Jani Rose. October 3, 2014, Brooklyn NYC.
From time to time, when we are laughing, when we are smiling after the relief that yet another dark cloud has passed, the ominous enter the mind. Enough time had passed since the last shock of losing someone in my life for me to feel the presentiment. I felt the foreshadowing of an untimely loss. I had no idea who it would be, or how they would pass, but I knew it would feel like a cold hand on my throat when it did. I shook it off, because “asi es la vida”. We know those painful moments will come, but we keep our chins up. We think positive thoughts. We do what we must to keep balanced, smile, laugh, fulfill our basic needs and try to create the special moments that make life worth living.
Elizabeth lived that way; Taking full advantage of the amazing moments of lightness and sharing her joy. She sometimes lived a life tossed by hurricanes out over large ocean storms, trying to rise above. She was this beautiful, colorful, bright woman who believed wholly in transformation. All she wanted was to “become”. To find a safe space in which she could unfurl her big boisterous, beautiful wings and soar – the epitome of beauty. Everything she needed to do so was within her. She was a brilliant woman – Intelligent, talented, loving, compassionate, empathetic. Butterflies are the ultimate expression that nature has provided for us to see our potential for re-creation. And that is what she loved to do most, create. Butterflies personify serenity, they flutter gently, float lightly. Life did not allow for this and she became a butterfly in the hurricane. Her wings whipping in the wind, throwing rainbows through the misty light that reflected from her when she performed, when she took the mic and gave herself to her people. Her goal was always the true peace of landing on the flower and drinking in all the sweet nectar, she knew she deserved. She lives in us, those who loved her. The family, the poets, the warrior butterflies. The guerreras who refused to let adversity decide our destinies. I was in the process of enrolling her into Boricua College, where I am a student and was an admissions officer for the end ofsummer push. I sat in with her during orientation. All we needed was one document for her to begin in September. We didn’t have it, so we would wait until the new year to start fresh. I’m a founder and director of a poetic workshop series at Boricua college as well. She was revving up to sit with us each week until then. The news of Elizabeth’s passing shocked me to the core, there was a large part of my life that she would be part of that would echo the loss of her there with me. But I know her presence will be felt, we’ll make sure that we continue her legacy.
Her Saturdays would include poetry and performance workshops, time spent with people who understood her, who also lived in the tempest and make sense of the human experience through art and providing the expression that allows others to know that they’re not alone. She was not alone. Everyone I spoke to said they’d spoken with her within this last week. For that I am grateful. Pastor Carlos Lopez reached out to La Sopa, The Capicu School of Poetic Arts and asked that he be able to provide a grant for a poet/performer to be able to attend our workshops in her honor. He asked that I share his message.
“God bless you all. Liz, is an amazing soul. I will not say was because her spirit continues to live amongst us. And, to further celebrate her life I would like to honor her poetic & performing arts legacy with a scholarship in her memory. Liz will be attending this Saturday’s class as a student and a teacher. Her presence will be undeniable. She will forever be embodied in the essence of our urban poetry, vicariously living thru the words we write, the pages we live, the open books that we are. To the Cacique Queen of the Butterfly Tribe I say, Thank you. Thank you for blessing the city and this soul with the presence of your life & friendship. Te quiero mucho.
-Rev. Carlos M Lopez Garcia (Carlito’)”
All of my last conversations with Elizabeth involved education as a conduit for change and we were actively working toward creating a new life through self-actualization by way of the classroom as an expression of self-love. We extend our deepest gratitude to Pastor Carlos Lopez for the generous and loving gift of investing in the poet and their stories, and creating The Butterfly Tribe Scholarship in Honor of Elizabeth Rivera de Garcia. The blessing of working with others who seek the truth and understanding that comes with the release in writing and performance, connecting the dots to bring us together in this great human experience, is one which is a profoundly important. It is with great pleasure that we present the opportunity now, for one who is passionate about their craft and has a desire to participate in the upcoming season the the Capicu School of Poetic Arts poetry workshops, writing workshop The Sacred Word with Rich Villar, and performance poetry workshop Where is my Dramaturgy with Keith Roach. If you would like to know more about our workshops, please view the flyer link below.
To apply for The Butterfly Tribe Scholarship in Honor of Elizabeth Rivera de Garcia, please email your name, telephone number and a brief essay about yourself and your poetic journey, as well as two poems (attached or in the body of the email) to LaSopaNYC@gmail.com for review.