135, 149. i trust you will spin these as you see fit. xo, aly
135. a lie
finding housing as a person of color is rough especially in a white town. i remember being turned down for housing a lot. finally one day i decided to create a plan, i had to talk about myself as safely as possible. i had to be normative and nonthreatening to the white people who were looking for tenants. i had an interview for a house that i really wanted so i wrote out a list of shit that seemed good and then last minute i had a thought, white people like the symphony!
the interview was going really well and the lady said something like “this neighborhood is really quiet and we have a reputation for quiet tenants can you tell me if you feel you fit this neighborhood why or why not?” and i said something like “yes i am sober, don’t have people over often, my kid might be a kid and make noise,” and then i remembered the symphony!, “but the only noise you will hear is me practicing my violin.”
i could see her eyes goes wide, “you play the violin?” i nodded. “for how long? that’s great!” i nodded, “umm since i was a kid,” i lied. don’t know if it was that lie or that i was a manager of a grocery store at that time but i got the house and i will never forget that white people love the symphony. oh and i don’t play any instruments.
149. Do you believe in ghosts?
yes! but i don’t believe that ghosts are scary always. i think they just exist within homes and roam land and often go unnoticed.
Learning English [from Las Mamalogues a theatrical production I co-wrote, produced and directed with Alejandra Abreu, Norma Alicia Pino, Erika Santillan and Maritza Soledad Sanchez for Immigration and Border Dialogues Conference, at The Evergreen State College on May 15th, 2008]
A los ocho anos mi ingles was getting verry good
I was estarting to espeak como los americanos en mi clase
I was reading basic words, and I was writing mi nombre everywhere
My favorite muneca had gone through a lot, since I wasn’t allowed to cut my hair I cut her hair como mi hermano. When I learned to write my name I made sure to write it all over her face. Her eyes were now scribbles of what would have been a B, or an I depending on the angle. Whenever we passed a word I knew I would make mi mama orgullosa by saying it first in English, then very slowly so she could try to say it with me.
“Stop. Se dice ESSTOPP, mami.”
She would say with me and tell me how proud she was of me. I would skip and bounce in excitement.
One day while we walked up the stairs to our apartment, I decided to read to her every thing I could make out. We would stop at every word, she waited patiently as I tried to read it.
“Pull. Se dice PPULL, mami. Tambien dice ffiirre, dice ffirre, mami. Mami dice que jale…”
Before my mom could estop me I pulled. The fire alarm started sounding. Mi mama me jalo de la mano. Mi mama said maldiciones. She was no longer proud of me. As we made our way downstairs we saw vecinos running out with bolzas, en toallas, llorando, y con gatos en brazos. I waved at la familia that lived across the hall from me, they didn’t wave back. I looked at mi mama, “Que esta pasando mami?”
She wouldn’t answer me, instead she kept saying, No le vamos a decir nada a tu papa, Fabi. Nada a tu Papa, entiendes.?” The fire department came, I watched as the bomberos came out of our building looking puzzled. When we were allowed back inside we walked passed the fire alarm I had just pulled, mi mama hurried me past it. I looked at her and said, “Dice Pull Fire, mami.”
She looked at me kindly, “FFIIEERR, she repeated. No le vamos a decir a naiden, Tesoro.”