the louderARTS Project

Raymond Daniel Medina

Raymond Daniel Medina was born in the Bronx, and grew up below the Belt. His first poem was at the encouragement of a hippie English teacher later fired from his grammar school. Although his poetry has grown to be at once personal, political, and spiritual, it is decidedly active. He has concerted effort to bring his musical and poetic backgrounds to his many communities where he writes and performs to challenge and explore. Among his instruments are: guitar, keyboards, electronics, voice, and the human heart. He is the Musical Director of the louderARTS project, and a founder and moderator of synonymUS - a live multimedia collaborative workshop designed to help artists from all walks stay on the one true path.

rokstar_us at yahoo dot com




Bronx Born Straphangar

I am a Bronx-born straphanger.
Ancestral gypsy.
Before we could say "homes",
we traded South Bronx for South Carolina
where we lived in mobile ones.
We never lost our class,
but we sure did change from Puerto Ricans
to Mexicans pretty fast.

We followed the work, see
my father coached soccer
and taught religious studies.
"Run fast," he said
"Then turn the other cheek."

The times weren't hard.
They were living pretty well
up the hill
that overlooked the trailer park
we shared with neighbors who trained
their dogs to attack colored gloves.
Always seemed to be just enough chain on the property line.
The times were rough.
Steady moving south.

We looked forward to the monthly drive to the specialty store
where we stocked up on things we needed to stay special.
As children wandered aisles piled high with fifty-pound bags of rice
and foods whose names I still struggle to pronounce,
my parents negotiated their marriages of cash.

Platanos, Sofrito, Bacalao, Coco Rico.
Some things I still remember -
how ripening vegetables turned the tin can home,
the smell of cooking garlic filling paneled walls, yet
my mother tells me of a time I refused to eat
in my grandmother's presence
Angry at her skin.

We moved on a moving world,
sought one better where we began.
My father stayed more change than ground.
I can still see him waving,
trying not to look down,
standing in the wreckage of the life we tried to build.

My mother took two jobs.
She worked hard to help us fit, yet,
we lost our drawls in days.
The times were rough.
We, steady
Moving
South.



Jealous and Silent

You are jealous and silent,
unbearable in the space between
eating
stomach caught in a quick change of fate.

You are living,
now,
in a new land
you wish to feel familiar
Looking for before in after.

Your presence reminds you of relics,
Gifts between lovers,
Curiosities.

Hands and strings seed
a flurry of sand to grip
waves of history.

A slavery of silence rushes into sound.

You are giddy with remembering the life
this moment will release you to
as you reach for the next one.

There
in every cobblestone,
in the dust that holds
a gallery of footfalls,
you walk a wall of distance
measure work
rest
while the rolling tongues of dust and heat
as ancient as remembering
speak to you of the life

this moment will release you to

this life

you call home.



© Raymond Daniel Medina



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .