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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Danette T.M. Vélez
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 04:11 PM
American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** Danette T.M. Vélez **

el barrio

found myself lost in el barrio,
the salty tears pour as raindrops on my lashes.

arrived at the place that welcomed abuelita.
arrived at the place that defined papí.
an unplanned moment that seemed incidental,
26 years in the making.

bodegas that satisfied appetites of familia
now placate insatiable hunger—
to comprehend,
what i could only understand
in this
connected space.

fueled by repatriation, disillusion, and confusion
walk the streets with silence inside
and the clamor outside
stumbling unto the pieces of my being:
la marqueta
116th street
along lexington ave.

simple symbolic street corners.
they are the essence of life.

what was once theirs is now mine.

roots – lives

embrace inheritance.
prepare to internalize and memorialize
its depth,
el barrio
claim it as my own.

Governmental Decoys

Buried in deceitful dirty deeds
Speaking in convoluted synchronized speeches
Sinisterly convincing the politically innocent

Replicating seductive spirituals,
do they really comprehend the calls and responses?
We blindly follow the falsified façade of faith.

You live insecurely
Engaging in thoughtless truths
and obligatory responses
meant to appease.

Elected to lead,
not deceive;
and, yet you continue
cloudy neglected virtuous endeavors
to win a plurality.

Wanting to lead and inspire,
you realize that you are nothing:
A scripted machine
emulating a Hollywood mentality
charged by an intern’s apprenticed initiative
thus responding apathetically to our concerns.

You codify language to emulate democratic rhetoric
through racist degradation and
using an electoral process your forefathers
implemented meant to abandon the true majority.

You are oblivious to the colors that speak.
The colors moving your capitalistic, colonizing, imperialistic nation
forward and backwards.

You deny the brown, black, red, and yellow
our rightful place.
Which is respectfully ours!
Speak the truth that speaks to us!
Give us back our liberty!

Bx—South Bronx

this is the Bronx bound train—
our next stop is 161st street-Yankee Stadium … making all local stops

ugh! the 4 train—exit to River Ave to the Grand Concourse
Bx is elegant in design, yet humble to inhabitants

Indulging in intensely sweet rich coco,
the satisfied children sprinkle coquitos on the black tar
during a suffocating summer sizzle.
oh, how we love the Bx.

kilmer park rises to their expectations
green space for a soothing stroll outside of the cramped
abuelita, abuelito, y mamá release their internal woes
on the benches
recalling the jubilant times in their country

ahh—the scorching air stifles all thought
the pungent odor infiltrates the nostrils
leaving them as a patient victim to
olfactory fatigue

it stretches deep into the south bronx,
but the people rise above
the outsider’s perspective.

It is their the silent rebellion
living strongly within.

Danette T.M. Vélez has studied ethic/multicultural American history and literature at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. During her post-undergrad time, Danette developed, organized, and researched oral history projects for The Historical Society of Washington, DC, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Shaw Heritage Museum (Washington, DC). Also, Danette facilitated meetings with diversity and cultural heritage initiatives for the Center for Latino Initiatives-Smithsonian Institute, National Endowment for the Humanities, N.E.A., and the Diversity Coalition (AAM). Danette spent a couple of years living in the Boogie Down Bronx as an educator for the New York City Department of Education. She earned her Master’s of Science in Elementary Education at Lehman College-City University of New York. While in New York City, Danette involved herself in the Nuyorican poetry scene. Currently, Danette lives in Chicago and volunteers her time at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center teaching GED.

Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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