So today my good friend Sue Valencia dedicated a special calavera just for me – in return, she asked for nothing more than a calavera in her honor. Now if you’re thinking the more traditional painted-white-artistic-rendering-of-a-skull, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m just not artistically talented in that way. The calavera we’re talking about here is of the other variety: the traditional satirical poems written in Mexico to commemorate the Day of the Dead. These poems are about the living and more often than not describe how the object of the calavera will die. Eerie-sounding I know, but these works of the written word are meant to honor and celebrate the living while poking fun, together, at the inevitable: ¡la muerte! Personally, I’m not that comfortable with the idea of death, and so this humble offering on El Día de los Muertos is more a lighthearted dedicatoria to all who can relate.
I hope you guys enjoy it!
De Paisano a Paisano: Una Calavera
They say we’re the problema. Los burros que no entienden.
They kick us out, and we come right back.
They build a fence; we swim around or underneath it…
Unos nos la brincamos. Otros, we just walk on straight through it.
They say we’re inconvenient.
We say they’re inconsiderate.
They say we’re uneducated.
We say “dame una chanza please!”
Una chanza pa’ demostrarles lo que podemos.
Una chanza pa’ demostrarles que somos luchadores.
We’re not on Main Street or Wall Street.
We’re on streets like Macario García and Cesar Chávez.
Pounding the ground every day, batallando to put food on the table…
We’re cooking, cleaning, working outside…
Doing whatever we have to.
Going without, Doing with less.
Making it however we have to.
Un día cuando ya no estemos,
You’re going to look around and miss us.
Los burros that always kept their heads down,
That never said a word.
La burla de todos: El Mentado Sleeping Giant!
Los burros that always said “yes” and never called your bullshit!
Los días ya están contados,
And as they say in your americano,
Nothing lasts forever!
Te lo digo de paisano a paisano.