Transcendental Latino

Words: Orlando Velez
Visuals: David Bergeland



Transcendental Latino: Orlando Velez

Transcendental Latino: Orlando Velez


You came from a far away land to a new land a true man
Seeking a better life with wife and kids
Not knowing the strife that daily life would bring
You learned the laws of the rumble through an everyday struggle
In a concrete jungle called Brooklyn

The mean streets threw their hardest beats your way
But you never lost sight of the dawn of a new day
Yeah you could have been a contender
But you knew you could do them one better

And you came to the battle with a razor sharp mind
To fight for the right of a bright future
And pave the way that I coast on today

You came with the weight of a nation on your shoulders
While they threw boulders in front of your journey
And put police tape across docks to prevent you entry
Lady Liberty sayin

“Give me your tired you poor your weak,
They are the easiest ones to exploit you see.”

But you came with humble outstretched hands
And broke bread at the head of the table
To be fed throughout generations
In this United States of Assassinations.

You endured the lacerations of the masses while you fought in Vietnam
Never forgetting the life lessons given to you by grandma
You bled from your back
To stack bricks without corner cutting tricks
To fix a home for your family
Never forgetting the many blessings that you received from the Lord above
You built highways, skyways, flyways, byways
And move out of myways
With new day destinations for people across the nation
Endless possibilities bound only by the limits of imagination.

Together with that beautiful queen by your side
You laid the foundation and fed us knowledge through irrigation
Using channels of education saying,

Escape the binds of your mind
Transcend the lines of rigidity, monotony
Free to see what you please
Free to please what you be
Free to be what you please see
Pay no mind to the signs that are
Constricting and inflicting impositions
Conflicting with your instincts.

Fundamentally, mentally, sensually, sexually
Indifferently free to fly.
Without answering who what when where and why
Admiring the fire of desire emanating from within
Illuminating the essence of your senses
Removing pretences acting like fences.
Display the way to your reality
Your bold soul letting the whole world know
Shouting, struggling, fighting,
With a mighty force saying,
“This is me!”

Bachata, merengue, salsa,
Coming at ya with a side of
Arroz con frijoles chicharron y tostones
Catracho man from a far away land
Refusing the mold of the american with machete in hand
Don’t hate me because I didn’t take the bait of conformity
The bait to hate myself y la pintura de mi cultura
Don’t be mad because my knowledge extends beyond

La cucaracha, la bamba, tacos and Ricky Ricardo.
El Maya resonates through my spirit
And African rhythms play loud and bold
While the cacique dances in my soul.
Sharing the knowledge and wisdom from his kingdom
So that one day I can be king of my dome
With a queen and kids by my side a true home
Derived from the temple pyramid stones of dies y ocho conejos
Prophesized by Lempira who said,
“Mira my son we will be fruitful and multiply
anything else said is a lie.”
And he handed me the scepter of time,
As the sun cried tears of blood
To fertilize the love
Nourished in the lives of us
Through our mothers and ancestors from above.

So don’t be mad mister man
Because I’m breaking your hold
See we’ve been around since before you created this mold
So know that I’m comin at you strong with a a long line of history
Shouting the fact that my people were, are and always will be

04/21/2015 - NEWARK, NJ - Orlando Velez records "Transcendental Latino" - Orlando Velez visits the Journalism Department recording studio to perform his poem Transcendental Latino Tuesday in Bradley Hall at Rutgers Newark. This project is a part of the Newest Americans documentary project. PHOTO BY DAVID BERGELAND

Orlando Velez was born in the United States to Honduran parents. He is a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark and a proud war veteran who continues to serve others as a social worker.

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