Then there’s that Year in Review blog. You know: the one where you thank every deity you know that you’re alive at the end of another hellish year. Or, the one where you marvel at your good luck, your bad luck, your new love, your gone friends and relatives, your old friends, your new friends. Or, the one where you assiduously avoid any topic that might remind you of something you REALLY want to forget this past year. Or, the one where you gush about that amazing lifechanging thing you did.
Basically, the one where you celebrate being human for one more year.
I’m feeling a little bit of all of that, actually. And so much is still to come: new projects, new writings, new blogs, new magazines, new curatorial work, new readings. So much good stuff on my horizons, personally and professionally.
So of course, the urge hits me to look back in time.
I published a book. Comprehending Forever. I’m extremely proud of the notice it has gotten, the compliments it has garnered, and the comparisons that people have made to the writers in my personal orbit.
I traveled in support of that book, to locales and communities and people I truly treasure: DC, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York. Didn’t get on a plane to do it, but I met more beautiful people than I could have imagined before the book. And I’ll be out the door, and on the train again, soon.
I taught two workshops. One at La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem, and the other in Williamsburg for Capicu Culture’s La Sopa NYC. I found my passion for teaching again. I connected with my students, and we learned wizardry from each other.
And I performed! Three poems for Advocate of Wordz’ Fall Classic at the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe. Back on stage with three newish poems, and surrounded by a community I am proud to be part of.
It isn’t just this year, though.
In looking forward, I can’t help but consider where I’ve been, who I rode with, and what communities I’ve passed through. This year, for some reason, the urge to recount hits me more than ever. I’ve been writing poems for public consumption, and advocating for Latino writers, since 2002, give or take. Twelve years.
So with that in mind, I’ll tell you that the next time you hear from me, I’ll have some personal history in tow. I think it’s necessary. I think sometimes people forget. I think sometimes I forget.
Appropriately, my first project for 2015 returns to a subject I first wrote about in 2004. Beyond the legacy of the Nuyorican writers, I can’t fully explain the pull of the place. But when I’m there, when I’m roaming the Lower East Side, there is poetry.
And there are poets from there. Some heralded, others not so much, but I’m honored to speak this poem into existence, to them and for them. And I’m even more honored that Advocate of Wordz chose to record me reciting it at various places on the Lower East Side, including those iconic Baruch Houses at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.
More soon, gente. For now, enjoy the poem.