What Do I say to my niece?

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A Loss In Words

What do I say to my niece?
This endless violence won’t cease.
My only hope that it will decrease
Before I am deceased.
At night I’m supposed to sleep
But I can only weep
Over the lives that could not keep
The souls that death chose to reap
Do I tell her that this all about race
That the color of face
Determines her place
In society’s good grace.
No tv tells me that’s not true
This violence can happen to me or you
Yet the only deaths in my view
Leave a distinctly colored residue
I don’t want another excuse!
It’s past time to introduce
The definitive way to reduce
This pattern of abuse.
You want help? I’ll be the first to volunteer
Just don’t be insincere
Or even worse, disappear
From our quest due to fear.
It’s gonna take all of us to make this change
Though at first it may be strange
Great ideas we will exchange
Monumental plans we will arrange.
We will succeed because our goals are right
And it all won’t happen overnight
But you tend to have to fight
To remove a society’s blight.
Every night I dream of this peace
For the bloody news to cease
Giving me an increase
In good news for my niece.

Stop Watching

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Over the past week, everyone’s given their opinion about Caitlin Jenner. I’ve heard every opinion under the sun, from informed to ignorant and everything in between. I’m willing to listen to any take on it, but there’s one viewpoint that kept coming up:

Why is this the top news story over everything else? The answer is simple. Keeping up with the Kardashians has an average of a million viewers at its height. A news outlet would miss a huge opportunity for ratings by not talking about Caitlin. Our news, movies and tv are all a product of what we watch and respond to. Even House of Cards exists from pulling together the most viewed shows on Netflix and putting them together. If you want to affect society, you have to be mindful of what you choose to watch.

Or better yet, take action.

Though a bit of a long intro, it all segues to an older poem of mine. Enjoy :).

The Watchman
Watch
Definition:
To act as a spectator
Or to Look on…
5 days.
I am sitting at the bar
A boy with glasses
And no idea how to flirt
Enters with a calzone and a hope
To attract the skinny girl
Bobbing her head to the music.
It doesn’t work.
Laughter ensues from the bar
Like a chorus of hyenas
Drunk hyenas
Who just can’t stop laughing
4 days.
I’m in a subway train car
With no AC
On an 100 degree day
A man
Who has not bathed
Since Obama was elected
Walks through the tight space
Begging for change.
In this sauna of city slickers slipping silently through the subway
Every hand remains frozen
No change today.
3 days.
A stoop in Brooklyn
Where brown paint cracks
On all the steps
A middle aged Spanish woman
Grips my young self lightly
As a gang of middle school students
Literally tear
Through the streets.
Bashing cars
Like they were piñatas
And their grand prize
Was destruction.
It’ll be another half hour
Before we can even go to the corner store.
2 days.
Smoke billows
In the sky
A neverending stream.
On an old grey couch
Made for 3
A family of five sits
Transfixed
On the day’s events
Rolling on the screen
A constant stream of fear
And Uncertainty
It is 2001
And I don’t believe
There’s anything else
On TV today.
1 day.
We were raised
To Watch
Not to see
When all that is needed
Is a warm word
Or a gentle touch.
Made to stare
But to never move.
Built to look past
Not to look at what’s present.
This world rewards watching
With a smile
And a lighter load on your back.
For you it is a simple life
Easygoing
And free
As a breeze on a spring day.
But I want to become a hurricane
Blowing gusts of change
And bearing loads heavier
Then wind was made to carry.
Because if there are no hurricanes
Then the smoke means nothing
But pain
A little boy stays stuck
On his grandmother’s stoop
A homeless man
Perpetually walks into
An uncaring hell
A boy with glasses
Knows no love
But laughter
And a countdown
Never reaches 0 days
Because 5 days
Was already too late.
The day
I become the hurricane
Is coming
I will embrace the storm
Instead of watching it go by.

The Battles In Between

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Recently, I’ve left my job in the pursuit of my passion for the arts. While I’ll talk more about the transition later this week, I can say one thing right away: it’s weird. And I think this goes far beyond leaving your job.

Whether you’re coming off an intense sports season, finishing school or even changing up your work schedule, there’s that feeling like you’re still a part of it all, but also a part of something…entirely different. I believe that the ancient Romans had a word for it: restless. Which so happens to be the name of this poem I wrote. Enjoy.

Restless

I fall
The battle is done.
Our side raises a glorious call
We have won.
My breath now back
I look ahead.
We’ve ended the attack
All our foes are dead.
What is life now
Now that their base has been breached?
We’ve owned up to our vow
The goal has been reached.
Do we seek out another fight,
Put ourselves again to the test?
Or would it be right
To finally rest?
How do we find
Peace at last
When in our mind
The war has not yet passed?

Messy Haired Girl

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Messy-haired Girl

I’d like to meet a messy-haired girl

Whose character is hidden beneath her curls

She can be a little unsure of herself

And look different from all the barbies on the world’s shelf

It’s a bonus if the messy-haired girl reads for fun

Then we’ll always dine on good conversation

She’d have a radiant mind shining strong and bright

It wouldn’t just be drenched in Twilight

If the messy haired girl also practices an art

Her life is definitely one I’d want to be a part

Tattoos, sports, piercings, don’t care if she has those things

Well, maybe I’d still have to get over mechanical tanning…

Anyway, if your hair so happens to be straight and dyed

But you still have a messy-haired girl inside,

I’d like to meet her right from the start

Because I’m really a messy haired boy at heart.

Have a Lovely Weekend

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Happy Friday! So, I hear that some humans on weekends have dates or significant others that they spend some special time with. I invite those people to take a moment for some romantically themed poems. And even if you’re not…well, might as well read them anyway, right? Enjoy 🙂

Those Eyes

Alone

Eyes

Are Pools of Colored Water

Slowly Shifting

Lives and Landscapes

Across their mirrored surfaces…

When I see yours

I remember

That eyes can be oceans

Brimming with beauty and wonder

Across their vast expanses

The sun reflected

Makes those oceans shine

Golden

And All I Want to Do

Is Swim.

Hipsters In Love

Our Romance

Is Like So Retro

It’s like this old sweater

From the Thrift Shop

I never knew I wanted

Until it was right there.

I want to make you a mixtape

On my macbook pro

At Starbucks

(Ironically, of course)

I’d love to make us mainstream

But it’s still pretty cool

To have something

That nobody’s heard of yet.

Haikus For You

Telephone Call

I don’t have Enough
Enough time to say I love
Huh? Talk to..too late.

Comedian

I haven’t written
A joke since the accident.
That won’t change today.

Springtime

Sat in the window.
Watched you leave my life and heart.
The weather was great.

For Someone Like You

I can’t seem to stop
Writing poems about love…
Ing Pudding. And You.

Symbolic

Today I threw out
The wing of a butterfly
Didn’t Affect Me.

Black and White History

Happy Black History Month! In order to kick it off, I thought I’d go with something near and dear to my heart: acting.

No Romeo and Juliet here. The type of acting I mean is the type that everyone does. The choices in personality, hobbies and people that we make every day. As you’re well aware, in many places, America especially, you’re expected to make certain choices based on your economic status, gender, location and of course, race.

And I think that’s bullshit.

As a black/puerto rican man, I’ve been expected to do everything from freestyle rap on the spot (give me 2 minutes at least), dance the bachata (give me at least 6 to remember the steps) and know every rapper in the game (I honestly listen to more Rise Against). But the biggest  thing that I’m expected to be: black.

What does that mean? Depends on the person. Some people expect me to use certain slang, others expect me to be a legitimate threat. When I use certain vocabulary, some people say “i’m acting white”. This is always surprises me, because I haven’t tried out miming in at least 18 years. And this phrase horribly disregards every experience I’ve had leading up in my life to a single moment and reduces it to one factor: my race.

We’re in 2015, and I have no definite solution to this occurrence. All I can say is that there are people who look past race to judge character in my life, and for every person that has done that and continues to do so, I thank you. So until the rest of the world comes around, the best thing to do is to channel those feelings of frustration and ignorance into something better.

Like a poem.

Without further ado, please enjoy:

Red, White, Blue, Yellow

They want me to be “white”, America

My grammar must be exquisite.

I always need to speak in full sentences.

I should wear a suit and a tie everywhere I go.

But when I dress and talk

The way you would have me

I am told:
“You speak well for a black man

But we know what you are.

You should be that instead.”

They want me to be “black”, America.

A loose flow of words

And short phrases

Barely

Connected

Through a couple of rhyming verbs.

Things you heard

A million times before

But you know the score

So homie, don’t be sore

When I bust these rhymes down like a door

And−

“What was that? No more?”

Hey!

Is this your way

To say

“Stop tryin’ to be black.

That’s not what you are

You’re better off actin’ white!”

I’m not white, America.

But I am Puerto Rican!

Mi gentes?

They want me to be Hispanic, America

To speak Span-Ish

To dance the bachata

To listen to some salsa

To make some arroz con pollo

To say me jamo

Excuse me, me llamo…

Que tu dices?

“No, no, no, papi. Tu no comprendes es-pan-ol.

Be…” something else?

So what’s my choice, America?

Black, White, Hispanic, Jamaican, British, Russian, Irish?
How about a human being, America?

A being that speaks in full sentences,

Although, from time-to-time my grammar will slip

And dip

Into a rhyming pattern.

One who can say hola

And yo.

And hello.

To be who I am,

Not just what you want to be, America.