Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Earthquake, be not proud!


My grandmother told me about the earthquake she survived in 1918. The memory of it was vivid and padlocked in her 90 year old mind at the time. My mother was waiting to be born. She claimed that was why she was so strong. She planted a tree to remind her that one’s roots sustain and remain no matter what.

I dedicate this poem to the people of Puerto Rico. They have been through so much. But they are a proud people, a strong bunch and will never give up faith. Thank you to all those who have reached out to help the victims. Que Viva Puerto Rico!!!

Earthquake, be not proud!

when you shake our senses to the ground

we awake and look for what is to be found

the remnants of our dreams

are not as shattered

as you may think

Our oneness knows

the pain of others.

Our island is an emerald so unique

Our pride continues to glow shine.

Shake us all you want.

I dare you!

We are mindful now;

of where and how,

and in the now.

More than ever

We know who cares.

We know the sincere heart of those who share

our pain.

The eternal green of the our mountains,

the glorious and gorgeous azure of the ocean that surround us

know us too well.

History will tell,

The abuse infused

we have refused

for centuries.

We are a brave people

we shall stand together once again

and live!

Que viva Puerto Rico!!

Image by AndPon from Pixabay
Image by juliouscm from Pixabay

Democracy Lives


Democracy lives!

It is alive and well

on a small but significant island

of green luscious mountains

where the Coqui announces

when the moon shines brightly

and love is in bloom,

Democracy lives!

It took a few deep breaths and many anguished sighs;

It became desperate at times;

It was angered and disappointed;

it slowly began to loose faith in itself.

 

But the people sang, danced and stood firm.

They revived the pride of their cultural heritage.

Stood tall to exemplify the martyrs who fought for justice

and their ancestors who died believing

that someday, someway, somehow

they would be heard and taken seriously.

 

The people raised their collective voices,

They sang, danced and remained faithful

that the song of justice

would be proclaimed from every mountain top.

 

The people for the people won!

They took charge, organized

and proclaimed

fidelity to the idea

that a democracy is where

supreme power is vested in the people.

 

Our children will listen to the story of today

Our grandchildren will praise the brave

who strove for the truth,

who marched and chanted for justice.

Justice for all!

Even the dead!

God bless Puerto Rico!

 

Questions about the writing on the walls


DSC_0041

Writing on walls

always warrant some questions.

Why deface walls at all?

Have you no canvas as tall?

For whom exactly is your message intended?

Ask me why I feel offended?

Graffiti? Really?

Did this place not inspire ease?

Who do you think will be pleased?

I for one am sad that nothing

is left to the imagination.

Were you looking for inspiration?

This was such a zen place.

Now the Coqui feels disgraced.

No one can concentrate on its sweet song at night.

The distraction is too great.

What does it say anyway?

Nothing that means something to me?

So you see

the writing was not on the wall afterall.

*I love art.  I respect all art forms. I support freedom of expression. What I hate is when such serene and beautiful natural spaces are obstructed or defaced.

* The Coqui is a small cricket indigenous to the Island of Puerto Rico.

Memory of a Sale


 

 

Memory of a Sale

 

 

 

by Melba Christie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a crisp and sunny day in October. Columbus Day to be exact and she had the day off because her boss was a native Italian from Genoa and he had made it a tradition to close the small men’s clothing factory where my mother worked for twenty years. I was off from school and mom wanted to get in on the Columbus Day sales at her favorite department stores Alexander’s and Hearn’s. This shopping spree of sorts had become a ritual and I looked forward to getting a new pleaded skirt and maybe a new pair of shoes. Barely a month shy from my birthday my mom would be able to afford an additional gift for me if the price was right.

 

 

 

We started out early in comfortable flats. We would arrive in time to actually stand in line for an hour along with a few hundred other shoppers ready to race into the store. Mom planned the trajectory for the stores we would visit and strategized for getting to the right store at the precise time. She scheduled the first store based upon how many bargains she could get in one stop. Factored into her plan was the original prices of items and how truly discounted they actually turned out to be. She was astute and knew that many times prices inflated a few days before the big sales day and then was suddenly reduced to 50 or 75 percent from the original price. Her shopping afforded no luxuries. The budget was slim and she was disciplined enough to buy only what was needed. Dad had passed away a year earlier so we needed to be careful not to go over. Mom always bragged about how she learned to be a great accountant without having stepped a foot into college. She had survived the Depression and knew that every penny counted. Widowed twice and left with very little resources taught her many lessons about managing her money and economics in general. I still cannot imagine how she ever survived those hard times. People complain about our economic woes today; well my mom could have been a consultant.

 

 

 

That one day though she had secretly planned to visit another store. I managed to talk her into getting me a new pocket book and I couldn’t wait to get home to stuff it with things. But as usual we stopped to eat at Nathan’s. She loved their fries. I loved their hot dogs. After lunch she detoured from our usual route and nonchalantly announced that she wanted to go into the furniture store and ask about the French provincial chair and sofa that was on display. As we walked into the fancy store I wanted to remind her that we could not afford any of the furniture. I thought she had lost her mind. But I remained quiet because I knew that once she had made up her mind about something there was no changing it.

 

 

 

She walked straight to the golden brocaded sofa. Her hand caressed the fabric and for the first time in many months I saw her smile again. A few minutes of silence ensued and she proceeded to sit on the edge of the sofa slowing sliding her body onto the back of the sofa. A soft sigh slipped out and she asked me if I liked the sofa. It really was not the type of thing I could fully appraise at the time. I was barely fourteen but I could tell she was in love with it. My brain did not realize that I had started talking and I heard myself saying, “I love it mom.” Another smile adorned her face and I say this because when my mom smiled (which was very rare) it seemed that the whole world was waiting for it.

 

 

 

The salesman walked over. I had caught him watching my mom’s every move from a few feet away. He was going for the kill. He knew that an affair had begun and that a sales pitch would not be required this time. My mom was smart. She had done her homework. She was determined to get the sofa and the chair for the lowest price possible. Little did the salesman realize he was up for a trading battle. I watched as she masterfully haggled down the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to two hundred dollars less. She filled out some forms and the next thing I know is that they were arranging the delivery date. It ended up being what would have been her wedding anniversary. The whole thing was bitter sweet. The day it arrived she did not sit on any of the pieces. She sat in my dad’s old raggedy arm chair and stared at it. Come to think of it she never sat on the sofa. However, she loved it when company sat comfortably on it. She sat on the green brocaded French provincial chair. She’d come home and sat on it like one of the women chosen queen on the daytime show. It was in that chair that my son was first introduced to famous children’s stories from her native Puerto Rico. I sat on it only a few times. Most times I just squeezed in beside her side during those very special mother daughter moments. I finally gave it away one day years after she died. It remains very vivid in my mind though. It was a chair most definitely fit for a queen.

 

 

 

 

 

Chair

This brocade pattern is very similar to the one on my mother’s French provincial chair.

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Like An Old Love Song


“In life there are loves that cannot be forgotten.”

This is the first line of an old love song (almost considered

a solemn hymn for lovers) by a very popular Puerto Rican singer and bandleader named

Tito Rodriguez. The lyrics are in Spanish but

even if you did not know what he was saying you

felt the emotion coming through. My parents

danced to this song in our kitchen, of all places.

I found it so silly when I first saw them gazing into each other’s eyes and

singing along with the Puerto Rican crooner of all time. He was our

version of Frank Sinatra.

LP 33

He is known by many fans as “El Inolvidable” (The Unforgettable)

He died a few years after my dad did. My mother played his music all day that day.

I grew to love the songs and memorized many of the ballads. Today by chance one of

There is nothing like an old love song

those songs was playing on a local Spanish language radio station.

The images that flashed back into by brain and heart

brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. I imagined them dancing

in paradise now and close by was that old record player where they played the vinyl LPs.

And there is no doubt in my mind that Tito is serenading them.

There is nothing like an old love song to warm the heart.

Tito: thanks for the memories.

Please tell me about some love songs that bring back these kinds of memories