my bad folks just been on the grind trying to keep up with the work. God willing may 18th/19th i'll be done with everything. to all my peoples we will talk then. like i said last week, today i'll be at princeton performing with kahlil. looking forward to saturday concert at columbia. holla at me folks...anthony@undercoverent.com....peace folks....ant


Nuyorican Poets' Cafe: 30 Years Running.
by Carlos Vázquez Firpi

The Nuyorican Poets` Café has been a continual hub of cutting-edge artistic exploration since the venue first opened its doors in 1974. Through the years, writers from the likes of Sandra Maria Esteves and Amiri Baraka to Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan have paid their dues at the Latino-founded literary institution.

Much has changed from when poet Miguel Algarín first founded the Café in order to give the then-burgeoning Nuyorican literary movement "a locality," as he puts it, "a place where everyone could find themselves at a given time and come together and hear each other." Yet the Nuyorican continues to play a significant role in the careers of up-and-coming spoken-word artists.

Nuyorican Anthony Morales (pictured above) has been performing at the Café since 1997. The 24-year-old South Bronx resident was crowned "Nuyorican Fresh Poet" in 2001 and appeared on the cover of The New York Times Arts section the following year. "The Nuyorican has been vital to my career as a writer and spoken-word artist," says Morales. "I`ve been inspired by the works originated there; but also, the venue has given me the chance to develop my voice and my work. Performing at the Nuyorican has led to many different opportunities for me, such as touring the U.S. and appearing on HBO`s Def Poetry."

As a "street poet," a sharp-eyed chronicler of the Latino community`s experience, Morales follows in the footsteps of two major Nuyorican poet-playwrights: Miguel Piñero and Pedro Pietri. Piñero`s play, "Short Eyes," and Pietri`s poem, "Puerto Rican Obituary," are the most well-known works of Nuyorican literature, and their authors figure as two of the movement`s most prominent authors.

With the deaths of Miguel Piñero in 1988 and of Pedro Pietri earlier this year, it`s largely up to the likes of Morales, Mayda del Valle and Mariposa—second-wave Nuyorican poets, if you will—to keep the literary traditions fostered at the Café alive. But spot-on wordsmiths aren`t the only thing Nuyorican poetry needs. The poetry of major Nuyorican authors like Pietri, Piñero and Esteves deals largely with the experience of Latinos struggling to survive in a world beset by poverty, drug addiction and urban decay.

The Lower East Side neighborhood which houses the Nuyorican is nothing like it was when in 1980, Piñero declaimed: "So please when I die / Don`t take me far away / keep me near by / take my ashes and scatter them thru out / Lower East Side." Gentrification over the last two decades has radically transformed the area from a poverty-stricken, text-book example of urban decay into an overpriced, trendy Mecca for yuppies and wannabe bohemians.

Yet according to Algarín, the shifting Lower East Side landscape shouldn`t pose a problem for the Café. "The most important part of the Café is that it never set out to service a particular grouping or a particular type of poet. It`s a place called poets` Café. I mean, Nuyorican indicates the growing point, the circle. It was not black America or white America, but Puerto Rican poets. But in our pulling together we never saidthat this was exclusively ours."

The growing popularity of Nuyorican Poets` Café-inspired spoken-word poetry is in large part due to the kind of universal acceptance urged on by Algarín. The Café`s role in the slam "movement"—a nationwide phenomenon since 1989—has been central as it is one of the original venues to host such competitions. Films like "Slam" and "Piñero" testify that no movie about the spoken word art form is complete without a scene at the Nuyorican.

On a recent Friday night, it was clear that more people were waiting in line for the ever-popular weekly slam competition than the moderately sized Café could possibly house. But not everyone sees slam competitions as a positive outgrowth of the Nuyorican. Pietri was outspoken about his belief that Nuyorican-style spoken word had gone from a movement to a franchise. Others would contend that the slams are limited in that only a very specific type of poem read by a particular type of poet works in these competitions; and not all poems call for animated readings and not all poets are extroverts.

In his introduction to the seminal "Nuyorican Poetry: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Words and Feelings," Algarín (pictured here)announces that Nuyorican poets must "furnish the information and the vision to empower the underclass to join the mainstream and reinvigorate the American temper. This is our mission." Whether the slam competitions have led the Café astray from its original "mission" is debatable. In any event, as the Café celebrates its 30-year anniversary, the fact that Algarín owns the building which houses the venue renders it a symbol of both survival and possibility. As long as the Café remains in the neighborhood, maybe Piñero would still want to see his ashes scattered "thru out" the Lower East Side.

check it folks


what it is folks just here trying to finish up a bunch of stuff. this might be the first time some of yall are here. welcome to my world. i try to update this as often as i can. here you can find my daily rantings and performances. i think this next week i'll be at princeton. from there just trying to finish up the masters. it is a little difficult to be a poet/student/teacher/actor. a man of many hats.

some new stuff....

Keep Going

Drought dries drown
Down dull dust
Windows filled with rust

Real/hard to trust

Broken bottom can bust
Any security seein sunrise
Rub light in eyes
Cries of colonial constipation
Rewindin clocks
Categorial consumption
Cranial contusion
Chronic confusion

We circulate in silly cycles
Cynical sinister each second

Look at who’s here
Who’s done forgotten
Those next to come
At some point in life
There is the run
From whatever
you don’t want to bother
tomorrow frustrated
follow sollow
too bitter to beg or borrow

swallow cowardice
dookey duty
crap courage

everyday wake up empty
pour glass of hard work in cup
sip sink into purpose
dig deeper beyond sucka surface

realize heart working
through hurting

love made you
you made love

Wild with wicked limits
Kick it with spirits
Heavenly rhythmic
In sync with tradition

Position poverty
Dunk clap funk rap

Spit blues indigo
In the flo

Script rip quick flick lick tip
Slick click rift lift fix fix

Pigs get poison portion pie
Can find worms in bruised fruit
Apples of each other’s eyes

Apprehension relentin’
Few get message with furious intentions
Progression only natural
Hustled this way cuz I had to

No other option
One way street toward dead ends
Context craving/daily saving

Long way to learn
Long days to earn
Children of el sol burned
By righteous rays
Rhythm revised rigorous recognition
Ritual rites of passage
Full years pass quick
Drastic drowning depths of death
Hard to understand breadth of breath

Never know when last ones left

Watch where you step
Most secrets kept inside
Frozen rain against face
Makes you feel alive
Mothers still giving
Salami huevo sandwiches
Anguish heard in many languages
Down broken elevator shafts
Clanging cold radiators
Blown fuse blackout
Milk’s lukewarm
Meat brown
Melted butter in refrigator
Mean dead cat smell from incinerator
Phone disconnected
Call back later

Wonder why there’s so many
Haters in the city?
When the rich get filet mignon
Fried empty fulfillment
& we got pork fried pity

pittance 4 pleasure
one man’s trash
next man’s treasure
sometimes the sun is dull
like no2 pencils from 99c
store after a multiple choice test

what it’s about now
is holdin’ on

times is tougher
than 4day old chuletas
under that fritura light bulb

-morales, 2004


what's happening peoples it's your boy. my bad i've been sleeping on the blogging but life has been wild. i was 7 hours away from the city in SUNY Fredonia performing with some other Nuyorican poets. i definitely had a good time next week i think i'll be at princeton so slowly i'm getting my goal for rocking all the ivy league schools. just trying to figure out how i'm going to finish this master's degree i got so much work to do its crazy.

para ti mama
just wanted to say thank you
all we got is us

shout out to maria cruz my 8th grade girlfriend. i bumped into her on the bus and i'm glad we said what's up to each other. wow 8th grade so young so innocent. how the times have changed.



what it is folks, sorry long time no write. it's gonna be tough for these next 3 weeks b/c i'm trying to finish this master's. did not think it would be this much work. shout out to bar 13 and the whole acentos/louderarts crew for inviting me through for the feature. i'm honored to share the stage with such incredible talent. i thought it was a good night. people enjoyed my set and the slam after was off the chain. tomorrow i'll be up at suny buffalo performing. my school is giving me grief. i'll see them monday. holla at me.



what's really good folks...vacation has been great. glad to get away from those horrible kids....i do love some of them but a lot are just too much. now it's time to chill with mommy and daddy...leave me alone...
these next few weeks are gonna be crazy!!!! i got so much to do...





what's hood peoples my bad i haven't wrote in a minute. VACATION!!! real talk feeling good. i'm at eastern connecticut state university in willimantic ct. don't know where that is. bout to tear this down and do what i gotta do. my girl is chilling in salvador brazil living it up. rocking 2004 the right way. holla back.

you are amazing
i don't know if i tell you
enough love is real