Mas Fotos de la Tertulia de anoche

Juan Esteban and Nicolas (making his singing debut)

Tertuliando Report

Greasy breakfast sandwiches and coffee have helped settle my head after too many cigarettes, glasses of wine, and just the perfect amount of poesia y musica at Fusion Atomica's tertulia last night.

The tertulia was also the place to get the latest issues of Casa Tomada and la Orgullosa Calaquita, both with fresh reports and pics from el segundo encuentro de nueva poesia.

Nicole Cecilia- poeta Boricua

Adios y Bye Bye

WBAI is reporting that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination for the Supreme Court. Awwwwww Harriet we hardly knew ya. Really, we hardly did.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Not too much drama or excitement in my life right now (for a welcomed change).

Please remember to check in on the group blog I write for : VivirLatino.

If you wanna hang with a glass of vino and listen to some incredible poets, musicians, and other very cool Latinos then stop by Fusion Atomica's Tertulia tonight at D'Antigua. At the tertulia you can also get the latest copy of a very hot 'zine la Orgullosa Calaquita.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Do I dare?

I signed up for National Novel Writing Month last year and started off ok but didn't get very far. I have chapters of the novel I began floating around in my head, on my computer and on my desk.

I could fake myself out and say that this time I will focus more and dedicate myself more to self-imposed deadlines but I'm also a realist. Between my other writing obligations, my tutoring and coaching, not to mention mamihood and a little bit of a social life- I doubt myself.

Hasta Siempre Rosa

Monday, October 24, 2005


Sunday, October 23, 2005

One of my favorite writers

on one of my favorite themes

Ana Castillo's Border Poem

Aroused Bears and Sea Monkey Velorios

Alas there was no carousing last night. In fact, ::gasp:: I went to bed at a decent hour.

Lest my readers (all 50 of you) think that I spend my days and nights dedicated to wine and revolutionary art, I also do things with my lovely hija, la MapucheRican.

On Wednesday I chaperoned her class to the Queen's Zoo. The highlight of the trip, for the adults anyway, without a doubt was a bear (see picture above) that sat in front of the children. The bear was obviously um, aroused and eventually proceeded to service himself. The teachers and parents quickly moved the children away from the exhibit before the money shot.

Last night there was a sea monkey massacre, with my mother disturbing some freshly hatched sea monkeys (la mapucherican's latest science experiment). la Mapu has been to two funerals in her 8 years in this life. One was my titi Lucy's. The other was my mentor's Richie Perez. She must have been paying attention because she proceeded to create an altar for the fallen sea monkeys, complete with fake flowers and holy water (body spray), in a corner of the bedroom. She says we have to leave the altar up a few days. I'm drawing the line when she wants to do a rosario.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Scary Stories Around Every Esquina

This is not a Halloween story. This is about my fear of walking alone late at night. This about fearing which woman at the playground will get killed by her partner, this is about never letting my daughter walk home from school alone.

Red, Orange, yellow terror alerts don't scare me, walking in my own neighborhood as a woman feels plenty scary enough thank you. These things happen everywhere I know. It just feels like attacks on women have been happening more and more around me, wondering when/if it is my turn.

Since the last series of rapes in my hood I don't go out as often as I used to. I rarely go out alone. The last week of running around, if it was after a certain hour I would suck it up and pay for a cab if I didn't have someone to give me a ride or be on the subway with me.

I wonder how to explain all of this to my hijita. Everyday she grows more independent and that is not a spirit I want to crush. Pero at age 13 in broad daylight she runs the risk of being raped like the nena not too far from where we live. I can't imagine myself picking her up at high school pero if las cosas siguen asi what are my options really. I can enroll her in self-defense classes again, teach her about being safe. But I also want her to revel in being a girl so she can grow up and revel in being a mujer, too bad other people, including governments who condone violence and invasions and rapes against others while paying lip service to fighting against violence against mujeres and girls, too bad they have other plans for my hijita and for me.

Thong Nostalgia

Don't let me be misunderstood

I'm not wallowing in sadness or anything. Si, the situation is sad. I had an over 4 year history with this man. As I put away the photographs and things he's left behind I remember he was fiercely sexy and engaging and treated me like I was the sexiest thing, smartest thing in fishnets. Pues claro I mourn the way you mourn anything that dies but I will not be overcome by this. Carajo a part of me is mad, mad that I was a pendeja enough to fall for him and his charming ways again. Mad that I wasted time inventing a life in my head that would never come to fruition. Pero in that time I have also grown a lot. In many ways I am a healthier person emotionally after going through all this. That is why I am not falling apart.

More than anything I am restless now. I'm not in any rush to find anything. I just want to live and play and write and fuck and dance. Yeah I'm really in the mood to dance tonight.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Planting Trees in Someone Else's Soil

Oh the irony. A few weeks ago la MapucheRican's father informed me via email that he had planted an Araucaria tree for his daughter in Puerto Aisen. The tree is the National Tree of Chile and plays a central role in Mapuche beliefs and rituals. The tree can grow up to 100 feet tall and can live for up to one thousand years. The idea of mi hija indigina having that tree in her name, waiting for her , holding her place there, rooting her there, moved me deeply and still does.

A few days ago I was chatting online with la MapucheRican's father (that is the extent of our communication these days), and he told me that he had miscalculated the property lines surrounding the house in Puerto Aisen and had ended up planting the tree on someone else's land. Someone else would take care of what he had planted. Kind of like what I've been doing for the past 8 years.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The S Word

For most of us it's shit. My daughter thinks the S word is "stupid" because "stupid" is not a word I allow. Apparently the my S word, the one I won't dare utter is "single".

It's another S word. It's silly that I won't say that I am single. When a week passed without a word, returned phone call, letter, anything from my ex(even writing that was hard)-boyfriend, somewhere I accepted that the relationship was over. I acted like I was the S word, drinking and flirting between performing and ending up in a locked bathroom with another person (neither one of us was peeing). I liked it but I didn't claim it. la Fea even asked me, "Why haven't you posted any of your adventures on your blog?". She answered her own question and it was the right answer. I was worried that he, el Cubano, would read it.

On Wednesday night , which marked two weeks of an absent boyfriend, I met with a friend of mine for a glass of wine (or two). This filmmaker in gold sneakers is on my short list of men I would consider to be in a relationship with if.... Well now that if has happened and I don't even want to think about who is on what list.

I was very comfortable being partnered even if that partnering was not a daily reality with us being on opposite sides of the country. It gave me some sense of place and stability. I could make plans for he future complete with co-habitation and the possibility of not raising a child on my own. Oh the privileges!!

I have abandonment issues thanks to my father and with this latest disappearing act in a series of four years of disappearing acts and abracadabra, resurfacing you'd think I'd be used to it. But no. When I think about it , it still sucks and hurts and is sad.

Last Sunday as I rode the subway into the Lower East Side, wearing my favorite torn fishnets with my favorite knee socks (pink and black with skulls), as I got closer and closer to dancing, drinking, performing, flirting and kissing, I broke down crying. Maybe that was my letting go moment, my mourning prayer for a complicated relationship that died and was resurrected probably one too many times.

I am single.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

4:55 am

I'm up blogging for the day ahead because well I won't really be in front of my computer for the day. Besides experiencing net withdrawal symptoms and being out of touch with anything beyond a 5 foot radius of my daughter, I will be most of day with la MapucheRican on a class trip (see I'm not that bad a mami).

Tonight I will be hanging at la Terraza Cafe where the Andrea Tierra Quintet is playing. Esta mujer has a tremenda voz and word has it that I may be able to spit out a few lines of poetry between a song.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Earthquake Relief Fundraise

SAWCC Earthquake Relief Fundraiser*

*Performances & Silent Art Auction*

Please join the South Asian Women's Creative Collective (SAWCC) to help
raise funds for earthquake victims in South Asia. 100% of proceeds will be
donated to the *Edhi Foundation* and to community members giving *direct aid
* at the grassroots level. Please bring *in-kind donations* of painkillers,
blankets, and warm clothing. Home-made food will be served.

*Friday, October 21st **7 pm-9:30 pm***

Asian American Writers' Workshop, 10th Floor

16 W 32nd St, between 5th and Broadway

$7-$30 suggested donation


Musical Guest: *Falu* - *"Hidden Gem" hot pick in Pop
**Montreal**Festival, September, 2005

Performances by: *Alka Bhargava, Edward Garcia, Leah Lakshmi
Piepzna-Samarasinha, Tahani Salah, Suneet Sethi, Saba Waheed, Kron Vollmer *

Visual Art for auction donated by: *Jaishri Abichandani, Amanda Cartagena,
Chitra Ganesh, Swati Khurana, Maxwell Fine Arts, Saeed Rahman, Chamindika

Directions to Asian American Writers' Workshop

N, R, Q, W, F, B, D, V, 1, 2, 3, 9 to 34th Street; 4, 5, 6 trains to 33rd

For more information on in-kind donations:

Monday, October 17, 2005

Abortions in Church

On Saturday night at St. Mark's Church, I performed as part of the Segundo Encuentro de Poesia Nueva. Being in a church you'd think I'd perform something god-ly or por lo menos espiritual (I've been speaking Spanish all weekend so it's running in my head overtime)? But no. I decided to do my abortion poem because well why the fuck not? I know somewhere in the back of my mind I did that on purpose although I made that realization moments before I hit the mic, not when I shoved the poem into my bag earlier that day.

The funny thing about the abortion poem is the reaction it brings.

I have had women hear it and cry.
"It made me remember the miscarriage I had"
Another spoke of a stillborn.

I have had women come up to me and congratulate me for being so "brave" in writing and speaking it.
"It is an aspect of so many women's lives that never gets spoken about" I am told. Then it is qualified oh so often by, "not that I've ever had an abortion".

They don't dare ask me if I've had an abortion or if that poem is about me(yes and yes), but they assume and they smile and pat me on the back and sometimes it feels like they are shaking their heads and they are shaking my hand. There is still such a culture of shame that women who have had abortions are made to carry with them . Yes it is something heavy and sometimes painful but also sometimes it is an answer, an informed choice. I wonder if I lived in a different kind of world if I would even have need to write and abortion poem if the whole act of outing it is because of its very place in this country and others.

I have yet to have a woman come up to me after I perform that and say thank you and yes me too.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Balancing Acts

I have to remind myself often that I cannot do everything, including things that I would like to do. Since Fusion Atomica's tertulia this past Wednesday, I have been running from place to place, doing everything at a frenzied pace. This is because at the tertulia I learned that through today , there was an Encuentro de Poesia happening, with poets and musicians here from Puerto Rico. I have been blessed to have shared the stage with some hot artists not just at the tertulia but last night at St. Mark's Church as well. I've met some amazing local people too and shared words and wine. I've been out till sunrise twice since Wednesday (The clouds against the clearing sky on Saturday morning were beautiful). I was reminded sexy and inviting I am when I have a poem in my mouth. I was reminded that the disappearance of my man probably isn't a reflection of me as a bad girlfriend, but rather of his own issues. That isn't to say I have moments that I find myself inventing blues songs and singing them quite loudly through my apartment ( la MapucheRican is not happy about this). I will also admit to calling him but he never answers and I never leave a message on his machine.

Motherhood has kept me in check. While I've seen the sunrise twice, had instant hot chocolate made for me by an Anarchist Colombian, drank lots of wine, smoked many cigarettes , and have stumbled home carrying my turquoise fishnets in my pocketbook, there have been things I have missed. I missed the performance at Julia de Burgos in el barrio. I missed the Masalegre:artistas, poetas, musicos y cantantes running up 37th Avenue in Jackson heights, Queens, singing and spitting lyrics and lines. I was waiting for my daughter. Today I missed a special mass and lunch at St Mark's.
I will however be at Lava Gina shortly to say goodbye to the artistas de Puerto Rico and send off a lovely last few days.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Between Breaths and Words

No se donde ando. My head , my heart, and my spirit are struggling to find peace or at least as close to peace as one can get. Do I dare admit it? It's been 9 days since we last spoke. I started by leaving the usual sweet phone messages, waiting , as usual, for him to return the calls. I waited in vain. Then the messages became desperate and desperate ain't pretty but there I was crying into the phone telling him to call me just to let me know that he was ok. Those returned calls never arrived either. I am living in a world of avoidance. Avoiding calling his father to find out if they have spoken. Avoiding calling the police to report him missing.

Chances are he is not missing. Chances are he is not missing me. Maybe he's living in his manic head or his depressed head and cannot deal. Maybe this is his out. It is not the first time it's gone down like this and that makes it somewhat easier. Because it will cycle and recycle and he'll be on my doorstep again out of the nothing one day and again make me stop in the middle of whatever I am doing and rearrange,

or not.

It was hard to resist the desires to drink and fuck like a mad lovelorn mujer. Thank diosa for projects and children and poetry and words. Words between breaths between waiting waiting waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

FBI is after Rican Freedom Fighters

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign is calling on the Puerto Rican movement,
our friends and allies, to come out to an emergency protest at the Federal
Building, 26 Federal Plaza, City Hall, this Friday, October 14, 2005, at
5:00 p.m. Take the 4,5,6 to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall!!

Former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Antonio Camacho Negron, arrested for
being a part of the MACHETEROS in the late 1980s, communicated this evening
that an arrest warrant has been issued for him and that the FBI is searching
for him.

Antonio is asking that an urgent protest be organized demanding that his
life and physical integrity be respected.

He is also asking that the Venezuelan Consulate be contacted and asked to
request of the U.S. Government that his life and physical integrity be


Todo Boricua Machetero!!
Hands Off Antonio Camacho Negron!!
Stop Repression Against the Puerto Rican Independence Movement!!
Stop The FBI Assassinations in Puerto Rico!!
Free All Political Prisoners!!
Free Puerto Rico!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

VivirLatino: Because Bloggers Have More Fun

I admit it. I have no shame. I love blogging. So when I was asked to help launch a new blog aimed at peeps like me(no not just disgruntled mamis), Latinos born and living in the U.S., I could hardly contain myself. And thus , with the help of two other blog chicas and an amazing tech and managerial team: VivirLatino (VL) is born and just in time to celebrate mi gente on Dia de la Raza!

The daily blog, updated a few times, covers lifestyle, entertainment, society, and my favorite, politics. Because we in the Latino community are such a vibrant, diverse, and influential group here in the U.S., the site is written from and for a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. My co-editors are Jennifer Woodard Maderazo of Latin_Know: The Latino Marketing Report and Rebecca Carter of Trendy Tendencias. We are located in different Latino filled communities around the country, including San Fran and Miami (you all know where I be).

VivirLatino is the brand new bebe of Blogs Media, a new media company specializing in nanopublications, blog services and blog consulting.

So for those of you who can't get enough Mala want something to balance the insanity that goes down here, check out VivirLatino. It promises to be a fun and interesting mix, like us Latinos!!!

Tertuliando- Dia de la Raza Edition

I will be performing Columbus Day Observed: 2005 Edition on Columbus Day! Hear me and other poets and musicians. Come hang with questionable rockeros and buy me wine to see if what they say is true about what I do when I drink.
At Fusion Atomica's Tertulia!
10 pm at D'Antigua
84-16 Northern Blvd Jackson Heights
#7 train to 82nd.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pues Mira Tu

This Hectic Life

Who knew that launching a new blog could be so crazy!!! Get ready for the announcement soon.

In other news, stress between the blog, work obligations , pending performances and a missing in action bf is making me go out and buy a pack of smokes and have a glass of wine for lunch.

Ah health food.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus Day Observed

Columbus Day Observed 2005

I wanted to sleep in today,
Warm beneath my sheets,
Warm inside my house,
Leaving the early October chill just beyond my comprehension,
Behind barred and shaded windows
But the sound of US sponsored bullets
Ricocheting off of innocent Iraqi skin
Shook me from my sleep and pulled me out of bed
Reminding me that no matter what the calendar says
It’s still the same colonization invasion game going down
On this so-called holiday.

I wanted to mourn today
Stay home and dress in black for the Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers today.
I wanted to light candles for Pakistan and India
Burn incense for Guatemala
And cry my eyes out for Filiberto y Puerto Rico.
All of these make the 513 year old wounds bleed fresh and
Spill raped, mixed blood.
But my 8 year old daughter was hungry and
Needed help with her homework from the halls of miseducation.
Because she has off today
To celebrate her so called discovery
And I am left nervous
Wondering if when I reveal the truth
She’ll agree that we were better left uncivilized.

I wanted to celebrate today,
Torch court houses and tear down prison walls.
I wanted to bomb national monuments
And take back every last thing that has been stolen from me
From us.
I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs a huge
to the spirit of Columbus marching down Fifth Avenue
just in case people forgot what this day is really about.
But I was too busy struggling today.
I was too busy working today.
I was too busy counting change to get onto the under terror alert subway today,
With its cops with machine guns standing in front of NYPD recruitment ads
You know the ones with the White cop hugging a Latina viejita?
I had to get to my job
As a 12 dollar an hour corporate whore for hire
Watching billions of bloody dollars
Being robbed from the third world and the third world within.

And when finally the day is nearly over and I return home
I turn on the t.v. only to see
The daily corporate whitewashed genocide report.

Yeah, Happy Columbus Day to you too.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What's floating in my head

I'm pissy that I woke up with a headache this morning when all I had last night were two mojitos, WITH FOOD!!! I'm becoming such a weak ass.

I have paying work to do preventing me from writing poems and a story about a girls first pair of real pantyhose.

I want to be naked and drink wine and smoke in bed and discuss pretentious things with an artsy naked man.

Instead I am reading about teaching math, translating Spanish into English, have homework to help with and go coat shopping for my daughter.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Terrorist Attack

In case you don't live in NYC or live in a bubble, New York City is being threatened or not, depending on who you believe. On my shirt subway trip to the gym this morning, I am fully expecting more bag searches ( I'm seriously thinking of packing my 9 inch hot pink vibe as suggested in the latest issue of Bitch told me to). But in all seriousness people like me who don't drive and don't have the extra cash to just hail a cab around town, have to take the subway. I'm no longer part of the morning commute team but my my metrocard takes me and my daughter around this city we currently call home.

Now as a 9-11-01 survivor and fully aware of the London underground attacks, I don't want to downplay the possibility of something happening , pero sabes que, the conspiracy theorist in my head is also aware that a Mayoral election is just ahead and the war in Iraq ain't going too hot, to put it mildly. What better way to prove what a great mayor Bloomberg is than giving him a crisis to handle. Of course he can't waste his time debating in black Harlem. He has a threat to deal with. And oh look...see those Iraqis or wherever they are from, you see they are terrorists that's why we're fighting them over there so that we don't have to fight them here. You see. We told you so!

I swear I'm just waiting for the Feds to connect this to the Filiberto Ojeda Rios murder. Angry Ricans threaten the subway system or something to that effect.

I have a train to catch.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Temptation Web

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have used the web for years to meet people. I met most of my lovers, boyfriends, and fuck buddies this way. I have a network of mami friends (yes most of them disgruntled and proud) that I have met online, as well as other random connections including some that have led to paid work. My current love was found online (or did he find me...I can't remember anymore).

I was emailing with a friend of mine I met via Friendster(which is always having some strange tech problems). He was telling me about his adventures in online dating and just reading it was exhausting. I remember those days of wading through notes, winks, messages or whatever catchy word the website I was using employed to tell me someone wanted to "get to know me" ::wink wink::.

My favorite by far was Nerve. Although there weren't too many Latinos (my favorite dating pool), there were plenty of smart hipster boys that I love (yes I admit it, hipster men are sexy to me). But it has been a good year since I have last been on Nerve.

Today in my morning inbox Nerve sent me an email reminding me to look at unread messages. When I hooked up with el Cubano again a year ago (has it been that long), I updated my profile to say I was taken after an especially deliciousy smart Irish man contacted me and I hadn't been back since until today.

I turned off my profile. I could have deleted it but hey, you never know. Better to be safe than sorry. It could have been a lot worse. I could have looked up the profile of a certain obnoxiously hot ex-lover of mine. It took a lot of self control not to.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In My Backyard

Everytime I see her face on the news, I scan my memory to see if she's in there somewhere. This happened too close to home. I have passed the street where this woman lived and died countless times just as I have crossed at the corner where her boyfriend said he left her body. I wonder if I have ever been at the playground with my daughter when Monica Lozada and her daughter Valery were there.

Que tragedia and this is one that we know about. How many other women are abused and killed by their partners or ex-partners and we never hear of them?

What has disturbed me the most , besides the actual murder of this young mother, is the talk that surrounds it. Men have actually written that Monica Lozada deserved what she got because according to the accused killer, she was cheating. As if anything justifies leaving a four year old without her mother in such a brutal way.
This just goes to show just how deep in a culture of violence against women we live in.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Just In Case You Forgot

George Bush still doesn't care about black people (and POC in general).

My girl the BeanQueen passed this joint on to me and I've been playin it non-stop ever since.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Free" Creative Writing Workshops at the Center for the Arts & Culture @ SJB for Teens in Brooklyn

On selected Saturdays this October and November from 12 noon - 2 pm, CAC@SJB in association with "The In Progress Group" is inviting all talented community teens with an interest in writing to attend a free Creative Writing Workshop that will be instructed by Luis Bernard, founder of The In Progress Group. Luis Bernard is an extraordinary spoken word artist, community organizer, and educator who has dedicated his life to assisting and mentoring youth by empowering them through the gift of writing, and performing their poetry. Through his dynamic style, and utilization of effective approaches, techniques and exercises, Luis has impacted the lives of many young aspiring spoken word artists, and poets who have partaken in his innovative, and challenging workshops. The fruit of his work has led to the empowerment of a good number of his students, and has led them to living more positive lives, while experiencing their confindence soar to new heights. A number of his most gifted students, along with special invited poets, will be assisting Luis, and will perform some of their poetry at the workshops so attendees can see for themselves what these workshops can do. We at the Center are very happy, and most grateful to have Mr. Luis Bernard share his wisdom, knowledge, and gifts with our youth, and our community here at CAC@SJB. If you know of any talented teens who would have an interest in learning the keys to writing strong poetry, and even performing before an audience.. invite them to attend these dynamic workshops this October and November. The workshops are free, and are open to all teens who are looking for some real positivity in their lives. Luis Bernard is the gifted individual who can bring it!

For more information about these free Creative Writing Workshops, and for all contact info, link into the Center's site at We also encourage you to forward this e-mail to anyone, or group of individuals who may be interested in knowing about the workshops at the Center. Seating is limited, so please, have the teens or their parents contact us as soon as possible.

Personal Note: I performed with the gentleman conducting these workshops and he's good people.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Two Hermanas

Two hermanas grew up in the same small town in Western Puerto Rico. One looks back at her childhood without an ounce of nostalgia. She remembers the poverty, exacerbated by her father spending money on alcohol instead of on the family. The physical abuse she witnessed her mother endure. The physical abuse she and her siblings endured at the hands of their alcoholic father. This hermana remembers feeling shame when the night before her wedding, her husband passed by the window of her house and saw her bare feet as she stood on a chair cleaning. That hermana is my abuelita.

Another hermana can't or won't speak of what happened inside that small two room house. She can tell you about the lives of her neighbors though and her family tree going all the way back to when the conquistadors arrived en Puerto Rico. This hermana remembers seeing the first car on the island and remembers waterfalls that have since been destroyed by sprawling resorts. This hermana remembers not going to school past the 5th grade because the school was too far. She remembers who owned the sugar plantation her father worked on and her planting gandules. This hermana is my great aunt.

Last weekend I visited on separate occasions my great aunt and my abuela. Both told bawdy stories but both of their personal histories were so different, so telling in what one was willing to speak and what the other dared not. Slowly from their narratives, and the narratives of other family members I am putting together a family portrait and history that is filled with more drama than an novela. I am understanding the root of sibling rivalries and why some things are not to be spoken in front of certain people. It is fascinating to me and I feel like I bear some responsibility in making sure these stories are recorded before they become lost when the hermanas are no longer here.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Word On Comments

Obnoxious comments that attack someone personally , yes myself included, will be deleted. Of course what is obnoxious to one depends on perspective but since this is my blog, my perspective wins. :) The internet is open and available for those with access to a computer and internet connectivity. There are endless sites and if not people are free to create their own.

I flirted with the idea of not allowing anon comments but decided to leave it as is for now especially after an interesting comment regarding what went down in Puerto Rico. I am not against debate or disagreement, but disagreement is based on personal attacks and insults, well that just takes up space. So let's discuss things si? If people want to do hit and run comments most likely those comments will be deleted or at the very least, ignored.

Oh and a very special note to the staffers of a certain NYC Council member.....I know where you work. :P