The Greatest Lessons

Before writing an apology, you must first swallow pride and everything with it. I’ve been thinking long and hard, meditating deep and wide, and even took more time to meditate before consulting with a Buddhist monk before writing this. “There is no dishonor if your intentions were noble,” he said, “but it might be good to write something to balance.” And in this, everything: my pride, my ambivalence because I did want to help my community, and even the trespass against my brother and mentor, Cinto.

I have had the strange good fortune of having incredible mentors, those who represent National Endowments for the Arts, Griffin Prize, Los Angeles and New York Times Best Sellers, schools from Harvard to New York University, from academies like the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. And I think Cinto as my personal mentor, probably one of the most significant especially because of the home we share and envision.

Because I don’t want to make this sappy, I’ll make it succinct: Cinto represents everything I’ve been able to claim after 2010: My first job as Administration for Fort Worth ISD was a direct result of his network, which I believe also signified his vision in me. From there, I made sure to progress and have been able to – I’m now writing from NYC.

Jacinto, though I’ve never told him because I do not like to emote, is actually a kind of father figure for me. I’m not close with my father. I don’t remember most of him from childhood. I’ve tried to write poems about my father, but only the memory of clanking metal and a garage full of engines comes through. My father and I are still figuring out our relationship, and so it’s strange to have found a man who not only shares my visions but also has had the generosity to guide me, moreso, and as of late, also to forgive me. And I’m sorry to have trespassed on him.

As bitter as the pride-pill goes: I must say I should have checked my sources. I want to re-iterate that I never accused Cinto of anything, and that thought never entered my mind. That those sources made strong statements and still wished to remain anonymous, there is no grounding for what was reported. I also want to re-iterate that I believe that strong educational programming requires intersectionality – the inclusion of mathematics, science, academic and professional development – in order to ascertain global competitiveness; something the North Side, and other communities, has needed for quite some time; and I also believe that Cinto is the one to stand at the helm.

There is already much division in the world; enough hate to spill over into the afterlife; too much distrust in a time of great change and possibility.

In a strange way, I’m glad that here is the opportunity to show the power of compassion, resolution, and the spiritual bond between brothers, family in this community we share.

I’m taking a pause from this blogging stuff – believe it or not, the blog is only a little bit older than the post, so still very young – and I am still working, writing my second book, preparing for two conferences, and wondering why I’m trying to add more when my life is now New York (though, of course, my roots are always with North Side, my Mexicanness).

Cinto and I discussed ways to create steam with the arts, and that’s when I proposed a call for submissions – that the blog would showcase talent from the community. Cinto, being Board Representative for District 1, asked for Diamond Hill’s and North Side’s representation, and naturally I said of course. After speaking with my publishing company, Cloud City Press opened its arms to this collaboration

What this art is going to look like, we don’t know. We thought of creating “themes”, but that might be too restrictive (unless that’s what y’all want). All I can say is, there’s an open call for art – poetry, flash fiction, prose, graphic arts, videos, singing, collages, news about arts, the possibility is with you.

Please send your submissions, questions, etc, to:

What better way to demonstrate the transformative nature of forgiveness than this announcement – an idea born from two North Siders with the CommUNITY in our mind!

Thank you all, for my greatest lesson.


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