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3 Shaggy Flores Poems for Hispanic Heritage Month

 

 

One of the many poets who have influenced my work has been Jaime “Shaggy” Flores, whom I met a few years ago when he visited as part of the homage for late scholar Juan Flores celebrated a few years ago in the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. After meeting the self-proclaimed Nuyorican/Massarican that day, I immediately bought his book Obatala’s Bugalu: A Nuyorican Book of Sights and Sounds and got hooked. The following listicle presents three poems that go hand in hand with the event in celebration, Hispanic Heritage Month, as Shaggy on multiple occasions looks back at history to help us understand our present.

(cover for Flores’s book)

“Negritude”

The first of the poems to be discussed has to be “Negritude.” In this text, Shaggy looks back at the multiple elements that make up the Nuyorican experience by mentioning a variety of Afro-rooted references and how they are part of said identity while constantly shouting across the page “We be those Negroes,” firmly stating that the Puerto Rican and Nuyorican is an extension of the African diaspora.

(Flores performing as part of the Juan Flores homage)

“Areito”

With “Areito,” Shaggy takes a slightly more comedic tone with a short and to-the-point thought-provoking poem that seeks to make the reader reflect about the importance of history and culture in order to understand one’s role in society.

“Oye Lo”

Meanwhile, “Oye Lo” continues to expand on the aforementioned messages as Shaggy quickly states:

        Oye lo mi pueblo!

        Te estan llamando!

        Son tus raíces!

        No niegues, No niegues lo que tú eres! (Flores 87)

After those first four lines, Shaggy, much in the vein of “Negritude,” references a variety of elements which make up the Puerto Rican and Nuyorican experience. However, while “Negritude” focuses more on the African roots, this one grabs a bit of that and expands on it by focusing on other aspects, especially politics.

(Flores performing as part of the Juan Flores homage)

Jaime “Shaggy” Flores, like other Nuyorican poets before him and a few of his peers, is the type of writer that encourages one to look back at the past and reflect in order to understand one’s experience and environment. The aforementioned texts are perfect examples of how important history and culture are to him and his work.

Find Obatala’s Bugalu: A Nuyorican Book of Sights and Sounds on Amazon

All of the pictures in this article were taken by Fernando E. E. Correa González