Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Life & Writing of Pedro Pietri

A Nuyorican State of Mind:
The Life & Writing of Pedro Pietri

Thursday, November 4, 7:00pm
Poets House, 10 River Terrace

Poets and friends gather to honor the life and work of Pedro Pietri (1944-2004),
a seminal Nuyorican poet and playwright, whose subversive, irreverent, deeply
political writings include Puerto Rican Obituary, Invisible Poetry, Traffic
Violations and The Masses Are Asses.

With Sam Diaz
David Henderson
Bob Holman
Marilyn Kiss
Jesús Papoleto Meléndez
Nancy Mercado
Myrna Nieves
& Dan Shot
$10, $7 for students and seniors,
free to Poets House Members

Poets House, 10 River Terrace
(at Murray Street) in Battery Park City
For more information, call (212) 431-7920
or visit

El Spanglish National Anthem (Pedro Pietri, 1993)

En my Viejo San Juan
They raise the price of pan
So I fly to Manhattan.
It was there that I swear
Everyone took welfare
Especially the Latins!

To El Barrio I went
In pursuit of low rent
In a five room apartment
Where by neighbors will be
Puerto Ricans like me
Dressed in tropical garments.

I know
I know, I know
I'll miss Puerto Rico
(Land of de Palm trees)
And so,
And so and so
I'll live in El Barrio's
(Latin Community)

And whennnnn
I hit the numbers
I'll return to San Juan
Afford the price of pan
Until my life is done
(Island blessed by the sun
Here I come Here I come
Donde my roots are from)

Many years came and went
Fell behind on my rent
Cursed Christopher Columbus.
Worked as hard as I could
But my luck was no good
Never once hit the numbers

Now everyday I pray
Before passing away
And going six foot under
That again I will see
People who look like me
In my island of wonders.

I know
I know I know
I'll reach Puerto Rico
(Y live to be ninety three)
And so And so
Once in Puerto Rico
(Won't be a minority)

Y Paaaaa'
El carajo with the numbers
If I can't fly I'll swim
Straight from El Barrio
Back to Puerto Rico
(Island by the sun blessed
Island I never left
I will settle there next)

Asi es how it must be
For the whole family
Dice our destineeeee!
De weather wasn't nice
Comfort cost a high price
Unlike in Puerto Rico
We kept cooking the rice
And re-heating the beans
And making cuchifrito.

De hard times were plenty
De pockets stayed empty
But the soul nunca dyyyyyed
And junto we survived
And danced after we cried
Defending nuestro pride.

I know
I know I know
Next stop's Puerto Rico
(So help me OTB
And so
And so And so
I won't be called Chico
By the Statue of Liberty)

Y thennnnn
Con familia and friends
Good times will never end
Learn how to laugh again
And stop sheeteen on ten
(Once in my country
I will be I will be
Who has always been me)

In Spanish there were bills
In English there were bills
That just kept getting bigger.
Categorized as hicks
We were called dirty spicks
Blanco trash and black niggers

Las botanicas saved
Us from an early grave
All aspirin did wass kill joo!
Muchas gracias Chango
La Plena y el Mambo
For coming to the rescue!

I know
I know I know
We have been in limbo
(We're in New York City)
And so
And so And so
Almost misplaced my soul
(Somewhere in New Jersey)

Porqueeeee blood is
Thicker than Coca-Cola
I have very high hopes
Of rejoining my folks
With them I'm never broke
Y at last I will find
That there is peace of mind
Everything will be fine.

In Borinquen we'll be
Enjoying our history
For mucho centuries
We registered to vote
Thinking that there was hope
In elected officials.
Pero as soon as they win
For a moment they grin
Then they drop all the issues.

Many dropped out of school
Others went to college
Trying hard to get somewhere.
In the land of da free
Where without a degree
You cannot collect welfare.

I know
I know I know
I'll always play dominoes
(Wherever I may be)
And go
And go And go
To local bodegas
(For Bustelo coffee)

I'm still in Puerto Rico
Only my body came
My strong spirit remains
Everything's still de same
(I truly do believe
You can leave and still be
Where Mami met Papi)

Some did assimilate
In de United States
They got rid of de accent
Tho whenever they spoke
That will always unmask them!

But de majority
Kept their identity
Never did lose their accent!
They were proud not ashamed
Of their Boricua names
If you don't believe ask them.

I know
I know I know
I am being followed
(By my destiny)B
And so
And so And so
I will never be swallowed
(By inferiority)
And whennnnn
De plane takes off again
I know that there will be
No return trips for me
Back to New York City
(Island blessed by the sun
Here I come Here I come
Donde my roots are from)

And with my family
We'll struggle and believe
That one day we'll be free.

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