Saturday, August 15, 2009

Introduction to Xiomara

My name is Xiomara Maldonado, and I . I am a Nuyorican (a New York City-born and -raised Puerto Rican) from the Lower East Side. I currently live in the Bronx and work part-time for Voices UnBroken, a New York City based nonprofit organization that provides youth in foster care, jails and residential facilities with access to creative writing workshops.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of the creative arts to transform people, communities, nations and the world. Art is a tool of empowerment that guides youth on a path toward leadership and confidence in their voices. I believe in art's power because I myself have experienced it.

I have created this blog to provide myself with a space where I can voice myself more, where I can express my thoughts on people, on my life's situations and on my world. I will primarily use this blog to post my poems since I mostly define myself as a poet, although I intend to write, perform and videotape more spoken word pieces and practice my fiction and article writing in this space as well.

The poem below, The Song of These Streets, won me first prize in the ESU poetry competition and is where the name of this blog comes from:

The Song of These Streets

You, who created a world out of words, lent breath to this land, bestowed flight upon birds
You who created the city that never sleeps, lend to me poetry designed musically

I hear their chants now, raising dust off concrete— voices drowned out, almost, by a truck’s screech,
The pleads of the strikers asking more for their labors, the cries of the homeless begging for favors.
This city, my city, rocks me to sleep with the lullaby of danger dancing on its streets—
Meringue and Salsa, Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Rock & Roll, and African beats
Bounce off of each other, tumble, and weep— cry out for their people, stand up, and leap.

Youth remember those, as they crowd ‘round stereos, whose hearts became destitute, relinquished repose,

Who climbed the social ladder of upward mobility only to be jostled to the floors of tenements—cheap.

Youth lose themselves in another’s creativity, remembering Hughes’ warning of deferred dreams exploding.

This city is more than subways and trains; this city is more than buildings and planes;
My city is more than “The Empire!” stated; yet New York City is segregated:
Glistening on sidewalks beyond Central Park are binaries we live by—profound and stark.

God, my God—like You, a poet— I consider the song of poverty cruelly ignored by some wealthy;
I endeavor to expose the song of these streets so another can heed the screams of these beats.
You, my Muse, have lent me this poem. This poem is my Street Song, the Song of these Streets.

I am excited to meet you and hear your feedback.

1 comment:

  1. The "Song of These Streets" is an awesome poem. I think your description of the city, through subtleties such as the sounds of the streets, and your progression to the political issues that face unwealthy New Yorkers is very effective and smooth. I'd like to hear you write a poem where you tee off on these political issues without holding anything back.

    ~A Son of the LES