Posted by Ana Castillo on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Under: 2012

Born Hispaniola

Raised Dominican Republic

Motherland of my life, author to my many disasters

This land is the definition of Nationalism.

With examples of survival skills of disgust

But we speak of them without shame.

We don’t care what you think ‘coz you don’t know how we live

You can’t experience being Dominican in a resort.

Fuck no!

Let me tell you my truth

Woke up one morning, a rooster my alarm like every other day

No wind, No sound, 

No one in sight

A poor neighborhood but a serene land

A house made of wood, I would later on leave to live in my uncle’s garage

Many people think that the poor only suffer

But when you have nothing,.

You learn to give everything

Seven years old, I was brushing my teeth

In the front porch of my house.

Learning my ten commandments in school

A prayer before every class, you must always volunteer.

The shield in our flag, “Dios, Patria y Libertad”

God, Fatherland and Freedom

This is what we learned in school

To honor the three warriors that fought for our liberty

To pray to god for a new day

And to protect our Home.

My fear everyday was the same

Getting whipped by my teacher when my classwork was wrong

You’d think a christian woman would pray her way into teaching you right

But at the end of every class, we were like sardines in a can

Hugging each other tightly to avoid a beating

Until one day that girl slapped the teacher back

And what a blessing the bitch got fired!

Then came the fun nights without electricity.

I would get screamed at by my mother when I came home past midnight

An un-perfect life filled with perfect memories

Like the night we all gathered by a cracked window

After lighting Brillo pads to make spinning starlight with our hands,

Watching the haitian guy get laid by the slutty fat girl from the other side of town

When it rained, everyone would go out and shower

My life’s biggest dream at five years old

My mom  would never allow me

I would plead and beg and cry 

Three years of waiting and she gave me a shower cap and let me go

Standing on the doorstep to watch the public shower

There I was with everyone else.

Some of us with our clothes on

The others? Well you can guess...

Family are not only the people in your house

They are the ones in your neighborhood

That bring food to your house after cooking 

That come over during the evening for some coffee as the sun sets

The ones that give you your shots when your sick because the clinic is too expensive.

That come to all your funerals and cry, even if they don’t know shit about who just died.

They teach you how to cook Plantains, care for a baby, and prepare Té de Orégano.

That was my life, and I was seven.

A typical day starts out quiet, but music livens up the night

Men playing Dominoes outside the grocery stores with bottles of beer on the table

Kids sneaking up behind to taste the liquor 

Mothers gathered together to gossip in the middle of the night

Aunts with their nieces and nephews watching the spanish soap operas 

Local channels were better than cable when you watched Dragon Ball Z 

If you weren’t familiar, even your grandpa would frown at you.

A piece of cardboard becomes your fan during every blackout

A candle your light for half the night

And if it was a good day and the lights came back on, 

everyone would scream “Llego la luz!”

The sun is the heat for the water we use to shower.

Full of water worms.

Pictures of family members from aeons ago

A sabila tree hanging from the ceiling to keep out the bad spirits

Your house furniture, older than your grandmother

And when random cats passed by your house you’d call them “Misu Misu”

The best storage in the house is underneath the mattress.

Visiting the countryside you’ll find the other half of your family

You won’t feel bad about not being so educated

You’ll climb mango trees for an afternoon snack,

Ride horses ‘Till you reached the riverbank ,

Lay down on the grass and tell stories until the stars come out

And even make love in a sigh so serene, peaceful and quiet.

There are two sides to a coin

You wouldn’t know how much we struggle

A lot of people don’t even know who we are

Some don’t even care that Christopher Columbus is buried here

That this was one of the first lands he set foot on

Yet here we are neglected

Suffering like we did from day one

Learning to survive with so little

Watching our youth being trafficked to prostitution

Being sold online by men who crave and dream of money,

Selling dreams of wealth to young girls who only wish to survive the poverty

Girls who end up being sex slaves in another country.

Even if we go unrecognized, our pride will always stay alive

Every Dominican that comes to America

Leaves their heart back home.

The children that they bear grow to love the native land

That’s who we are.

We are people who don’t have anything

But swear we have everything

We have everything money can’t buy

We are Latin by Tradition not by definition

In : 2012 

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Yours Truly

Ana Castillo Media Studies Major at Queens College Photographer, Writer and Enthusiast The world is my my book, I edit the pages.
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