…And Here I Am!
(1992; 500 years from the “encounter”.)

By: Rosalina Contreras-Rosado (Salvadoreña)

Eyes are black
Well designed rosie lips,
thin, thin nose
and pronounced cheekbones.

The hair is dark The skin is tan, I got rythm
in my Life.

I’m attracted to castanets, cloaks and mantillas,
but I am also fascinated
by the flute and the chirimillas.

Dancing of el zapateado
or to the flamenco tune
I have them all intertwined They’re guitars and mellow cries.

“Canto hondo” or Native song, Which do I prefer for my soul?
if both are beautiful,
Which one will first fill me with joy?

My mixed blood
Is red and vibrant;
the Spanish heritage empowers me with courage and melancholy.

My native blood
Is red such as our beans, Frivolous as our corn
and humble as our marigold.

For better understanding
They are combined in the pain,

of two worlds that with passion I want to express with my love.

For the ones who survived
It is a symbol of continued life; for those who died we did not cry It was a well planned mishap.

I don’t go for the material
my heart does not break for gold, mortality and life inspires me
is the position I most desire.

They broke many a dreams: my ancestors intermarried; many ships sank in the ocean and our pyramids expired.

I was saved from certain death for being a beautiful maiden, But from my people took away our very own spiritual ways!

Freedom came to all
of these Aboriginal lands
Who were the real slaves,
the warlords or the native lads?

Eternally united we are
in this obstinate planet
where some get remunerated while others are tied in bondage.

And who’s am I? Who claims me? The Spaniards who in their adventure only strived for gold and spices?
Or the natives, that elusive race?

…And here I am…! I am from America, of mestizo species and strong,
a new and unique breed
That has no fear of Death!


Poem awarded with the Honor Award from “UNESCO. Org” & INSTITUTO DE CULTURA AMERICANA de Mexico, en DF. Celebrating the 500 anniversary of the encounter between Europe and Aztlan, which later was named America by Christopher Columbus. October 12, 1992.This poem -In Spanish- was written in 1992, to celebrate the 500 “meeting” of Europe/Aztlán. It was a winner in the International contest of UNESCO in conjunction with the Institute of American Culture, of Mexico. (original in Spanish, translated by rc) ——————————————