Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Seekin' the Cause

Hola mi gente,

For those who don’t know, Miguel Piñero was one of the great Nuyorican poets. I perceive the Nuyorican Movement as part of an identity movement by NY Puerto Ricans that spanned all the arts and political activism. Nuyorican Poets and Musicians would change the art of the spoken word and music and influence many artists. For the most part Nuyorican poets were based in the neighborhood I was raised in, the Lower East Side of NYC’s Manhattan. The Lower East Side (or Loisaida, as we call it), was a neighborhood (since gentrified) that saw countless waves of marginalized groups claim it. When I was growing up there it was mostly a Puerto Rican neighborhood. It wasn’t unusual to see some of these poets on the street corners plying their trade. My father was part of and knew most of the early founders of the Nuyorican Poets.

If you’re ever in NYC, go to the Nuyorican Poets Café. The following is a clip from the film, Piñero, with Ecuadorian actor, Benjamin Bratt, playing the title role.

Seekin' the Cause

he was Dead
he never Lived
he died seekin' a Cause
seekin' the Cause
he said
he never saw the cause
but he heard
the cause
heard the cryin' of hungry ghetto children
heard the warnin' from Malcolm
heard the tractors pave new routes to new prisons
died seekin' the Cause
seekin' a Cause
he was dead on arrival
he never really Lived
uptown . . . downtown . . . crosstown
body was round all over town
seekin' the Cause
thinkin' the Cause was 75 dollars & gator shoes
thinkin' the Cause was sellin' the white lady to black
thinkin' the cause is to be found in gypsy rose or j. b.
or dealin' wacky weed
and singin' du-wops in the park after some chi-chiba
he died seekin' the Cause
died seekin' a Cause
and the Cause was dyin' seekin' him
and the Cause was dyin' seekin' him
and the Cause was dyin' seekin' him
he wanted a color t. v.
wanted a silk on silk suit
he wanted the Cause to come up like the mets & take the
world series
he wanted . . . he wanted . . . he wanted . . . he wanted
to want more wants
he never gave
he never gave

he never gave his love to children
he never gave his heart to old people
never did he ever give his soul to his people
he never gave his soul to his people
because he was busy seekin' a cause
busy perfectin' his voice to harmonize the national anthem
with spiro t agnew
busy perfectin' his jive talk so that his flunkiness
wouldn't show
busy perfectin' his viva-la-policia speech
downtown . . . uptown . . . midtown . . . crosstown
his body was found all over town
seekin' a Cause
seekin' the Cause
in the potter fields of an o. d.
in the bowery with the d. d. t.'s
his legs were left in viet-nam
his arms were found in sing-sing
his scalp was on Nixon's belt
his blood painted the streets of the ghetto
his eyes were still lookin' for jesus to come down
on some cloud & make everything ok
when jesus died in attica
his brains plastered all around the frames of the pentagon
his voice still yellin' stars & stripes 4 ever
riddled with the police bullets his taxes bought
he died seekin' a Cause
seekin' the Cause
while the Cause was dyin' seekin' him
he died yesterday
he's dyin' today
he's dead tomorrow
died seekin' a Cause
died seekin' the Cause
& the Cause was in front of him
& the Cause was in his skin
& the Cause was in his speech
& the Cause was in his blood
he died seekin' the Cause
he died seekin' a Cause
he died
he died
& never found his Cause
you see he never never
knew that he was the
 -- Miguel Piñero
You can watch Benjamin Bratt performing the piece in the film, Piñero, here. He does a bang up job.

* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…
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