(April’s Person of the Month came a little early.)
That song has a lot to do with the demonization right now of Latin people and immigrants. There’s a line that goes, “The politicians just squawk their mouths/ They say they’ll build a wall to keep them out/ And all the poets are dying of a silence disease/ So they did it quickly and with much ease.” If we continue to be silent about it, this building of hatred and fear. If there’s something that makes me cry, it’s hearing from, like, Mexican-American people about how their families have been here for six, seven generations and they’re being told by racists to go back to where they came from, and they’re like, “I’m fucking from here, dude!
-Alynda Segarra in bitchmedia interview
Alynda Lee Segarra should be one of the major voices of my generation. She’s a tremendously talented song-writer and singer; she grew up in the Bronx, and has travelled extensively, is politically active & educated and fights for what’s important to her. She’s been homeless and knows poverty. She’s in a band called “Hurray for Riff-Raff” the does a lot of americana tunes. She’s queer.
Somebody find me her number, okay?
The internet is not super forthcoming with information, but she’s still young, and I’m excited to watch her progress as an artist. What the internet doesn’t know about Alynda Segarra pretty much matches what I don’t know about Puerto Rico.
I’ve known two Boricua well at different points in my life, I feel ridiculous saying this, but the effect of knowing the two of them has made me a fan of Puerto Rico’s work. Both boricua I was close with were super present in the moment, straight forward, and never wasted my time and made me guess how they felt – all traits that will either make me love (the two former) or hate someone (two later).
I’m not stupid enough to think all Puerto Ricans are this wonderful, but damn, I can hope, right? She seems to have these same traits though, so allow an old woman to divert the conversation to former lovers to make up for lack of depth in her article.
Two very different people, but the same strength of character.
The man was from Milwaukee, a lapsed Catholic, we went from holding hands to me kissing the scar from where he got shot in the chest in a few hours. He wanted to write, but laughed at the idea of a Puerto Rican being a poet – it still makes me sad. He could talk existential guilt all night long, and loved his mother before all else. We were never a serious item, but he didn’t lead me on or pretend, either. We spent time together, things were what they were.
The woman was going through a divorce, and the most passionate, involved mother I’ve ever met. If I could be a tenth of a woman she is, I’d die happy. Our relationship ended when she went back to her husband, and I was (happily) second to her daughter when we were together. She didn’t want her family to know, and I got the impression that queerness and Puerto Rican heritage may not be the easiest combination to handle.