Columbia University Graduate. Two Times.

East Campus, Casa Phiota, Room 2, November 2000

Ay dios mio said the random intruder
Joann Joann in search of her line sister
Getting smoked out underneath
Scarface’s say hello to my little friend poster

Sitting comfy on futons with two mattresses
Ashtray full of clips
Incense box full of old sticks

Dusty TV/VCR combo passed on from Walt
Piggy bank half empty

Big L Big Picture 4 mic Source Review
Cellphone looking like remote control
JVC 6 CD changer surround sound
Panasonic Radio Discman

Desk overflowing with new poems
Like in the final analysis and dedication for bro

Announcement for the next open mic at the Nuyorican

Dogeared copy of Family Installments
Where great greats blew out brains with rusty pistola
Hanging on for 2 weeks before it’s over

Closet full of clothes too baggy for the future grown self
Still need room to grow echo from the laughter

Bump that computer 1 gig hard drive
Little memory skipping instrumentals from what we just blazed

Looking at the past shows how the future is made

Lil exclusive pad on Riverside Drive
In the shade watching the shadows shift
As the sunsets over Harlem

Would only step through Morningside
2 for $5 specials

Don’t let the demons catch you coming from 109th
Way before guzzling pints
Daydreaming gazing at sights
Overlooking the waterfall carved into a cradle
Of swan and duck pond

How quickly times move on

Moments frozen like steaming on 117th over both shoulders
J & R CD guy outside Tom’s for early albums

The library searching for the reasons
To keep breezing through bullshit behind empty smiles

Jet back uptown to understand the freestyle
Always comes with hidden costs

Every cough connects more to the cipher
Where after many frustrated nights
Declare in the mirror reflecting the world’s skyline
I am a writer!

How the smoke shapes the smile
Takes a while for an intoxicated degree to take effect

I found the owl in the alma mater wish I come rewind time
Like Bobbito on KCR in my tape deck


Dedication to Piri Thomas Rest in Power maestro

Whatever that muddafuckin word means

Piri screamed
From the rooftop for recognition
Hoping that the stars would listen

Down these mean streets
an instant classic
For struggling Puerto Ricans
Gasping for fresh air
like coquis cantando in the city

Always bendicion mama
seeking amor from his papa
Black skin misunderstood
white man’s world
Unacceptable rhythm
No dancing no flowing allowed

Like every other action
Celebrating declaring
Life prohibited
exhibited cool barrio machismo pride

When it’s on
Time for a quick rumble
Proving size of cojones
Connected to corazon

Full of rejection turmoil
breaking back to affirm
Befeo would burn
Into bistec encebollado

On marine tiger
Merchant mission for trabajo
Yearning to run as fast as possible
From abajo

Started sticking up bars
Buy a drink for everyone on the house
Before it gets robbed

Pig’s bullet hit St Christopher
In and out flesh wound
Who knew that cop he hit back
Would die soon?

Just a Nuyorican
Trying to reach the moon
Dreaming of not dying on
A cold ghetto corner

Sentenced to 7 long times
Begging the Lord
Savior Savior please
Hold my hand

Through the belly of the beast
Got me fiend out on contraband

Determined to do the time
Not let the time do me

Only my body in prison
But mind and soul free

Hugging self kissing my own fists
Without this love
Freedom would cease to exist

When he came out made sure
No one else would live like this

Every child is born a poet
Including young Peter Juan

Words becoming butterflies
Fluttering beyond
Project buildings

Scribbling illegible manuscript
Feeling like catharsis
Almost exactly about to look it up
Finally met agent and publisher
About to hook it up

Ran immediately
Looking for Home Sweet Harlem
First draft was thrown into incinerator

Tears were the flavor
Of frustration frito
And anger asopao

Focused on future
All I got is today and buncha tomorrows
if I wrote it once
I could write it again and better

Reexamined life rewrote every letter
Overcoming every obstacle
Won’t let distraction derail destiny

Released a Modern Masterpiece in 1967
Found it in Soundview Library 30 years later

Creator let us cross paths
At Agueybana en Loisaida

Where I told him in shaky trembling voice
Sir you taught me
What it is to be a Boricua

He chuckled shook my hand
Vaya Pa’lante Pana
Then signed my book
There is no such word as defeat

Now I’m a maestro
Who tries to freestyle wordsongs
With any beat

He taught me
To have confidence pride truth

Always a punto
After you speak

Peace CPG

What’s good mo?

Someone just jumped
Outta the 4th floor in Soundview

Sounds suspicious
Hear cat meowing outside crib

Walks around park
Just trying to live

Lights and sirens
Wonder what’s happening

Notice smalltime grafitti artists
Trying to evolve from toys

Hush of city mixed with breeze
Bitter faces brings noise

Who decides who stays alive
Many think
It is the person inside

Core fragile like egg shells
Tell everyone very well
Very fine

When it hasn’t been that way
In quite some time

Everyone assumes
Everyone on their grind
Everyone don’t care
When you outta sight
Outta mind

Rotten rotation
Repetition remains
Hard to elevate
When you hesitate to gain

No matter where you go
Everyone grow
All different but just the same

Somehow there is
Supposed to be
Structure in your pain

Educated with self hatred
Trademark stereotype

Stamped on your brain
Tell tears to transition
Into stars in your solar system

Keep going you must maintain
In my darkest hours

Words are the only currency
I have to buy back my happiness

I tell myself
Love myself

Resist temptation to telemarket
My tragedy
Celebrate myself with a sixteen

To love the reflection
In the mirror
Is the beginning
Of tomorrow’s revolution

Today begins
With affirmations
Of inevitable uprising

Embrace the evolution
Existence never isolated
Pushed pa’lante by people’s power

You are Godly
Flowers blooming
In arid desert

Time is now
Future made up
Of your poetical presence
Spiritual essence
Will keep you moving

Keep your head up
Winning even when losing
Proving that truth rarely soothing
Often cluttered confusion

Climbing mountains of people’s opinions
Avoiding painful domestic

Dominions of dominance
Seeking to elevate to pleasure
Prominence but feeling groggy
Soul feeling soggy and staggering

While worry wagering
On hope’s horse
Who’s 30-1 odds
In the last race
Of drama’s derby

If you give this world
Your best
You might make it home
Early enough
To read your own obituary
In the nite owl morning news

despierta boricua

Duerme Boricua Comprende El Puno

Front row seats
To the parade
On high definition TV
Anchored by Ernie Anastos
And Brenda Blackmon

Today is designed
For you to be proud
Of your pain and scream
WEPA as loud as you can

Forget about the other 364 days
You are not allowed to wave your flag

Too much soul in your salsa
Too much coordination of your colors
When your land is far from organized

This is more like
Sancocho of politics
With flavors that are too overpowering
To taste

Each pastele has a statehood tax
Cerrullitos support the status quo

Even jibaritos heridos
Have filed claim
To their sovereignty
With their separatist t shirt
Sponsored by American Airlines

All dutches cost
Event inflated 3 bucks
Along with Bacardi nips 2 for 5

What a bargain
To be a buzzed Bori

You prolly saw dudes with pythons
Around tight necks

Identities squeezed into
Limited edition air force 1s
There is even a discount
On those ridiculous coqui banderas
As Kermit coons himself on the stripes
Barring him from ever seeing freedom flowing
Over a truly liberated people

Mama Loca is drunk off
Mamajuana singing Mama Guela
Asking why are we still mamando
A place that don’t love us back

Ultimate fuck with no kiss
Manufactured bliss in abusive relationship

How happy can false consciousness make you

A brand new AmeRican seeking
Nothing but smiles and sunshines
Under cloudier skies

Ain’t no time to realizar your suenos
Thin line between realizing
You are still sleeping and barely awake
In this nightmare
Called pursuit of happiness

Perhaps you might pledge allegiance
To porqueria
God Bless Insularismo

Island got my crib bugged
Cultura gets learned
Like clockwork orange
Marathons of your least favorite novella
That numbs you down
To ser y nada

Sartre would have been a sangana
Trying to find the purpose in manana
When mind been molded
Into meaty mofongo

If there was a bilongo in the barrio
We might have quilombos
To gang up our sorrows

Drums dance in the shadows
Echoes follow you through deep darkness
Still hoping to discover

The birthplace of your grandmother
To explain
How rain sizzled on her skin
Drenching self determination

Not allowing her star
To glow brilliantly
Against the ghetto glare

Gaze into the galaxy
Examine the universe
To unify the black holes

Too many gaps in our souls
To ever keep the claves clapping

Boda en Condado

Let all those other days pass
When you made iffy choices

Conviction in your beliefs
Intelligence must sing from your voice

Every crucial critical decision
Analyzed to where you stayed

Every word you said
Been offering prayers
That took us this far

Sandcrab building a tunnel
Destined to be washed away

Te lo juro papa
Soy un hombre sincero
Vargas me llama
Vengo patras en media hora

Sometimes we gotta go walk it out
On the mission to find what you seeking

Who would have ever thought
We would reach New York

Nothing nueva
But old dreams prepackaged

History handed down
Is too worn out

If only white thighs
Would tan as quickly as rest
Of sun deprived body

Demons in chopper
Wouldn’t interrupt your Godly
Conversations with the waves
Crashing symbolic
Of never staying stuck

What a rush to blush
At your barrio confused by each block

Child of public housing project
CPG is paradise
Compared to Luis Llorens Torres

Sad more famous as infamous caserio
Than beautiful AfroBoricua poet

Lyrics fall shallow
When eye of beast is upon us

Paranoid to even preach Pa’lante
Down with a pais that abuses us

So easily we seek the next sale
On Polo en Plaza Las Americas

Rather than read about tyranny
Tearing apart peace within people

We barely understand each other
Except exporting selling out
Better sport than surfing

Island style so different
But spirits in sangre scream
Build a bridge

Where revolution puede bailar
Liberation puede disfrutar
Amor puede hablar freely
Sin mentiras

Honest discussion
Of future’s movement over
Ice cold Medallas

Focus the motivation
On freedom not failure

How strongly can Don Q Rum
Embrace you to handle the truth
Burning insides barely can stay awake

Daydreams have you leaning
Like avoiding Guardia’s bullets
In the madre tierra matrix

Didn’t even say hello
At the entrance
Before making a quick exit

Almost able to absorb
Apathy en asopao

Policia give you fast paopao
For thinking any of your gente
Have real power 


what's good? back from the dead, lol. just because i don't pop up at your readings, slam, poetry venue, doesn't mean i haven't been writing. been living which is far more important. whole lot of revelations this past weekend.

one, i'm from the bronx, but the place don't define my future. right now, i'm loving where i'm at in life, but it seems like the hood don't want anyone to ever be happy. or better said, if your life doesn't revolve around bottles, bitches, or ball, you have no place in the conversation. well, i'm married, have a kid, a stable job, and a lot of creativity. Clason Point Gardens was and will always be the foundation, but it can't be the glass ceiling. "wondering why did you love the hood, when the bitch don't love you back" i'm gone. yall won't see me for a minute.

two, my new family shows me more love than my old family. i know that the forces of time have pushed us apart, but by no means is our family the way it should be for amari. we seem resigned to accept living in isolation, dark project apartments where the phone never rings. i can't. so if yall want to join me on my side, you are more than welcome. i'm tired of being the lonely historian who feels like i'm the only one who cares about a place no one else even acknowledges as important.

three, there is no need for external affirmation from any of my artistic community. I've been living for other's approval when the whole time, i needed to give myself the permission to shine. So if i sent you a copy of Dice Queso and you never even took the time to read it, offer some feedback, it's all good. I'm gonna make it fly with or without you.

four, if you don't believe in your own power, you will be weak and worthless until you decide to be powerful. so i can't wait on nobody. I've been waiting on my best self to show up for way too long. He has been chilling on the block, wasting time in cyphers that cost me too much, with people who paid too little attention to ever care. He finally realized that home is wherever you rest your head, and family are the beautiful people who have supported you unconditionally. Peace young boy Morales. Welcome sir to the rest of your life.

You will see me soon. Just say what up.


Think Fast

Don’t let time run out
Before you decide to shoot

Ball will stay stuck
In your hand until after the crowd

Has left you searching
For the way to say
I love you
In multiple languages

Without needing to explain
How difficult caring is

All the answers are none of the above
Mostly related to opening up

Spaces in shuttered Corazon
To pump blood to rest
Of your thirst body ready to jump
Off the curb with a parachute

Afraid of the fall
Ground rapidly approaching
Before you got feet under you

Practice makes regular
Exotic exclusive inviting

Integration of inspiration
Activation of internal radiance

Every piece of art
Been attempts to define
Simple complexities compounded
By fatal factors

Multiplying mission
So we could collaborate with
Congested calm corner

Photo retrospective
Declaring our defiance in face of
Death with mac hoody down
Ready to catch the next victim

Slipping back to on point
Focus lenses to movement
With frames blaming burden
On resistance to routine

If this ill
Imagine what you ain’t seen

Thin line crying over concrete
we drink in dreams

Want one last before
Riding out to see jaguars on prowl
While I seek 3 for 25 specials
Of special feeling

Embuste the entire trip
Learning how to find the grip

Allow what you want
To fall into place

No distractions
Breathing in pace with race

Small chase to gain homily
For few hours

Circulate scene while underground
Keep names in back of backed up

Fruitility politically abstain
From any battle for fear
Of bloody repercussions

Discussion allow deciphering discourse
Often of course traveled

Most jog through hostile
Patience wearing thin as scalp

Pork want you to have indigestion
More stressing in session schedule

To regain fuel at rapid pace
You could skate on thin ice

Until you slip on the shallow surface
Catching enough breeze

Eyes skydive loving glare
Aware of eminent departure
From beautiful days

Sun shifted your soul
Enough to make you feel in control

History headed
Right direction precise perception

Mind and voice weapons
You let dust collect behind
Books you never read
Albums never listened

Far more ways you could fix the photo
On the low low
Puddles on the curb
Are tears you couldn’t catch

What you know

Why do you wish for sweet tomorrows when right now is passed away into yesterday. Today’s news is recycled thrown like periodicos de ayer, a spun record round like discoball sparkling. Celebrations of degradation reputation must come through resume of greatness. So tired of fake shit nowadays hard to find anything sacred. You hide hurt like out in the open. Levitations of elevations for momentary gain leaves tear trails where memories remain. Salutations for everyone slain, parts of yourself wither quicker than rose petals in sun. You used to run with your hair whipping in the acidic breeze like waves on moontide. Now you slide into sessions confidence a lonely weapon against turbulent terrorism. Profession of love a possession constantly seeking perfection – but all the above added up means you still broke. Still hope for future visions of riches leftover with only revenge in vicious frigid dishes.
You step off the curb and it feels like you dropped into the neverending hole in the neverending story. Foreigners surround you and calibrate the kink in each one of your curls. They offer to give you a makeover that is 120 percent guaranteed to make you love yourself. You respectfully decline but not before carefully considering their option, after all your self esteem is in short supply. Thus the demand on your depression has been at record levels causing your mental markets to vacillate between bear and bull when the whole time, it has felt like an African lion, well respected in person, but disrespected and endangered when it’s back was turned.
Next snapshot is a barbed wire fenced in concert of your least favorite reggaeton artists, Mack y Donna, cantando their latest exito, “Damelo Duro.” The strobelights and smoke machines have both blinded and suffocated you and between blinks you see images of masters whipping their slaves with Hype Williams cinematography as the victims mouth Duro along to the beat. Your screams of horror are misconstrued as cheers of support when the manager leans over and whisper screams into your ear, I know you feeling this hot shit right?
You do a lambada Macarena on the Mun2 dancing contest. The crowd goes wild praising your artistic genius one second then decrying your offensive rhythm throwing D batteries at you. The scene shifts you are the crossover movie star of the blockbuster Ole Toro! An aristocratic Mexican trapped by bullfighters forced to fight his way out the barrio Gladiator style swashbuckling battling the commie pigs. You are appalled at your own success but not enough to dissuade you from signing on for merchandising and sequels for the next ten years. This has lead to your endorsement and by default, becoming the Latino Spokesman for Bush the 42nd reelection in 3009. Performing this crucial Uncle Tom role ensures the future domination of your family’s family’s families for millennia to come.
Smiling bittersweet, you grin and whisper, you live and learn. This exact saying was what guided your mother during her romantic genocide with your father. You consider the irony in the situation especially since you have painted misogyny by the numbers in your own relationship soon destined to perish under all this ancestral weight. You chuckle at all the broken hearts in the world and cry at how shattered your own is. Those tears drop like acid in your palms softly stinging your skin.



The Poetry Of The Nuyorican Experience


January 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002
THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe lures young writers like Anthony Morales.
[PHOTO: Ting-Li Wang/The New York Times]
Where are my boricuas?" Anthony Morales shouted during a recent Friday night poetry slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, asking for the Puerto Ricans in the house.
The ethnically mixed, gentrified crowd at this legendary Lower East Side space may not have known it, but Mr. Morales was paying homage in his poem to the founders of the stage where he stood, to those
    stoned crazy prophets of revolution,
    giving poetic solutions to political pollution,
    organizing rhythmic confusion of assimilation
    to this untied states nation of eggs, cheese and bacon
    upon wakin'.
One of those prophets was the poet and playwright Miguel Piñero. He is the subject of "Piñero," a new film starring Benjamin Bratt that has put the spotlight on the Nuyorican poets' scene, which came into being in the 1960's and 70's and is still going strong as the popularity of poetry surges nationwide.
Miguel Pinero in 1974, the year he helped found the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and his play ``Short Eyes'' won an award..
[PHOTO: Ting-Li Wang/The New York Times]
Though Mr. Morales, a 21-year-old Bronx native majoring in English and Latino studies at Columbia University, may be far removed from the heroin-infested, crime-ridden, self-destructive world of Piñero, he nevertheless belongs to the same literary tradition, born of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. "My poetry is about trying to make sense of the world, of being a young Puerto Rican male," Mr. Morales said. "We have incredible stories we got to tell."
In 1974 the story Piñero told in "Short Eyes," a prison drama presented by Joseph Papp's Public Theater and at Lincoln Center, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best American play. It was developed in a workshop at the Ossining Correctional Facility (Sing Sing), where he was serving time for armed robbery. That year Piñero, known as Miky, was one of the founders of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe; he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1988, when he was 41.
His poetry, with verses in both English and Spanish, had a strong political and social foundation, using the language of the street to document urban and prison reality. What became the Nuyorican poets' movement was influenced by Beat writers like Jack Kerouac, firebrand black poets like Amiri Baraka and Puerto Rico's oral poetry traditions. And it was informed by the discrimination, segregation and other harsh experiences suffered by Puerto Ricans who settled in New York.
In the spoken word, the Nuyoricans, or Puerto Rican New Yorkers, embraced identity and culture.
"We were coming out of the 60's, and there was a switch from self-hate to self-love," said Sandra María Esteves, 53, a published poet born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican father and a Dominican mother and who, along with Piñero, was one of the founding poets of the Nuyorican movement. "That was an important marker for us. Embrace who we are. That was very different from the messages I got when I was growing up."
Today Nuyorican poetry can range from sonnets to the frenzied verses of competitive slams, and its themes are universal: the politics of daily life, sex and love, discovery of self. The poets function in a less cohesive, more glamorized setting than in Piñero's days. This is now poetry promoted by hip-hop and delivered in a more theatrical, performance-oriented way, which some Nuyorican poets criticize as being more often about entertaining and shocking an audience than about self-expression.
Miguel Algarin, the primary founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, says poetry today takes place in a more integrated setting. "For once," he said, "America is truly brought together into one from its myriads of ethnicities – 10,000 ethnicities become sharply focused into an art form, and ironically, the North American Puerto Rican, the Nuyorican, has become the mainstream of American poetry."
But a preoccupation with the Puerto Rican condition still anchors Nuyorican poetry and gives it its bite, as it did 30 years ago.
Many young Nuyorican writers said they were driven to poetry by racist encounters in mostly white schools, by witnessing injustices suffered by family members or neighbors at the hands of the police, landlords or welfare workers, and by the need to express themselves, "to prove," as one poet said, "that I was a human being."
Some noted parallels to black and Chicano poetry.
"This is a survival thing," said Willie Perdomo, 34, a Nuyorican poet, who said he had his share of rough times while growing up in East Harlem. "When you see things that are wrong, you want to say it's wrong. It's a raw language for a raw experience."
Questions of identity are also thoroughly explored. In a poem called "Ode to the Diasporican," Maria Teresa Fernández, a 30-year-old Bronx poet known as Mariposa (Butterfly), takes on those who say she is not "the real thing" because she was not born in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican, she writes, "is a state of mind, a state of heart, a state of soul."
Even the term Nuyorican has often come to encompass Puerto Rican poets elsewhere in the United States. The winner of this year's individual title at the National Poetry Slam in Seattle was Mayda del Valle, 23, of Chicago, who moved to New York only a year ago and competed as part of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe's team.
She won with two poems: "Descendancy," about the frustrations of being stereotyped and limited by labels, and "Tonguetactics," a defense of Spanglish.
"It's a different experience to be a Puerto Rican from Chicago and a Puerto Rican from New York, but there are similar underlying experiences," Ms. del Valle said. "The sense of not belonging in Puerto Rico and not belonging in the United States is something everyone goes through. I consider myself part of the movement and I definitely feel the connection."
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is still home for many Nuyorican poets and remains a thriving poetry hub, but its neighborhood has become trendy and expensive and freer of crime and drugs. The cafe has broadened its audience and core way beyond its bohemian Puerto Rican roots. At the recent Friday poetry slam, about 120 people crowded around tables and lined the bar: college-age, beer- drinking, well-behaved Latinos, blacks, whites and Asians.
Nuyorican poets today also read at places like the Point in the Bronx, Bar 13 in Greenwich Village and the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery. Some earn a living conducting poetry workshops in schools and traveling for readings at colleges; others hold day jobs in the news media and publishing.
And they are often found not only reading but also acting and singing in their own shows and performance pieces. "Spic Chic," a one-man show opening at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe this month, features poetry, music, drama and monologues to portray Puerto Rican pride in surviving life in the United States.
Luis Chaluisan, 44, the show's creator, calls it "the further adventures of an unrepentant Rican with no self- pity."
"You know what a Nuyorican is?" Mr. Chaluisan asked. "It's someone who finds solutions. How do I surmount this?"
But despite the vibrant scene and the poets' increasing opportunities to read, teach and be published, the work remains largely marginalized, some poets said. Most of it is not read by mainstream critics and scholars, does not find its way into major literary journals or magazines that publish poetry and is underrepresented in bookstores, they said.
Martín Espada, 44, who has published six collections of poetry and is a professor of English and Spanish at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, says this situation partly reflects the dearth of Puerto Rican editors in the publishing industry. And he says it might also show distaste for reminders of the poor social and economic conditions many Puerto Ricans have endured in this country.
"Puerto Rican poets are chroniclers," said Mr. Espada, a Brooklyn native who cites as his early influences the novel "Down These Mean Streets," by Piri Thomas; the poem "Puerto Rican Obituary," by Pedro Pietri; and "Short Eyes," which was later made into a film.
"We write about the same things everybody writes about," he said. "The difference is that the people who populate our poems suffer from the system that we live under rather than benefit from it; therefore our work is considered political."
Nuyorican poets have expressed a wide range of opinions on "Piñero," written and directed by Leon Ichaso ("El Super," "Crossover Dreams").
Founders and veterans of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, like Mr. Algarin and Mr. Pietri, who also appear in the movie, attended its premiere last month in New York. Some, like Ms. Esteves and Mr. Espada, criticized the choice of Piñero as a subject, noting that there were other worthy poets with less sensational lives, or who transcended drugs or other problems and did not die young.
"Hollywood and Broadway gave us `West Side Story,' " Mr. Espada said. "Decades go by, and what did we get? We got `Capeman.' Why is it that our hero has to die in the end?"
Many other poets, however, said they were moved and energized by the film, which not only recognizes an American literary movement but gives younger generations a sense of being part of a continuum.
"It was validating in saying we exist," Mariposa said. "Not only are we still here, but we have a tradition and a history."
Among some of these younger Nuyorican poets, Piñero remains an icon.
"The language that he used was his biggest influence," Mr. Perdomo said. "He made the street come alive. You could hear people on the street talking the same way. He represented poets who were giving voice to the voices."
Now Mr. Perdomo and his peers are forging their own legacy. A manager at Henry Holt & Company who has published one poetry collection and a children's book in verse, Mr. Perdomo said he wrote with a sense of threat, as the Puerto Rican population in New York shrinks.
"Puerto Ricans on the Lower East Side are being pushed toward the river," he said. "People are moving back to Puerto Rico. A lot of the writing is coming from a sense of urgency."
His goal, he said, was "to leave a solid body of work behind, so that that kid on 110th Street can go to the library and have his world turned upside down and find a voice."
Chessboard Benches Please do not acquire more damage Release the savage inside That doesn’t allow your pride to thrive How will these corrupted breaths Allow you to survive Dispense negative of what you inherited Cherish these moments so precious How could you let it go Last pull tired yawning Pacing back forth For the next shaky sense Intensely seeking spiritual blessings Mere presence doesn’t mean You been provided collided with chance Couldn’t even explain Your business plan To overstand the world in hands How would you change it Can’t pray away the pain Figure out how to get used To captivate the clueless Absolutely empty mind Blind with empty banks Blank get the reaction When you hear the honk Stomp out any fire burning Dream chapters of life Unfinished diminished returns For no more pleasure How did you ever keep it together Whatever pieces to the puzzle Shuffled around with band Banned because of contraband Still know the cheats to contra Dance knowing nothing unlimited Except love might die Tomorrow slow future Questioning have I been writing Only bull when red chased with henny Ask me about plenty of lonely Away from spotlight Wasn’t close enough to tan skin Whatever jam you in Can always smooth out rough edges Many spots be more focused on Potato wedges than poetry So pardon me for not making a sooner appearance Just a few things Dealing with outside the margin Believe so much of block bochinche Bulimic to the bullshit Tried to dress up pour cologne Ignoring how you burned away The breeze seize what you see So you can always be free



That’s what I do
Said young Gerald McGrew
I’d make a few changes
If I ran the zoo Dr Seuss

Why are these lions in a cage
With no roar
Why can’t they be the kings of the rumble
Let them play freely across concrete
Become our allies to defeat the enemy
We all striking out the same evils
The power directly goes straight back
To the people the children lead us
Towards harmony away from harm
Ring the alarm on all the lies told
Find yourself lost in the truth
Libraries overflowing
With the canon you created
To declare peace treaties
With pendejos who ignore
The poetry of life
But listen to the comedy of death
From here on
Let every breath
Be in tune with survival of Mother Earth
Who walked us down the aisle
Wiped our snot even cleaned our ass
All we doing
Trying to make that flame last
Reclaim your reasons
Reshape your reality
No more autotuning your tragedy
Your voice vindicating violation
Originally only wanted to speak your crime
Opening eyes and blinking
Even your nostrils flare
Got them besides self
Can’t understand the situation
All victims of different systems of plantations
Can’t escape the chain
Just loosened the lock as they tightened the noose
Ain’t screwed too tight
So gravity can let me swag
Never pretty boy more like gritty boy
If you understood my funk you might pinch your nose
Prose the dirt under my toes
Feeling connected to the ground
As it goes down we must make it rise
Hood should be fueled by renewable energy of cries
Every streetlight beaming
Instead of come up scheming collectively organize
Dictators assaulted my peaceful philosophy
One of my only toys was a cracked liberty bell
On the battlefield between
GI Joe and Cobra Commander
As a shorty I believed America was truly free
All that popular propaganda
Free your mind and your body will follow
Free your soul and you might smile tomorrow
Don’t let them put you in a cell
Make your chains rattle
If don’t know now you know
Knowledge is half the battle


June 30th 2011, Amari Anthony Mohan Morales was born at 104 am. God bless the beautiful son. He is amazing, growing getting better everyday. Us, still figuring out how to be the best parents ever. Someone said you just gotta mess your kids up a little less than your parents did to you. Look at how well I turned out. Damn, trying to be better than however flawed I am. First sneeze, first smile, first everything. Being reborn through him has made me question my entire existence. Thanks Michael and Rachel for doing such a wonderful job to get me to this place. Now I gotta handle the rest. My moms told me to man up. She was so right.


think about it bo

Dear President Obama,

Imagine 109th Street
The wind is not a kind stranger
That fabled night you arrived
In NYC with no friendly names
In your tattered phonebook
Even the corner couldn’t hook you up
With something to keep your insides warm
The heater is coughing steam
Only growls like echoes of empty stomach
In all floors above
You scramble on the stoop
Hoping the super would hear
Your silent screams
A squad car pulls up
Asking for ID because
Your shadow has no purpose
Loitering in the lobby
Of soon to be luxury condos
As you fumble with your transcript
Letter of acceptance
Credentials testifying on your behalf
You see that the declaration of independence
Dipped by with same speed
As the pope riding through the hood

Nighttime under that orange streetlamp
Colors the sunny shade of bright dreams
In the back of paddy wagon
You continue to say audacity over and over
Mostly in awe of how quick this city
Will experience your naivete
Without noticing any trace of benign neglect
This is a test
That your biracial charm
Acerbic wit and determined pragmatism
Won’t let you pass
Your last Newport was smoked on
The way to the block where
You were eager to organize the residents
If only that poster of Che
Could lead you hasta la Victoria siempre
You wouldn’t be spending
Your big apple inauguration
With a cheese sandwich buffet
All that change jingling
Won’t buy you a phone call
Back to Grandma
To explain this unfortunate set
Of circumstances confining you to this cell
However loud you yell
You are met with blank stares
Saying sympathetically I hear you
Even though the whispers of the wind
Barely believe your improbable life story
Being held hostage is not healthy
For your bills still searching for your queen
Through smoky clubs two stepping
A cha cha cha fingers pinching
That clip you stashed between the cover
Of a beaten up bible and Genesis
Moments like these will give birth
To more Jena 6
Arresting the development
Of the whole hood’s population
Mumbling the bassline
To the Emancipation Proclamation
While you feel victimized you start to sympathize
With Mumia wishing you had the key
To free all those faces similar
Looking down at their palms in grief
Of how their god loving country
Has kept them gassed up in the ghetto
Shocked at how many times
You are asked for your social security
Until your bad breath identifies you
Like a smudged fingerprint
On your permanent record destined to follow you
Like campaign promises that you won’t follow through
What type of power would you need
To push up the mountain
With your back to the wall
With the White House about to fall
On top of your high arching lefty jumper
You could change the game
From dead horse to live hope
With only trick shots on hoops with no nets
When privilege gets pressed
The pressures rises to crush your resume
As your references are rattled
And the most perfect union is shattered
Where would you be?
President of the tenants association
In some dead presidents’ projects
Patrolling the hallways to push young boys
To smoke indoors as opposed to empty staircases
Still navigating the maze searching for the cheese
All because that night
You didn’t run when
When they said freeze


yes my son

You better smile with sunshine
because you don't want face stuck
On those cloudy frownys
In that shack
Shaking something turned brownies
Sprinkles on the frostings
You remember when
You heard this story before
That reminded you
Of your transcendent greatness
Moods have no loyalty
To your deliberate intentions
How horrible would it be
To die without knowing how to live
Dance with the beauty of a child
Deliver the promise of a newborn
The masterplan is to reconnect with your spirit
Let your angels bugalu through your lyrics

Your lips should tremble at the truth
Those tiny seconds become wonders of the world
Hovering through the natural facts
The actual stacked on top of
Reality painted by the numbers
Distracted by the skeletons in the closet
Moths sucking marrow from bones
Resurrect remembrance
To scream love supreme
Throughout the concrete jungle
Where hearts colder than frozen vegetables
Quick to chill slow to thaw
Emotions tightly aggy
Like denim dreams baggily tight
Outta mind outta sight
On the edge of what would drop from eyes
Cries melted wax on cement
From flickering candles
Beads bandanas bottles and blunts
In front of the building
Healing and building with feeling exhaled
Poured into puddles and piles
A homie hollered hope in the drunken freestyle
All you could say was I hear you
The peace we rest in
Allows peaceful confessions
Revenge fueled regrets
Drip off the sky like leaky rain
The arc of your eye
Could transmit various shades
Of violence vibrantly with subtle silences
Right after it all evaporates
A brand new day could wash away all the pain
How lovely is the block
In the mid morning after everyone has gone
To work on independence
From public housing colonized confidence
Much more capable than the corner
You confined to cells like rotating doors
To reveal the realness
Exchanging currency
To certify how g are your credential
You checked out before arrival
Running reckless don’t ensure survival
Could you cite you side conversations
As solid evidence of any research
Block is your cathedral
Grind spot is church
Bochinche was mixed blessings
Spoke your name in vain
Without understanding the pain in fame
All a part of a lane that connects
Those empty bottles reflecting
The fire in our guts
That get spilled right after rolling up
Take a good peek
To see how far you can reach
Those stars seem closer than ever
Through overcast weather
Matches the inner temperature
Drop below to rise above
Scratching the surface
Seeking the purpose
Trapped underground
In purgatory trying to purge impurity
100 percent art official
With natural flavorings
Liver quivering with chaos
Confusion congested chest
Spit the phlegm of how I feel
Funerals are unfun and unreal
Grown children being killed hydroponically
Cumatively count the killings chronologically
Corrupted our psychology with no apologies
Beg your pardon
For my heart starting to harden
My ice grill softens often
Thinking about you in the coffin
You are resurrected and remembered
Message won’t get returned
Homie ANT the sender


This poem wants to be revolutionary (after Mari Roberts) | En La Orilla

This poem wants to be revolutionary (after Mari Roberts) | En La Orilla

Visit Me

Boricuas Stand Up!

always passed by never knew what it was

Woodrow Wilson Triangle

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park. Clason Point War Memorial
This monument honors the residents of Clason Point who gave their lives during World War I. The seven-foot high bronze sculptural relief of a female figure, by James Novelli (1885–1940), is set within an 11-foot tall, gray granite stele. The work was commissioned at a cost of $3,500 by the residents of Clason Point in 1928.

Clason Point is a community in the central Bronx bounded by White Plains Road and the Bruckner Expressway to the north, Pugsley’s Creek to the east, the East River to the south, and the Bronx River to the west. Early inhabitants were Siwanoy Native Americans, whose villages dotted the nearby shoreline of what is today the Bronx. European settlers dubbed the peninsula Cornell’s Neck (after local farmer Thomas Cornell), and it was later renamed for Isaac Clason, a wealthy local merchant.

The sculptor James Novelli was born in Sulmona, a province of Aquila, Italy, in 1885. His family settled in New York when he was five years old, and at an early age he impressed his teachers at P.S. 23 with his natural artistic skill. Novelli returned to Italy in 1903 to study, and while a student earned an honorable mention for his artwork submitted to the International Exposition in Paris, France, in 1906. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Rome in 1908.

Returning to New York, where he resided at West 23rd Street in Manhattan, Novelli was much in demand as a sculptor of funeral and public monuments. Besides this monument, he also created the Saratoga Park War Memorial (1921; stolen and destroyed in 2000) in Brooklyn, the Winfield War Memorial (1926) in Queens, and bronze mausoleum doors in Calvary Cemetery (1923) for which he won the Henry O. Avery Prize for sculpture. In the 1930s, Novelli worked on Parks monuments conservation crew. However, during the Great Depression, his own artistic career languished, and after growing increasingly despondent, Novelli took his own life in 1940.

The City acquired this modest triangle in 1912 through condemnation when it was laying out streets in the vicinity. It became parkland in 1927, and was named Woodrow Wilson Square (later modified to Triangle) after Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924), the 28th President of the United States. During his long and active career in and out of government, Wilson served as president of Princeton University (1902–1910), governor of New Jersey (1911–1913) and for two terms as President of the United States(1913–1921). He was actively involved in the World War I armistice and the creation of the League of Nations, and for his efforts was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919.

The Clason Point War Memorial includes inspirational quotations by presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), William McKinley (1843–1901), and Wilson. The latter, alluding to the Wilson administration’s role in World War I and the Treaty of Versailles peace agreement, reads, “That the world may be made safe for democracy.”

In the fall of 2000, the Parks monuments crew cleaned the stele, and refinished the bronze relief by Novelli. Already containing a venerable American elm tree (Ulnus americana), and existing pagoda dogwoods (Cornus alternifolia) and a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), the surrounding site was upgraded through a city-sponsored Greenstreets contract. The renovation included new sidewalks, sod, and the inclusion of an Eastern redbud flowering tree (Cercis canadensis), an Eastern redcedar shrub (Juniperus virginiana), fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), rose bay rhododendron, black-eyed susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta), and a spreading English yew (Taxus baccat).

throwback post from the reverend

the reverend's last interview...he prescribes what our future should be.....

"First draft is you scribbling it on a notebook, or a paper, or a napkin and you read it there. And if you make mistakes, man, it makes the poem much more interesting and exciting, and that’s when history started being made....Spanglish is not an indication of an inferior mind, but it is an indication of an imagination that should be completely fertile. You got to be brilliant, not dumb!...I want to get better. I am getting better, but not by following orders. I have to do my own thing..... There’s no end to the phenomenon, The First Draft Nuyorican Poetry Movement."

props to acentos...new shit!!!

New Bio

Anthony Morales is a writer/educator from the Bronx who has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry and toured the US and Puerto Rico. He currently is a English facilitator at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Brooklyn, NY. He has published three books, Story Avenue (2004), Chevere Cafre (2009), and Dice Queso (2010). Most recently, he was published in a Puerto Rican multimedia multigenre journal, enlaorilla.com. Look out for the digital wave in 2011 and beyond.


Barrios Suave Rico

His purpose was not punctuality

Wore clothes three sizes too big
So they could be handed down

Dragged himself to class
Like the empty bookbag about to fall
Flat with an empty binder

Sancocho method of notetaking
Mezcla in mind

Wants everything he feels he is owed
In the future to drop from the sky

Tomorrow so that life could be easy
Without having to do work

School is just sucking
Away time I could be asleep

An even brighter idea to nod off
In the closet baba coming from
A mouth used for talking shit
As opposed to building nations

Borinken breaks its back
Everytime you get left behind

The flag flies a lil lower when you fail
Coquis stop cantando when you quit
When El Cantante sang Mi Gente
He really mean ustedes

Realize our liberty is tied
To your independent spirit

But when you feel hopeless
It is a creature of your own design

The patent is pending on you ending the pain
Your brain is your greatest natural resource
But intelligence is in short supply

Demand on dumbshit could overflow
The dow jones with shocking bondage

Chained to the corner claimed you were committed
But the ghetto’s grown on you
Like a street sign in the middle of your forehead

The sidewalk traces your steps
For guidance you growl at the gutter

Take every bit of hood wisdom uttered
To certify your authentic credentials are fitted

In the image of funnyhouse mirrors
With distorted reflections on your visions of perfection

Knowledge of self greatest weapon
Against self deception

When you are slipping
You are stuck on stupid

Your destiny gets destroyed
By decibels of ignorance screaming
I don’t give a fuck

The sky whispered
God bless
Good luck

Always be divine

Even though we mixing the messages
It will be constantly sent

No ignoring the radius
Of sonic airwaves

This is available whenever
Maybe the path where
You thought you wouldn’t be

Why is me
In the middle of this exodus

Seeking genesis to remember
This anger jealous of everything

We reject project the experiment
On avenues so grand
Wouldn’t you be a little shaky

With your mystery not meant for
The misery though it loves
Franchising and outsourcing the company

Running from fear
Turning towards respect and reverence

The evidence is the experience
An expert at showing the love

Waxing gross to display raw elements
No pretending in the temple

Which continues to throb
Shopping for inspiration

Reconnect with the roots
Be fruitful with your knowledge
Never cutting off your wisdom
Most definitely saying grace

Saving those blessings
To gain interest but never for just
The end means brand new beginning
Worthy to receive immaculate
Exclusive so please don’t touch the radio

To remind of the renaissance
When discipline determination
Began testing your patience

Waited for the sign
Been posted in front of face

Never late just in time for introduction
Seduction of spirit dancing salsa

To your struggle watusi chachacha hustle
Bugalu to your blues

Not meant to be confused speaking parables
If you hearing then listen
If you seeing look closer

Exposure naked without shame
Laying blame for burning bush

Hoping you would recognize
Times wanting savior
To shake cage rattle chains

Tossing devils in fire
Temptation never tires
The Diablo a liar

Every prayer makes the warrior
Move forward on the mission

No false religion
When God on speed dial

Feel the spirit in words
When you free style


Salsa En Ingles

Reminds me of the fuzzy tape
My moms used to bump
On Saturday mornings

I’ll always love you by Tito Nieves
Los Beatles turning quick cucarachas

Misplaced montuno mistaken mambo
Timbales off time sidestepping off rhythm

Repertoire been expanded
To regular crossover pop
To be accepted for radio consumption

Conjunction with salsoul y bugalu
But much more sanitized

Revision by hipster critics reviews
To certify the new sensation
Worthy of a watusi to make its way
Out the hood colonial imperialists
Consuming culture quickly disposable

Never recycled through the mic
Heard many tragedies
Like the apathy over
Irresponsible ownership left
The boogie down machine in a vacant lot

Challenge to balance
Hunts Point Palace Latin Quarters Sidestreet
Competing with Wild Palm and Havana Central

Fundamental failure to appreciate Fania
When stations tuned to reggaeton

Darselo en una manera
That never makes you te ta quieta

Only scream wepa asi

This smooth jazz won’t be sponsored
By Don Q and Bacardi

Different poisons brings same death
Those same breaths make you choke on spit
Because the riff comes with short solos

Couldn’t dare witness destruction dolo
Share the agonizing marketing vision
To distance us from ourselves

More confined to the system
Sticks tapping terrorizing timbales

Few decades passed without
Superstars gigging through sazon circuit

About to scream Capicu on the way
To court balancing paz y justicia
On uneven scales peeking through blindfold
To see freedom in funky smoky room

Make sure you bump
Official Africa groove trikita trikitu
2nd Sunday in June

Ghost Dog Exodus

Funny how far
The bx 5 bus can take you

Reminiscing old flavors
To savor fresh taste of death

To former versions that never got
Edited credited to never pick up

Lift up the healing that can be
Found in quiet moments when
Volume turned down

Focus on the picture getting fuzzy

Would you love me
If you knew everything

Want to keep the pain for myself

Not pass on this spoiled milk

Far away from fly on wall
Holding up the ceiling

To catch feelings on the low
Not to annoy neighbors

Let this monotony end
With our dusty generation

Centuries unseen we making
Sunset seem sinister
Once was sweet before
Stopping for motivation

Catch the headline without
Seeing the circulation

Let the ink flow freely
Without being trapped

React to weight heavy
On shoulders as we getting older
Should be some elevation

Plateaud on platform
Searching for next level

Several to couple back to few

Let you see only you in the mirror
With set of droopy eyes

Skies been calling you
Message wasn’t sufficient to reply

For some reason
The surface wouldn’t crack
Lack of substance abuse algorithm

Apologies probably
For polygamous prophets
Kick knowledge not profit

Soul continued to lose
Regained the physical
Temple in tune with spiritual

Breeze slapping chest
Begging new epiphany

Typically tainted with ancient
Options to open actualizing

Hearing angels over demons chorus

To calculate the chaos
With leftovers to heat up

So many voices
Couldn’t hear yourself think

Paying attention
Left a down payment on deficit

Waves crash smoothly
Against all thickness

Struggle will bubble
But when will
You turn down the flame

Boogie Wonderlandia

The down feels tougher than the ups

So many trips I would need
To renew my interborough passport

Make sure you have the dictionary
Ready for slang translation
What’s cracking might get you cracked
What’s popping might have you deflated

The most impoverished district in the nation
You could sell 25 cent bags at the cornerstore
Of bbq frustration
And sour power sucka shit
Deuce deuce of death carbonated cutthroat
All designed to boost your pride
To biblical hellish proportions

Caution signs along with no to every action
Fashion is impeccable the runway is the lobby

Rewrite the rainbows find the chain of gold
Underneath the bench brown paper bag
Full of work quick to get doubled

Salt in a struggle wound quick to bubble

Blood could change color of the Bronx River
Jose the Beaver eager to put condos
Close to the kingdom so
He could bring dames to his dams

From birth want you in one of those programs
With acronyms initials official systems
Of dependency chemical bureaucracy
Twice a month check has you connected to the democracy

How to slap back segregation
Is overcoming discrimination
Impatiently craving freedom without actualizing

More centralizing the glossy glare
Of eyes glazed to escape the maze
With early entrances often exiting
Without noticing promoting a headline act
But the stage show ain’t worked out
Just a bunch of hypeman screaming
Get your hands up at the crowd

All those bootlegs lost and found trying to recover
What was left behind in due time
This might become a destination vacation
Thankful the shade grows in daylight

The Bronx is yearning for its history to be told
Each corner can have its only chapter
The barrios fill in the betweens

Those covers pulled tight to chins protect that chill
One of the places in the universe understand how I feel

Sincere Ignorance

Take I don’t know
Plus I don’t give a fuck
Add anxiety
Amplify attitude
Divide doubt
Multiply the mind by zero
Zone out to fantasies future
Inhale to push reality faraway
Embrace the inevitable
And forget about faith
Play hangman with hope
Ambition dipped down the fire escape
Leaving better memories behind to burn
Resume should read real shit
Experience surviving the street sucka
Education from school of hard blocks of Barrio
Culo caga’o copywritten on your fitted cap
Pledge allegiance to porqueria
Married to mierda on the mente
Much rather drink than vote for a Presidente
You feel euphoria when they mistake you for a genius
Don’t know shit and really mean this
Lack of knowledge but high IQ of nonsense
Nonchalant about chivalry
Gentlemen trembling proven uncouth ruffian
Moving distant from truth’s discussion
More interested in the fake niggas fronting
Who face you in the mirror
Even when crystal clear vision stay foggy
No being on point or alert just fuzzy and groggy
A blink renews the perspective
Gathered a collective company who loves misery
First season of episodes was bad enough
Licensing deals to sequels and trilogies
The violence could fill volumes
The DVD will have in depth interviews
Detailing the degrees of how dumbed down
The daily drama has become
We have only just begun
The record barely got spun before
Funk Flex dropped a bomb
Bottles got cracked instead of popped
Everybody saw the body drop
The crowd got quieter than feathers freefalling
The wind freestyled whatever
You went with the breeze bouncing
Like basketballs in dark courts
With streetlights illuminating the setting
For absolutely not regretting recognizing
The rhythm hidden within your veins
Develops the blood pumping in your brain
To trigger a synapse causing the collapse
Of what’s left in your physical empire
You call this artificial life
All the force has run out
And you are still trying
To get extra games with cheat codes
That have not been proven to work
Bunch of empty living
Like dying right after birth

elevation in eleven

Run as fast as you plan

Been running that marathon
Bright sights bigger frights
In the gritty grabbing hold

Searching for the strength
To squeeze tears at full speed

Pace yourself
Get in rhythm with your breath
Endurance to have
Something in the tank
So you could start to cook with gas

So much stamina to stay steady
The gospel asked are you ready

You sat stunned
But you got to be quick on those feet

Seen chapters of your life
Scattered like when your bookbag was stolen
Schoolyard full of random rexographs
Where you filled in the blanks
Enough to get extra credit

Now a daily debit on your debt to society
Lack of sobriety cause your parents
Shoulders burdened carrying ancestors stones
Push those rocks up the mountain
So your spot in the sun
Would never be shady

So many other choices by other people
Lets your voice choke on every coulda
But your perspective in the Petri dish
Got you picking boogers

Because there’s nobody to play with
Except yourself but those rules
Have changed and you forgot all the games
It’s a manhunt to steal the bacon
Thundercat in hot lava can’t you see you it?

Tagging existence to proclaim
Your right to recognition
But who gives a fuck if no one is listening?

Introducing yo fux that nuh name
I don’t give a pluck who you are
So luck who you are

At the bar pulling or chugging
Can’t g the city you bugging

Will get reminders
From absent minded tour guides
Leading down a one way dead end
Without letting you know
The city is on fire

Enough breeze to leave you shaking
Mistakes around stain
In concrete where the acid got down
To ground up all night
To see destiny sold without making
The highest bid to acquire
Enough possessions that your purpose
Is unquestioned

The decade’s material
Provides enough nutritious minerals
That your typical could never fathom
Physical with atomics phantom
Spiritual a spanglish ebonics anthem
To lift cada voz
And think
Make earth and heaven

To perpetually grow
Towards reflection and action
One big cipher
Where perfection is passed

So that the family
Can celebrate
Infinite bendiciones

Brindis to the block
Toast to taking it back
Salud for everything we see
Can I get a vaya for victory
Right on for revolution
An ashe for living free