Previous Musings

Memoir: Red Lips and Nails

When I was a little girl my neighbor's adult daughter didn't mind my keeping her company every once in a while. I have no idea what I was doing in their house, I don't remember her name but I know she wore her makeup like a professional model and was very nice to me. She was a heavy young woman with light and sweet cafe con leche skin and beautiful dark hair that cascaded down her broad back as if she'd just shaken out the rollers. I barely remember her face, but her shiny crimson lips and nails are pristine in my memory. I watched intently as she painted them. Her rituals kept my synapses firing brightly. I watched in dismay as she ran them under cold water just after she had carefully painted each long luxurious oval. She explained that this helped them set quicker. It seeds like the sort of magic trick only glamorous women knew. Sometimes after I paint my nails and rinse them dry I wonder where she is today.


Tostao y Colao con SIENIDE @ Camaradas el Barrio

Camaradas el Barrio, on 115th and 1st Avenue has long been a Latino a sanctuary for the Latino artists, musicians, philosophers & game changers of both the street and academic set. Tonight artist and curator Fernando Ruiz Lorenzo invites us to enjoy a presentation of the unique and exciting work of a prolific creator & writer (grafitti artist) SIENIDE. 

SIENIDE's collection Tostao y Colao pays homage to the artists; musicians, activists, poets and storytellers who work in an array of mediums who inspire our lives & work. His soulful watercolor's are masterfully painted with coffee! Yes, Coffeeee!

I had the great pleasure of visiting Sien at his Bronx studio recently to take a peek at what was going up. Amongst his portraits are photographers Joe Conzo & Sandra Guzman, poet and actor Flaco Navaja, graffiti artists of Tats Cru Bio, Nicer & BG 183, fellow writer & youth activist Tatu Perez & actor/muse Marlyn Matias. I was elated, blessed!, to find that I was amongst those he gave the time and care to recognize. As a poet, activist, cultural voice, it moves me deeply to know that my efforts resonnate amongst my like-minded brethren. To be touched by such talent is life changing, to be part of the process and journey inspires a constant movement forward that makes us continue to say, "Can't Stop! Won't Stop!" His many works & creativity, his variety of style & use of different mediums is astounding. From Krylon to coffee, from paper to plexiglass to concrete, this man has a spirit & eloquence of expression that is boundless. 


Un cafesito con mi hermano


As an artist you put a lense to the things that matter and tonight we will revel in that unity at one of the sanctuaries that is near and dear to us. This is how we in our community speak to one another, how we bond with one another. By creating & uplifting, by honoring each other's contributions to this spiritual adventure that we have the joy of experiencing together. Tonight we'll enjoy delicious food, legendary sangria & drink, sweat it out and leave our hearts and souls on the dance floor refreshed & better for it. It's "Wayback Whensday"! I'll see you there <3 MUAH!

como te gusta? light or dark? medium

Our Beloved Sandra Guzman, Photographer Extraordinaire



Half of you, is me



Mad Laundress


Julia de Burgos' 99th Birthday

My inspiration, one of my mentors

Julia de Burgos was one of the foremost poets to come out of Puerto Rico in the first half of the twentieth century. Her poverty-stricken background and African heritage were factors in the evolution of the revolutionary politics de Burgos espoused as part of the independence movement in Puerto Rico. She also attracted attention for her unconventional lifestyle: she divorced her first husband and lived openly with her lover at a time when such behavior was virtually unthinkable for most Puerto Rican women. "A woman of great sensibility, rebellious spirit, and exceptional intelligence, Julia de Burgos no doubt felt imprisoned by circumstances," explained Notable American Women contributor Carmen Delgado Votaw. "Her discomfort with social ills, her love for Puerto Rico, and her preoccupation with justice and death, all come out in the torrents of her poetry with its richly emotional metaphors."

De Burgos published two more volumes of poetry, Poema en veinte surcos (1938) and Canción de la verdad sencilla (1939), which won a prize from the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature, before she left Puerto Rico in 1940. She spent part of that year in New York City working as a journalist. Late in the year, however, de Burgos fled the city with her new love, Dr. Juan Isidro Jimenes Grullón, for Cuba, where she began writing for newspapers. For the next two years she lived in Cuba, writing and enrolling as a graduate student in literature and philosophy at the University of Havana. In 1942 she went back to New York, where she found support for her poetry from the Circle of Ibero-American Writers and Poets. She also married again, choosing for her second husband a fellow poet, Armando Marín. Most of the work she published during this period was journalism, especially editorials and interviews. In 1946 the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature awarded her another prize for "Ser o no ser la divisa," an editorial she wrote for the journal.

Modern critics believe that de Burgos's poetry anticipated the work of feminist writers and poets as well as that of other Hispanic authors. "Writing in the 1930s through the 1950s," declared a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, "de Burgos was ahead of her time in grasping connections between history, the body, politics, love, self-negation and feminism that would later prove to be the foundations for writers like [Adrienne] Rich and [Sylvia] Plath." "Her poems," stated Votaw, "reveal her gift for lyricism, while their erotic content and their cosmic symbolism provide autobiographical glimpses into a troubled and pagan soul which often felt itself lost and abandoned."

De Burgos's poetry also used images of love, sex, and death in a way similar to that of other Latin American poets, including Pablo Neruda. However, she mixed these images with the pain that her own life and upbringing brought her. In "Río Grande de Loíza," one of her most anthologized works, for example, she begs the river to absorb her, both body and soul: "Muy señor río mío. Río hombre. Unico hombre / que ha besado en mi alma al besar en mi cuerpo." In her last years, which were marked by depression, alcoholism, and despair, the poet revealed an ever darker concept of life. She wrote in "Farewell from Welfare Island," one of her last poems, "The past is only a shadow emerging from / nowhere. // Life was somewhere forgotten / and sought refuge in depths of tears / and sorrows; / over this vast empire of solitude and darkness. // Where is the voice of freedom, / freedom to laugh, / to move / without the heavy phantom of despair?"


more at



HURACÁN EXPRESS - Charlie Vázquez 

Let's go for a ride with my beautiful friend, Charlie, featuring LS Bell on the barriles


The Rose ~ Bette Midler 

I grew up in awe of this grandiose woman. Like Babs, she is no traditional "classic beauty". Even writing that makes me uncomfortable and just 


Sangre Viva Arts Alliance @ Fordham University 




mio puma ~ artista divina 

a quick post to share the wonder that is miosotis pumarol


click to like her on facebookshe's an artist & jewelry designer with an ebullient personality. j'adore! just for fun i replied to a little poetry contest on facebook. she asked that we write a little "roses are red, violets are blue". my entry was "roses are red, violets are blue. mio is fly, jani is too". silly, yes. it made her smile and low & behold i won a shweeet lil pair of earrings: 

shop MIOPUMA on etsy



look at her adorable illustrations!

she's relocated to Georgia and we miss her much but she's only a click away. Wishing her all the best always. 

xoxo ~ J 


Tamarindo icee

It feels like Spring today so when they asked for icees I was looking forward to enjoying one too.

I was so happy to see he had tamarindo! Mmmmmm! BenBen liked it mixed with his coquito