El Spanglish National Anthem, poema de Pedro Pietri

El spanglish national anthem de pedro pietri

En my Viejo San Juan

They raise the price of pan

So I fly to Manhattan.

It was there that I swear

Everyone took welfare

Especially the Latins!


To El Barrio I went

In pursuit of low rent

In a five room apartment

Where by neighbors will be

Puerto Ricans like me

Dressed in tropical garments.


I know

I know, I know

I’ll miss Puerto Rico

(Land of de Palm trees)

And so,

And so and so

I’ll live in El Barrio’s

(Latin Community)


And whennnnn

I hit the numbers

I’ll return to San Juan

Afford the price of pan

Until my life is done

(Island blessed by the sun

Here I come Here I come

Donde my roots are from)


Many years came and went

Fell behind on my rent

Cursed Christopher Columbus.

Worked as hard as I could

But my luck was no good

Never once hit the numbers


Now everyday I pray

Before passing away

And going six foot under

That again I will see

People who look like me

In my island of wonders.


I know

I know I know

I’ll reach Puerto Rico

(Y live to be ninety three)

And so And so

Once in Puerto Rico

(Won’t be a minority)


Y Paaaaa’

El carajo with the numbers

If I can’t fly I’ll swim

Straight from El Barrio

Back to Puerto Rico

(Island by the sun blessed

Island I never left

I will settle there next)


Asi es how it must be

For the whole family

Dice our destineeeee!

De weather wasn’t nice

Comfort cost a high price

Unlike in Puerto Rico

We kept cooking the rice

And re-heating the beans

And making cuchifrito.


De hard times were plenty

De pockets stayed empty

But the soul nunca dyyyyyed

And junto we survived

And danced after we cried

Defending nuestro pride.


I know

I know I know

Next stop’s Puerto Rico

(So help me OTB

And so

And so And so

I won’t be called Chico

By the Statue of Liberty)


Y thennnnn

Con familia and friends

Good times will never end

Learn how to laugh again

And stop sheeteen on ten

(Once in my country

I will be I will be

Who has always been me)


In Spanish there were bills

In English there were bills

That just kept getting bigger.

Categorized as hicks

We were called dirty spicks

Blanco trash and black niggers


Las botanicas saved

Us from an early grave

All aspirin did wass kill joo!

Muchas gracias Chango

La Plena y el Mambo

For coming to the rescue!


I know

I know I know

We have been in limbo

(We’re in New York City)

And so

And so And so

Almost misplaced my soul

(Somewhere in New Jersey)


Porqueeeee blood is

Thicker than Coca-Cola

I have very high hopes

Of rejoining my folks

With them I’m never broke

Y at last I will find

That there is peace of mind

Everything will be fine.


In Borinquen we’ll be

Enjoying our history

For mucho centuries

We registered to vote

Thinking that there was hope

In elected officials.

Pero as soon as they win

For a moment they grin

Then they drop all the issues.


Many dropped out of school

Others went to college

Trying hard to get somewhere.

In the land of da free

Where without a degree

You cannot collect welfare.


I know

I know I know

I’ll always play dominoes

(Wherever I may be)

And go

And go And go

To local bodegas

(For Bustelo coffee)



I’m still in Puerto Rico

Only my body came

My strong spirit remains

Everything’s still de same

(I truly do believe

You can leave and still be

Where Mami met Papi)


Some did assimilate

In de United States

They got rid of de accent

Tho whenever they spoke

That will always unmask them!


But de majority

Kept their identity

Never did lose their accent!

They were proud not ashamed

Of their Boricua names

If you don’t believe ask them.


I know

I know I know

I am being followed

(By my destiny)

And so

And so And so

I will never be swallowed

(By inferiority)

And whennnnn

De plane takes off again

I know that there will be

No return trips for me

Back to New York City

(Island blessed by the sun

Here I come Here I come

Donde my roots are from)


And with my family

We’ll struggle and believe

That one day we’ll be free.


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Pedro Pietri was a poet and playwright who chronicled the joys and struggles of Nuyoricans — urban Puerto Ricans whose lives straddle the islands of Puerto Rico and Manhattan. Through countless poems and plays — he continued to write even after his illness was diagnosed late last year — he defined the Nuyorican experience, inspiring a new generation of Latino poets, including the streetwise slam poets whose provocative performances were showcased at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a Lower East Side institution that he helped to found. His writing has been included in many anthologies and translated into more than a dozen languages, although his books are hard to find in this country. Pietri was born in Ponce, P.R., and moved with his family to Harlem when he was 3, eventually settling into the Grant Houses, a housing project on Amsterdam Avenue. His father, a dishwasher at the St. Regis Hotel, had come to New York ahead of his wife and children.His interest in poetry, his sister said, was encouraged by their aunt Irene Rodriguez, who often recited poetry and put on theatrical productions at the First Spanish United Methodist Church in East Harlem, where the family worshiped. He started composing his own poems when he was a teenager at Haaren High School, his sister said.After high school Mr. Pietri worked in a variety of jobs in the garment district, his friend and biographer Robert Waddell said. He was drafted into the Army and served with a light infantry brigade in Vietnam, an experience that Mr. Pietri said had further radicalized him. Upon his return, Mr. Waddell said, Mr. Pietri barely lasted one week working at a hospital before he quit in disgust to pursue poetry.The Methodist church he attended in his youth became the stage for his first public reading of "Puerto Rican Obituary": when the Young Lords, an activist group, briefly took over the church in 1969, Mr. Pietri read his poem as an act of solidarity. It was the beginning of his association with activist causes, including the fight against AIDS.In addition to Ms. Pietri Diaz and his brother, Joe, both of New York, he is survived by his wife, Margarita Deida Pietri, of Yonkers, and four children.When doctors told him he had inoperable cancer last year, he sought alternative treatment in Mexico. Within a few weeks his friends and fans had donated $30,000 for his care. Their generosity, he said, was humbling and reassuring. David Gonzalez / New York Times, March 6, 2004


  1. Hi I am Pedro’s Widow Margarita Deida Pietri,when I first met Pedro he showed me the beginning of this poem and asked me to draw the illustrations to the Poem, Why don’t you show the Poster I drew with Pedro’s Poem on it?
    Also what happen To the YouTube video of Pedro reading the Spanglish National Anthem with his son? it was so adorable can it be put back on?

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