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Boricua Blues

We're sometimes called invisible, we´re sometimes seen but passed
And if some people had their way-we´d probably be gassed.
They cut our mothers sacred tubes, they feed our children junk
They tied our minds to their Stars and Stripes, then say our history´s bunk!
But of course we are not perfect, we´re people like all the rest
We got hair on our legs and hair on our chests,
We walk around in color cause our blood´s a rainbow shade,
Of Black and White and Red and more - a mixture uniquely made.


We run bodegas in Chi-town, we live in Orlando
We ride the buses in Bakersfield, and freeze in Toronto
Don´t tell me who I am, man, don´t tell me who to be
Allow my people simply, to live a life that´s free.
Some want our independence, some want to stay the same
And others scream about the poor, the hungry, and the shame,
We´re not the best of peoples, we´re not the worst I´ll say
We all combine the best and baddest, we all got dues to pay:

Dishwasher, exterminator
Laborer, clerk
Chaplain, teacher,
Parent, jerk
Student, learner,
Instructor into jazz
Activist, punker,
Hippie, ass

I got no scene, I got to play
I´ve no culture to choose
Cause deep down inside
I know what I got-
I got the Boricua Blues

They sometimes say I´m not allowed to call myself a Rican,
Cause this language that I´m using now, this language that I´m speaking
Is not the one our mothers´ spoke, the language of ancestros
But I say what I mean to say based on what I feel por dentro
And sometimes that is English, and sometimes it´s in Spanish
And sometimes I say what I want, para mi, todo es in Spanglish!
So keep your judging to yourself, and grab us some cerveza
Cause all this debating back n forth, is hurtin´ my cabeza-
I´m gonna move it all outside, and play my music and cruise
To let my people in on this: those old Boricua blues...

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They call our people lazy, they say we all just slack
I pretend not to hear it, I give them all my back
But down within I got to - examine who I am
And every time I come up for air, I go straight down again
Cause I´m a

Carpenter, athlete
Mailman, doc,
Lawyer, musician
Gay kid into rock
Lesbian, bi-girl, bi-guy, too
I got no need to peg all us, to who you want me to--

We are judges, singers,
Rappers, macheteros,
Linebackers, boxers,
Bailadores and bomberos.
Students, teachers,
Lecturers, sailors,
Seamstresses, salesmen,
Waitresses, tailors

Some of my friends are Buddhists, and some Santeros, too,
Some buddies play games with magick, some others play voodoo.
We love our land our culture, we love our mofongo
We take a bit of this and that, then eat it on the go
I never say I´m less than you but never more than “them”
But one day we will all rise up, and sing “Patria!” again-

Sometimes we just want statehood, some days we don´t want shit
But nobody´s going to ever, peg us to their stick
So take away your concepts, your beliefs, your petty lies
My people are all over, from San Juan to old Van Nuys
Don´t let them speak about us, as if they´re allowed to choose
Cause NOBODY tells us anything ´bout
These old Boricua blues

I got no scene, I got to play
I´ve no culture to choose
Cause deep down inside
I know what I got-
I got the Boricua Blues


José M. Tirado