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Published On: Wed, May 26th, 2010

The Poetry of Maria Morales: Where I’m From…


1  Mi Gente… Today we welcome a new voice to our website….

Maria Rodriguez-Morales is a Brooklyn born Nuyorican Poet and published writer. A member of the NYC Latina Writers group, she has performed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Bowery Poetry Club. Lolita Lounge and Preguntas Arts Cafe. She facilitates a weekly poetry workshop and monthly open mic for inner city youth at the South Queens Boys and Girls Club. She is a married mother of four boys.

To find out more about the NYC Latina Writers group visit them on their Facebook page by clicking here!


Where I’m From 

I know where I’m at/Brooklyn bred /by way of East New York 
 
A Puerto Rican/Nuyorican/Latina/married /mother of four 
 
But tell me Where I’m from/ oblige me a bit more 
 
That rich port/that we’ve been taught/ Christopher Columbus founded 
 
The land where africanos were enslaved and bounded/ 
 
Where woman were scarce/ in a land so rich/ 
 
Tainas y Africanas were added to the mix/ 
 
And thus this beautiful spectrum of color/ 
 
Los blanquitos/negritos/ my brown sisters and brothers 
 
Descendants transcend cultural boundaries/ 
 
They transport me to my past/ 
 
I have come to ask/ almost afraid to admit 
 
That I was once immune to my history/ and its indigenous inhabitants 
 
I’ve searched for answers/ in lessons/ that schools didn’t teach 
 
Two stepping to Salsa beats/front to back/side to side/ the rhythm moving my feet 
 
Hector Lavoe/ Willie Colon/ El Gran Combo 
 
Lechones/bendiciones/y banos de flores 
 
The Saturday/ before the Puerto Rican Day Parade/ 
 
Cars of all types/would line up Broadway/ 
 
El ritmo de mi pais /blaring from every speaker/ 
 
Horns honking/flags waving/mi isla bonita 
 
And I felt alive/my heart overflowing with pride/ 
 
But once the sea of flags /that lined Fifth Ave/ were all gone/  
 
A part of me died/ 
 
My identity was compromised/ by MTV/Fly jewelry/dope kicks/French tips 
 
And yet I didn’t know shit/ 
 
Who were our heroes/our influential peoples/I wanted to know/ 
 
This is when I discovered Pedro Pietri/Tato Laviera/Miguel Pinero 
 
Jose Campeche/Piri Thomas/Lolita Lebron  
 
Just some of the Boricuas who paved the way/for some of my faves today 
 
Caridad de La Luz/Flaco and Lemon Andersen 
 
Years have passed/I am a mother of four boys/who will become four men/  
 
And I am determined to teach them/what I didn’t know then/ 
 
Its a shame/nowadays/ these kids know more/about Pop Culture than OUR culture

And the history/ of our people/ that have opened the doors/ 
 
I have a personal mission myself/for my sons/ 
 
And when I am done/ they will know where they’re at/but also where they are from.



The Poetry of Maria Morales: Where I’m From…