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What Can I Give? Spoken Word

Sit and listen as you interact with your “What Can I Give” zine.

Spoken word poetry written and performed by Pablo Alarcon Jr.


I ask myself now in my 24th year, the same year my mother had me

Will I find in you what I also see in me, what I see in your grandmother, and what I see in mine.

Will I be the weak link in our chain that causes us to fall off the neck of our culture.

Forgotten on the sidewalk as we moved from one land to another.

Cause I fear I can’t give you the same fire on their tongues for my mouth carries the last embers

Sigo luchando hoy por encontrar un fuego para mantenerlo vivo.

But I will teach you to speak with a ferocity that demands respect and a gentleness that caresses the ears

To speak like the warmth of a bonfire on a brisk summer’s night

And I fear I can’t give you the same recipes that still make me dance in my seat.

But you know what, I’m still gonna feed you with the same seasonings of love and I pray you dance a merengue half as well as me.

How your muscles will grow out of the salsa we’ll practice each and every weekend as we clean the house.

I fear that you’ll live a privileged life, that you won’t know hard work.

And I will try to teach you the way our grandmothers work for their children first.

And how the iron that is infused in their bones act as pillars to keep our family upright.

How thier unseen nights create the opportunities for us to succeed now.

I will try to teach you the way our grandfathers imagined for a greater life

And risked all for an ungauranteed promise

And it gave their children the curiosity to look beyond their island and find wonder in the world

Because although I can’t give you the very island our culture came from

I will make sure you are surrounded in oceans of love that reflect the limits that you will set for yourself

I will give you the way our family walks in this world like we got gold in our skin and diamonds in our eyes.

And how only god could deny you the very destiny our family has worked so hard to manifested for you now.