La Teatrista

guerillera de la cultura

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Report in Verse

(based on my experience as a teaching artist for Creative Arts Team. Conducting workshops by devising theater to be performed as a vehicle to open dialog to raise awareness on social issue for collaborative problem solving. Residencies were facilitated in school systems, colleges, universities, safe spaces, homeless shelters and Riker's Island.)

A bridge away,

barbed wire curls over the moat

and gate lock echoes

slam thru walls

around this fortress

the vinegar air hangs dank as if it too

gave up freedom

buzzers cry out under orders and complaints

Hushing the small celebrations

tiny sounds and eyes

searching for a reason to open


like horizons of days

they can’t take away

from memories

living like haunted houses

these girls remind me of mine

back when my mind was gone

and my heart cemented shut to breathe

there was a better I knew to be

too hard to believe in then

I didn’t come from streets

but I knew what less meant

I stole from myself time after time

like violent streets down the veins

I wished open.

never for status

nor battles, but war worn in

the anger outward bound to

transgress and over step to

posses power to break

bound dreams taking arms

to express contempt in

bloodshed and hunger

burned into the hearts of the trapped

the unprepared

a less than half a chance given

power taken

for bitter survival or letting


be the hard fate for you

ny outlaw love

what scars you wear to bear

risk and freedom on either side

of bars were your hands rest and reach out

to grab

dignity and regret

bracing for hope

its too hard to swallow

but your hollow stomach needs you

making your own fantasies to fill

the days and mourning

with companionship in shouts

a shared pulse

woven in braids, proud chins

and hand shakes

holding me with you

your walls listen

voices giving the respect

we gave away.

ny outlaw love

How many times have I transgressed?

Gave up respect and took it away from myself

How many crimes have I committed to

liberate from pain,

because I did not care

for anyone, anything, any of me?

As much as I try to simply ask the questions

to be a mirror and shovel at once

dig deep and plant the seed

they make me watch

Thru their mirrors

I see me push up

hard past the earth

like a snake skin


they say it hurts when you’re born.

but the light is so beautiful you forget

till you change again.

If only there was a space, Safe

knew here. A prize

of peace and a mind’s

own place to feel alive.

With no questions

No torture that demands

Enough to be enough

Accepted, loved

Allowed. Out loud.

Here I come with questions

but my ears filled with static

can’t find a clear signal strong enough

to help me be the mirror you need me to be,

outlaw love

You gave me a chance once to hear why

its cold here

I couldn’t listen. Make out your sounds past

this own damned noise

Cold rots the heart

those too easy give in

not us

Fighting deep in trenches

wounded soldiers

Us all bent patched and

Soaked thru all us bandaged

Hanging on to heal as healers

Whether we know or not

Like it or not want.

The bridge between islands means more than freedom

Color of Royalty

by Claudia Acosta (currently in progess)


Darkness. A door opens Light switches to illuminate the Reyes boxing gym. Freddy enters toting a pitiful Lucia holding her hand over a black eye.

FREDDY -Tu mama me va matar.
LUCIA - What was I going to do, Dad? They were snapping rubberbands in my hair! Those fucking cholas won't leave me alone.
FREDDY - Watch your mouth! You ignore them! YOU were not supposed to be a fighter, Lucia. Not you. What is the matter with you? You made me have to look at ese baboso, Jaime in the eye. That man can’t run a school to save his life!
LUCIA - He is such a jerk! Mr. Canales only likes the pretty girls. It's disgusting. He is always so mean to everyone else!
FREDDY - You got yourself suspended mija!
FREDDY - Calamate! And what about thirteen absences?
LUCIA - Whatever.
FREDDY - (firmly) Don't start with your mensadas! You can’t be skipping school!
LUCIA -Just…I don't know. I have them in three classes. It's a nightmare dad! They won't stop!
FREDDY - This is the first and last black eye you're going to get. Thought maybe my last princess would be the peaceful one.
LUCIA -Your going to teach me to fight?
FREDDY - My princess can't be getting black eyes. Your brothers can't be there. I can't be there. Diane won't be there. A Reyes doesn't get black eyes outside the ring-
LUCIA - But they can give them.
FREDDY - Exactly. So on your feet. Fists.

Lucia feebly puts her fists up. Freddy adjusts them and corrects her form. Freddy grabs the boxing pad and holds it up for her.

FREDDY - Jabs. Go. Keep your wrist flat. Knuckles straight ahead.
Lucia manages to get a good round of jabs.
FREDDY - Crosses. Go. Extend. Twist the foot. Push from the hip thru your shoulder.
LUCIA - You're my trainer, Dad?

She smiles

FREDDY - Just don't tell your mother

He smiles. She continues her crosses.

FREDDY -Push me back. More Power. Pull from your core. More shoulder.

Lucia throws one last punch with all effort.

LUCIA - I don't get how Rafa listens to Big Mike when he's in the corner. Big Mike is mean.
FREDDY -Trainer is the overseer, you see. The director.
LUCIA - Why does Big Mike get so mad all the time?
FREDDY - Rafa doesn't like to listen. Big Mike can see everything, like a director of a movie, but Rafa doesn't trust anybody. Ese Payaso seems to think it’s all him. He has always been a cocky motherfucker. Since he was baby. He knew what he had in him since the first time he was pushed down. He got back up and slammed your cousin Samuel with a right hook. I saw it. Pero Felipe, now that's another story all together. It just so happens he's got the solid talent. The quiet talent, the talent like lava ready to explode. But see, his power comes from the deepest place. His is rooted in the earth like a volcano. That one mija, is the greatest power. Fighters like Payaso, want to radiate, but they burn out. Lava though, see, is fire so concentrated it sticks to the earth and stays close. Rooted… and being rooted, mija, is all you need to win. Get up lets go. You want to do this. Lets go.
LUCIA -And what were you dad?
FREDDY -Lava. When it cools, it becomes rock, Lucia.
LUCIA -Yeah stone, dad. Like you are with Rafa. Why don't you talk to him? What is going to happen when he gets here?
FREDDY -It's between father and son, mija. Let’s go come on. I'm getting tired and your mother is going to kill me if she knows we are here.


Dear Barack Obama

The basis of the plea to you is shared and simple. It is a plea for the respect of the American population. In the dust of crumbling towers, still soaked in a drowned city's neglect, lost in smoke and burning dollars, the devalued people of your country are taking the last pieces of generosity to a broken Haiti as a wish. To preserve, salvage, comfort, resuscitate, empathize and act. Despite the limited lens of America, we imagined once again, a greater loss. Here, your country dials 911. It is a national disaster:

When your nation is scrambling for crumbs to feed themselves.
When ALL your citizens can't care for their health.
When prisons are black and latino boarding schools.
When ALL women can't choose.
When gender is a limation to be able to honor love's union.
When a country won't lift a gentle hand for the world, but armfuls of armour for the royal terrorists of corporatacracy....

911. It's an emergency. Your unsuccessful attempt to rehabilitate a nation demands an intervention. Resist the corruption, detox from the red interests, say "no" to injustice.

As an American, I ask you to listen. As an American of Color, I ask you to balance the inequality. As an American woman,  I ask you to honor your nations priorities. As a human, I ask you to reorganize your plans to enact the missions we elected you to fulfill and implement.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Ever felt your insides shake with knowing there's an incredible storm coming? You have to be ready. Calm before the storm. You watch its terrifying beauty approaching. Your shaking, but with such a clear sight-so alive- your heart doesn't know what to do with it. Your listening, tracking the storm with braced legs and sweaty palms. As the sounds reach to slowly engulf your ears, the ...

My brother wrote to me a couple of weeks ago. I love my brother. He noticed my love for the pen and book when I was a kid and opened the literary world to me. He gave me Dostoevsky when I was a freshman. His letters to me from Paris were like vessels to a world I never thought could be that close to me. As cool, collected and focused as he was, I don't think he really could believe it at the time either. We wrote to each other. A secret celebration that meant there was hope in taking flight, that we could spread our wings and see the world. Since he told me to open this page I am, now in my Paris. I still can't believe it either. Two and half years of New York worn on my skin and heart like a scar with a good story and a favorite pair of boots.

New York. Twinkling and bustling in my soles, the swarming echoes of a sleepless city launches each step I take. Last two years, I've laid some track down on this town's pavement. Lucky enough to have built my own trains to my destinations. My work spreading and unfolding like a subway map (and just as confusing). A choose your own adventure novel, the second I step out on Fort Washington everyday. Today in my subway meditation of the day I thought of home. How my creative force survived in Fort Worth. From birth to wings. What I did, what I learned, when I was the happiest, when my heart worked on my craft, my art to my heart's content with people that left their mark on me.

I am still that lucky and bless my stars, but in my Fort Worth Town, it was all about the art in a special way. Maybe time in my mind turns my twenties into sparklers, bright and electric. The fire moving me then was opportunity, a blank page of creating independent art. Us taking a single blank page and transforming all we had in our hands into something new among a family where we recognized each other's Worth and bowed to each other to help keep the good fire going because that was how things survived.

Broadway glares in your face. High rise apartments point their prissy noses in the air, so you do too and an $800 coat would look stunning on you. You imagine. When you are holding on by the skin of your teeth, you imagine...because you have to (if you your going to make it anywhere). Retirement and health insurance are just a fairytale and the hustle feels epic like a George Lucas early phenomenon-legendary. Each merciless battle a nod down in history books. Because in New York, you pay with blood to win. I think I just now got to know my opponent. Me.

My creative feels like a monster sometimes. Overwhelms with visions like howls, premonitions like choking smoke signals and as ravenous as a desperate, dirty wolf and I am holding on to the reins as tightly as I can. Doors keep opening and my arms are beginning to cramp from all the juggling last seven years. But with strong arms, maybe I can hold it all. I have to. This choose your own adventure tale is unraveling it's traps and futures and the hero ain't sure what road to take.

Your listening, tracking the storm with braced legs and sweaty palms. As the sounds reach to engulf your ears...

to my brother. In blood and ink-

your sister.

thanks tammy gomez for reminding me back in 2007, ken shimamoto for showing the way when I saw your face in the book you reminded me, thank you crystal casey for doing your thing.