Saturday, March 21, 2009


¡Hola! Everybody...
You know what I like less than intolerant religious fundamentalist? Fundamentalists who attempt to come off a “moderate” but still think my heathen ass won’t be saved unless I accept Jaysus Christ as my personal savior.


As usual, I hung with a group of friends last night, having dinner at my fave eatery, Casa Adela. Everybody loves Adela, and it’s not unusual to get there and find yourself elbow-to-elbow with noted Latino/a artists. Last night, one of favorite poets was there and he performed one of his pieces for us. I’m a huge fan of Tato Laviera, and was happy to see him in good health and spirits. Tato is one of the most important Puerto Rican writers, having influenced not just other Latino/as but also a huge figure in the spoken word movement. Today, I offer one of his poems...

* * *

-=[ AmeRican ]=-

-- Tato Laviera (1951-)

we gave birth to a new generation

AmeRican, broader than lost gold

never touched, hidden inside the

puerto rican mountains.

we gave birth to a new generation,

AmeRican, it includes everything

imaginable you-name-it-we-got-it


we gave birth to a new generation,

AmeRican salutes all folklores,

european, indian, black, spanish,

and anything else compatible:

AmeRican, singing to composer pedro flores’ palm

trees high up in the universal sky!

AmeRican, sweet soft spanish danzas gypsies

moving lyrics la espanola cascabelling

presence always singing at our side!

AmeRican, beating jibaro modern troubadours

crying guitars romantic continental

bolero love songs!

AmeRican, across forth and across back

back across and forth back

forth across and back and forth

our trips are walking bridges!

it all dissolved into itself, the attempt

was truly made, the attempt was truly

absorbed, digested, we spit out

the poison, we spit out the malice,

we stand, affirmative in action,

to reproduce a broader answer to the

marginality that gobbled us up abruptly!

AmeRican, walking plena-rhythms in new york,

strutting beautifully alert, alive,

many turning eyes wondering,


AmeRican, defining myself my own way any way many

ways, Am e Rican, with the big R and the

accent on the i!

AmeRican, like the soul gliding talk of gospel

boogie music!

AmeRican, speaking new words in spanglish tenements,

fast tongue moving street corner “que

corta” talk being invented at the insistence

of a smile!

AmeRican, abounding inside so many ethnic english

people, and out of humanity, we blend

and mix all that is good!

AmeRican, integrating in new york and defining our

own destino, our own way of life,

AmeRican, defining the new america, humane america,

admired america, loved america, harmonious

america, the world in peace, our energies

collectively invested to find other civili-

zations, to touch God, further and further,

to dwell in the spirit of divinity!

AmeRican, yes, for now, for i love this, my second

land, and i dream to take the accent from

the altercation, and be proud to call

myself american, in the u.s. sense of the

word, AmeRican, America!


Pedro Flores is a Puerto Rican composer of popular romantic songs.

“La espanola cascabelling” is Spanish for “Spanish (feminine form) covering themselves.”

Jibaro refers to the Puerto Rican farmer who lives in the mountains. The jibaros have a particular musical style.

Plena-rhythms refers to African-Puerto Rican folklore music and dance.

“Que corta” is Spanish for “that cuts.”

Destino: Spanish for destiny.

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