Monday, April 30, 2012

Where I am From

**Put together from workshops with students from Los Sures for a final performance project and so is meant to be spoken by an ensemble.

Where I Am From
(For the People of Los Sures)

Where I am from the concrete is cracked
And the English is broken
Fire hydrants blast
And boleros blast
While kids run, jump and dance in the street
There are no trash cans around
So the trash stays at my feet
The smell of cigarettes fills hallways
But it does not linger too long

Because it is covered by the scent of
Arroz con habichuelas
Queadillas , mole, enchiladas
Arepas, Empanands
Pastilitos for a dollar
(cough) $1.50

Really? Dannng

Where I am from salons are filled with
Chismosa’s whispers
Under clouds of hairspray and fumes
And hair is blown out
And color is drowned out
Curls are straightened out

(One person touches an actor with curly hair’s hair) “Pelo malo”

Where I am from the streets are loud
With cars honking
Music playing all hours of the day
Viejos and Viejas sit outside, dominos, betting
And the guys on the corner keep sweating
Every girl that passes
(Actors line up and transform quickly into male personas)

“Pssst. Psst. Psst”
“Aye, Ma.”
“You’re beautiful”
“You so sexy”
“Daaaamn girl”

(The girl ignores them)

“Man, forget you then, you ain’t even that pretty anyway!”

Where I am from sometimes can be quiet
And you feel sort of safe
But then get creeped out
Because you were told you’d get raped
If you’re out late
You’ll get jumped
You’ll get stopped
And you’ll get frisked
Where I’m from walking down the street
Can be a risk
And danger lurks from every corner
Making the fun afraid to come out
But it‘s only sometimes

Yea but sometimes is enough
(Actors all agree)

And if you are lucky
You can make it out of here in one piece
Before cops throw you down in the street
Or you get down with gangs on these streets
Or before the drugs get to you
Or the drinking
Or you start thinking that
“If you are Black, Brown, Latino
You won’t amount to anything” thinking

Where I am from
My dreams are not my mother’s dreams
But she wished that they were
Because she had dreams too
But they didn’t turn out the way she hoped
They were washed away with dirty dish washing soap
She cleaned homes that were not her own
And folded clothes that were not her own
And helped raised other people’s kids
So she could raise her own
My mother has dreams for me
That were her dreams
But my real dream is to be…
(The Actors state their dreams)

And I know getting there is not easy
We’ve got debts to pay
And not just ours, but our parents
We’ll inherit them
And these bills and this rent that
Keeps getting hire
Become chains
And all of a sudden we are slaves

Where I am from
We become what we fought not to
This place we come from
Is being taken away
Capitalism is Imperialism of Modern day
Gentrification wiping the brown out
“Cleaning up” our streets
New Thai place around the corner and Vegan eats
And other restaurants and clothing stores
That I can’t even afford

Where I am from stories were written on the walls
They were painted on the walls
But now they’ve been breaking down our walls
To build new ones
That we cannot afford to tell our stories on
Or live our stories in

Where I am from
I call home
We call home
This is home
And it has always been
Where I am from
And no one can change that

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