“For the light skin Latino/a’s who forget we are not white”
Poem 13/30- On My Block
On My Block Cesar is just light enough latino for his
Santos to not be a threat.
Spooky was somebodies Nieto. They didn’t fear
the tear drops permanently assembled over cheek bone.They’d shout “Mira he’s all grown up now” when they passed Abuelita pushing shopping carts all the way home from the supermarket.
The Please do not take the carts off the premises don’t apply to the seniority of these gumshoed, pigeon marked pavement. Even gangsters lower their head when she passes.
The Monses could speak Spanish.
Wrestling the bounce of hair into submission.
A brush in a scrap with a wasps nest.
Hair spraying to keep her Latina in place cause the
smell of cocoa butter makes the wooden spoons stop stirring the arroz con gandules.
Makes her have that Morena growing from her scalp.
Makes her less island. More Hybrid.
Makes her question why the language in her tongue
isn’t sufficient to the Nile in her veins.
They act like blood parts like rivers.
Like our ancestry doesn’t call the same land MOTHER.
Like Africa isn’t in the hip thrusts to our Bomba.
Ruby isn’t masculine enough. His intelligence is a
lunch table rumor that has people asking?
le gustan las chicas, verdad?
it’s easier to think he
must be gay if the books appeal to him
more than the tight jeans.
On these blocks,
people will scream injustice while committing the
same backward ass assumptions.
Using the same stereotypes in prayers.
Pretending GOD won’t notice the fallacy cause
we have that brown skin too, just lighter.
Making sure not to forget to add the “just lighter”
before the AMEN.
Frankie A Soto
Frankie brought a lot of energy to our campus during his performance at our Black Student Union “Soul Food” event. His skills and truth moved the audience in ways that have never been done on our campus! If you are looking for a great poet, emcee, or down to earth human being that can connect with people in a variety of ways, Frankie Soto is your person!
Jerel Benton, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion/Senior Diversity Officer (University of Wisconsin-Superior)
“I attended your performance tonight with my sister and we just wanted to say that your work is amazing!!! We come from South Africa but we could really relate to your material and we were touched by every poem. Keep doing
what you’re doing because your words inspire!”
~Courtney Janeison, University of Vermont
“I just want to thank you very much for coming to UVM tonight! Thank you for your powerful poems, life stories and everything else. Noche de Cultura wouldn’t have been an amazing event without you!! “
~Ruth, University of Vermont
“Thank you so much. I mean it when I say you were the best performers and realest people I have ever seen here at UVM. I was excited for Noche de Cultura but had no idea that you were going to make the kind of impact you did. The room was loud and once you started performing it became so quiet and you had everyone’s full attention. Everyone was buzzing about you after the show and even the day after we couldn’t stop talking about you. I don’t know where your next show is but people need to make sure they bring you to their school!! It is a no brainer! Hope to have you back sooner than later. Keep moving hearts and minds.
~Adam, University of Vermont
“I love your genuine spirit and energy. Your connection between yourself and yours fans is something real. I like how you went to
different places and perspectives. You touched on so many points that allowed me to feel so many emotions. The fact you were able to be so vulnerable and open up is very impressive. You really have a serious talent and passion.”
Jameson, University of New Haven
“I just felt very proud last night. You highlighted topics that are so relevant and it just made me feel proud of my skin. Proud to be a Latina, and you have a gift! Thank you so much for coming.”
Giselle, LASA, University of New Haven
“I really felt inspired and connected with many of the poems. It’s hard to sometimes effectively communicate feelings and those poems put into words what I have experienced and could never express.”
Cindy Zhunio, President of LASA, University of New Haven
Frankies show is one the of the most dynamic and energy filled I have ever seen. He really pumps up the crowd and feeds off what we give him. He reminded me that poets regardless of experience can inspire each other.
~ Zaria Evans, Cornell College, President- Lyrically Inclined Poetry Club
I was in the middle of studying for my midterm, but the whole time I couldn’t help but stop my studying to listen to your powerful words. What I witnessed was powerful words that are able to move people and connect souls.
~ Glorisette Santiago Rivera, Cornell College
The energy that Frankie Soto brought to campus was incredible. Through his open mic and personal performances, students and staff felt encouraged and inspired to create their own poetry. Several peers told me something along the lines of “Frankie Soto is DOPE” after his performance. There is no better way to put it.
Randy William Santiago, Cornell College, President-Union Latinx Organization