FADE FROM BLACK
EXT. STREET – DAY
DYLCIA walks down the street listening to her headphones. Something catches her eye as she walks past a pawnshop window. She stops and looks into the window. She looks at her watch and see the second hand ticking then walks inside the pawn shop.
INT. PAWN SHOP – DAY
SAM the pawnshop owner is doing some accounting on a glass display counter with watches and jewelry.
No kids allowed in the store.
I wanna see something that’s in the window.
I don’t care. No kids allowed in the store.
I wanna buy it.
What do you want to buy?
This… (she points to a box in the window)
You have money?
Yeah. I got money.
SAM gets a beautifully decorated wooden box with a Puerto Rican flag painted on it out of the window. He puts it on the counter. DYLCIA picks it up.
I wanna buy it. How much is it?
How much money do you have?
What do you mean how much money do I have?
How much money do you have?
What kind of question is that?
A simple question. Now, how much do you have?
DYLCIA reaches into her pocket and pulls out a bunch of bills and puts them on the counter. SAM counts the bills.
It’s not enough.
How much is it?
What does it matter how much it is if
you haven’t got enough to pay for it?
DYLCIA picks up the box and looks for a price.
It doesn’t have a price.
How do you know how much it is?
I know… that’s how I know.
You don’t put the price on things
so people can know?
No. I don’t put the price on things.
If people want something bad enough they’ll pay.
DYLCIA turns around and looks at the guitars hanging in the store with prices on them.
You put the price tags on those guitars.
Yeah. Some things got prices tags on them
others don’t. It doesn’t matter because
you can’t afford this.
But I still want it. Tell me much it is
and I’ll find a way to pay it.
SAM thinks for a moment…
You want it so bad? I’ll make you a deal.
I’ll take this money you have here and when
you get more money you come back and
you bring it to me. If you have enough money
next time to pay for it I’ll give it to you.
What happens if I don’t have enough
money the next time to pay for it?
I’ll take that and I’ll apply it to the final price.
And you won’t sell it to anyone else?
No. This money says it’s yours.
If that money says it’s mine why can’t I have it?
Because you haven’t finished paying for it.
When you finish paying for it you can have it.
So this money says it’s mine
but I can’t have it until I finish paying for it?
DYLCIA gives SAM a dirty look she puts her money down on the counter. SAM pockets the money and smiles as DYLCIA walks out with an uneasy feeling of dissatisfaction.
FADE TO BLACK
“To take you back, I was born in 1898, during the climax of the Spanish/American War. I say 1898 because that was the year that the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico, the year when they colonized us. Now, I was born again in ‘44 to my mother in Ponce, Puerto Rico and again in ’47, at the age of three, when my folks migrated to New York City through the epic of Operation Boot Strap. We’re all part of the casualties of the Inquisition, the American Inquisition.
I also say I was born in 1949, because that’s the day I went to the first theatre with my grandfather, who felt deceived by Operation Boot Strap and committed hara-kiri, but I don’t think it was suicide. He was killed by the system that deceived him, the system that made him sell his land in Borinquen. What happened was the disillusion. The voices in his head were of the Central Intelligence, compelling him to sever his jugular vein. Think about his friends. There’s nobody to talk to, nobody to communicate with, and there’s nothing to go back to, but the industrialization of the island that had deceived so many people. So, that was the first theatre I went to, at Monje’s Funeral Parlor, in a brown suit. Actually, that was my first teaching, or my first awareness of Puerto Rican history. Puerto Ricans die and go to a Puerto Rican funeral parlor. And Monje was a ghoul; he looked like a ghoul. How you going to have the name Monje, and be a proprietor of a funeral parlor? You’ll scare the customers away, but he didn’t scare us away. ” – Rev.Pedro Pietri
Source La Prensa San Diego 6th, Feb, 2004
i’m working on trying to raise money for a new film called PAWNSHOP DREAM. It’s a film that’s heavily influenced by one Rev. Pedro Pietri. Who the hell is Rev. Pedro Pietri? Rev. Pedro Pierti was one of the original Nuyorican poets. Who were the Nuyorican Poets? The Nuyorican poets were a rag tag bunch of Puerto Rican who became poets at the literal barrel of US colonialism’s gun. They emerged from the late 60′s, 70′s and 80′s living a schizophrenic existence in exile in the mean streets of New York because Puerto Rico is and continues to be a colony of the United States. Schizophrenic because Americans didn’t want them because they were Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricans didn’t want them because now they were Americans. The result of that dual schizophrenic existence became the Nuyorican experience. But because Puerto Ricans are good with a blade these poets carved out a space with words and defined the unreality of what it meant to be Puerto Rican outside of Puerto Rico. In the process of doing that the Nuyorican poets grabbed poetry by the ankles turned it upside down and shook the change out it’s pockets.
No other poet captured the zeitgeist of the Nuyorican experience like Rev. Pedro Pietri . The proof is in the recipe of his 1974 epic poem, Puerto Rican Obituary. That poem was written in the El Barrio (East Harlem, NYC) apartment of Dylcia Pagan who is another huge influence on PAWNSHOP DREAM. If Rev. Pedro Pietri is the Revelation of PAWNSHOP DREAM, Dylcia Pagan, who is a former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner and prisoner of war, is the genesis. Puerto Rican Obituary took the schizophrenic unreality of Puerto Ricans in the ghettos of New York living in between two worlds while simultaneously living in both and wholeheartedly claimed the validity of it, in all it’s absurdity rather than rejecting it, in all it’s impossibility. In claiming to be in – and – from two different places at once Puerto Rican Obituary led the charge to fuse the fracture of a split existence. The idea of being in – and – from two places at once is a part of the psychological fallout of colonization. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the US since 1898 and was a colony of Spain for almost 400 years before that. What Rev. Pedro Pietri and the other Nuyorican Poets did was painfully, playfully and poetically work through the fracture of being colonized and fuse together a mismatched unreality to recreate what it meant to be Puerto Rican within a fractured colonized existence. Check out this excerpt of Rev. Pedro Pietri reciting Puerto Rican Obituary…
Rev. Pedro Pietri’s poetry could be described as surreal dadaism from the streets. His poetry is filled with resolving the conflicting unreality of living here and there at the same time and in the same space. He flipped the polarizing affects of opposing ideas and made them attract. He used what seemed like nonsense to make sense of a world that’s never made sense. It’s this quality of his work that is a huge influence on PAWNSHOP DREAM. To understand what i’m talking about here is a poem from Rev. Pedro Pietri called Traffic Misdirector from his book Traffic Violations…
the greatest living poet
in new york city
was born in Puerto Rico
his name is Jorge Brandon
he is 70 years old
he carries his metaphor
in brown shopping bags
inside steel shopping cart
he travels around with
on the streets of manhattan
he recites his poetry
to whoever listens
& when nobody is around
he recites to himself
he speaks the wisdom
of unforgotten palm trees
the vocabulary of coconuts
that wear overcoats
the traffic lights
of his poems function
without the boring advice
from ac or dc current
book stores & libraries
are deprived of his vibes
to become familiar
with this immortal poet
you have to hang-out
on street corners
building stoops rooftops
fire escapes bars parks
subway train stations
iglesias pawn shops
card games cock fights
funerals valencia bakery
hunts point palace
pool halls orchard beach
& cuchifrito stands
on the lower east side
the admission is free
his presence is poetry
PAWNSHOP DREAM is about a young girl who puts a pretty box of sand she see in a pawnshop window on layaway. The concept of layaway itself is surreal. An item on layaway belongs to the one who pays, but is in the possession of the one who collects payment. As long as one keeps paying for the item it belongs to them and cannot be sold to another but until it’s paid for it completely it cannot be fully claimed. This is a perfect metaphor for the colonial relationship that the US has with Puerto Rico. It’s obvious that Puerto Rico belongs to Puerto Ricans but the US won’t relinquish their illegitimate claim. In PAWNSHOP DREAM the girl grows up paying until she’s finally had enough…
PAWNSHOP DREAM and this metaphor for Puerto Rican colonialism is also an apt metaphor for the current demands of the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. i think that the roots of rampant unchecked capitalism can be traced right back to the colonization of the Americas. What PAWNSHOP DREAM is trying to do is connect the schizophrenic idea that capitalism colonizes all of us… The colonization of nations by capitalism is not unlike the colonization of persons by capitalism… In each case capitalism is served with the exploitation of people…
In 2004 the good right Rev. Pedro Pietri died of stomach cancer which he felt was attributed to his exposure to Agent Orange when he was drafted into the Vietnam War. He may have flipped over to the flip side of life however his influence can be felt in the script of PAWNSHOP DREAM and is sure to be felt in the film once it’s completed. In a way Rev. Pedro Pietri is live and direct from the flip side life in PAWNSHOP DREAM.
You can help the surreal script of PAWNSHOP DREAM become a surreal film… There are two ways to do this… Donate financially or spread the word about the campaign… Any way you choose is very much appreciated…
Rev. Pedro Pietri Is Live And Direct From The Flip Side Of Life #nothingtobegainedhere #PAWNSHOPDREAM #ows
vagabond (@vgbnd) December 20, 2011
i just launched a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo for the latest film i wrote, PAWNSHOP DREAM. Its a follow up to my award winning feature film MACHETERO and it’s a surrealist comedy with its roots planted in the political soil of Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and heavily influenced by the surreal Nuyorican poet and playwright Rev. Pedro Pietri. The film follows a teenage girl (played by Alexis “Flea” Fernandez) who sees a beautiful box of sand in a Pawnshop that she wants to buy. She goes in and asks the owner of the Pawnshop what it costs but the Pawnshop owner refuses to tell her. He only tells her what that she can’t afford it. The teenage girl really wants the box of sand, so the Pawnshop owner offer to put it on layaway and the teenage girl accepts putting down whatever money she has.
The Teenage girl returns to the Pawnshop several more times to make her layaway payments and each time the Pawnshop owner strings her along telling her she still doesn’t have enough to pay for the box of sand. Years pass and the teenage girl grows up to be a young woman who comes in and makes her layaway payment on the box of sand. More years pass and an older woman, (played by former US held Political Prisoner & Prisoner Of War Dylcia Pagan) comes in to finally claim what has always been rightfully hers. The Pawnshop owner refuses to give it to her telling her she won’t get the box of sand until she’s done paying for it and at the same time refusing to tell her what the final cost actually is.
The older woman comes back into the Pawnshop one last time with a beautifully wrapped box. She tells the Pawnshop owner that she has brought him a gift. The Pawnshop owner is thrilled at first until he hears a ticking noise coming from inside the pretty package. He asks the older woman what it is and she tells him it’s his time running out. She tells him that he has very little time to do the right thing but the Pawnshop owner insists on continuing to collect on the box of sand. Before he can tell the older woman to leave the Pawnshop the box stops ticking…
PAWNSHOP DREAM is all about simplifying the complex relationship between colonialism and capitalism. With a biting humor and a distilled political sense, the fog of understanding can be lifted to reveal the nakedness of the empire. With the occupation movements sweeping the US and around the world i think that the relationship between colonialism and capitalism is something that can be used to expose the empire. i think the beginnings of the rampant unchecked capitalism wrecking financial havoc around the world can be traced back to colonialism. i also think that the colonial situation of Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how capitalism treats each of us as individuals. It promises and promises and promises a better future if we work hard but never delivers on the promise.
Colonialism is a tool of capitalism and PAWNSHOP DREAM is a surrealist expose on the reality of that relationship. Colonialism and capitalism are historically intertwined. Although the film uses the “nationless nation” (as Rev. Pedro Pietri calls Puerto Rico) as an example of how capitalism uses colonialism to amass financial profits that metaphor can be applied to all the victims of capitalism… Each of us is colonized by capitalism’s false prophecy of prosperity…
We are trying to raise $5000 to make PAWNSHOP DREAM a reality… There are really only a few ways to help see this film come to fruition… Donate some loot… OR… Spread the love by spreading the word about the campaign to raise money for PAWNSHOP DREAM… If you are on twitter use the hashtag #PAWNSHOPDREAM… If you’re on Facebook post a link to the PAWNSHOP DREAM Indiegogo Campaign… If you have a blog and find the concept interesting write something about it or link this blog or reach out to Dylcia Pagan and or myself for an interview…
i can’t DIWO (Do It With Others) if there are no others to do it… i can’t DIWO, without you… Your help as always is a humbling endeavor for me and very, very, very much appreciated… For more info on the campaign and to follow our progress which will be updated frequently check out PAWNSHOP DREAM on Indiegogo…
The work on PAWNSHOP DREAM has already begun… Arturo & Joseph Rodriguez of RICANSTRUCTION got together a few weeks ago to record a part of the score at Terrordome Studios with DJ Johnny Juice of Public Enemy and X-Vandals at the controls. You can read all about it and check out a video of them recording the track from a previous post called Lunchroom Beats Vol. 1… Enjoy it.. It’s a lot of fun…
#PAWNSHOPDREAM is trying to raise some dough… Send some bread or spread the word… #nothingtobegainedhere #indiegogo
vagabond (@vgbnd) November 29, 2011
“This is a war that’s been going on since the invasion of North America.”
- Rev. Pedro Pietri
With the ongoing Occupation movement on Wall Street and the growing occupation movements going on around the US, this is just a reminder that some of us have been dealing with occupation for centuries now. Although we support the ideas behind Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupation movements we want those who have chosen to use the terminology of “Occupation” to be aware of the hidden and unrecognized history behind that word when it comes to non-white peoples.
Those of us who are not white have had to deal with this “occupation” in one form or another since 1492 when Columbus “discovered” America, for himself. That discovery opened the door for other European nations hell-bent, fighting and tripping over themselves to colonize, rape, plunder and enrich themselves at the expense of indigenous peoples. From the genocide of the native populations in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America that this “occupation” brought to us over 500 years ago to the holocaust of the trans-Atlantic African slave trade and subsequent rampant colonization of Africa. The story of the occupation of indigenous lands doesn’t just end with wholesale murder but continues today in new forms of violence. The eradication of native peoples language, culture and history is the new “occupation”. With the success of the forced occupation of native peoples land, the only thing left to occupy is the minds of those who managed to survive…
The greatest misconception that white people have is that only non-whites have to deal with racism. What whites have failed to realize is that racism is only the frosting on the cake of class warfare. What is done to non-whites under the guise of racism is a test run for what they will eventually do to you. The irony of the situation is that we non-whites who have been dealing with this “occupation” for over five centuries were the canary in the coal mine. But you refused to see the graffiti on the wall. Now that you have lost your homes to banks and your livelihoods to unemployment and your once bright white futures have been painted black, (pun intended) and you are beginning to feel what we have lived with for more than half an eon.
If you ever wonder why more people of color haven’t yet swelled your “occupation” ranks it may be because historically, once you have what you want, you’ll go back to occupying the comfortable role of white privilege that led you to believe that racism was different from classism. What you are experiencing is old hat for us, the forced removal from your homes, the inability to find work that pays a living wage, the police brutality, frivolous arrests, and your adventures with the justice shitstem, even your homeless encampment are just a few of the things we have lived with for longer than you would care to imagine. We have lived with a knowledge of things that you are now, only beginning to realize.
This is a warning to you that your “Occupy…” movement will fail unless you reach out to those who have a lot more experience with “occupation” than you ever will have. Let me reiterate that people of color support your ideas in striking back at this ongoing class warfare but this movement will fail if it doesn’t realize that this didn’t begin with the collapse of the financial shitstem in 2008… it began long, long, long, before then. Unless you begin to deal with the roots of this occupation that began 500 years ago you’re current occupation will fail.
This is also an invitation for you to open up your dialogue to non-whites who have been at the frontlines of this “occupation” and have suffered the most casualties because of it. If you want to succeed in creating a more egalitarian society then it would behoove you to reach out to the ones who have suffered the most inequality. Otherwise you risk becoming the very same occupation that we have come to hate, and that you are only beginning to feel, and you risk changing nothing.
To Occupy And Unoccupy #nothingtobegainedhere #ows
vagabond (@vgbnd) October 07, 2011
As a side note: RICANSTRUCTED is a design company dedicated to the unoccupation of Puerto Rico from US colonial rule. If you like the UNOCCUPY PUERTO RICO design you can get it on a T-shirt or a Hoodie.
A Small But Irresponsible Role
Unlawful And Disorderly. Running time 55 minutes 10 seconds. Season six. Episode four. Countdown from ten seconds on the last commercial and fade from black into the show opener.
i refuse to go to court when summoned on the summons i get. i usually go when the warrant is used as an apb and the next time i’m stopped by the puh-leez they arrest me and they escort me to court like i’m Al fucken Capone. The judge will have an exasperated look on his face, the assistant da will feel satiated, the cop will get a pat on his head.
The show opening credits theme music with a montage of the just-us shit-stem in full affect. (The show is about me but i am not in the opening credits.) Freeze frame zoom in of the judge, the assistant da and the cop on the steps of a court house with a superimposed american flag blowing over them and the title Unawful and Disorderly. Again i am nowhere to be found in the closing shot even though i came up with the title for the show.
COMMERCIAL BREAK. This part of the show is paid for by Tylenol, Chevrolet, McDonald’s, the Gap, the US Army, and Master Card because it’s for everything else.
SCENE TWO: FLASHBACK
Because they caught me flaunting their law, they caught me not giving a fuck. They caught me when i was headed east on first avenue making that left on twenty-third street to go north. It’s a new regulation. The sign had been there for a year (so they say). I have been driving on twenty-third street going east to first avenue for 23 years but not in the past year so i guess i never looked for it. Besides it didn’t make sense to make a no left turn on first avenue from east bound on twenty-third street. So fuck it.
COMMERCIAL BREAK. This time the preceding part of the show is paid for by Cialis, Ford, Burger King, Old Navy, the US Navy, American Airlines and Clean Coal.
The judge, the assistant da, the cop will all feel like something has been accomplished, like they’re straightening out something crooked. The world has been put to right by putting a foot in my ass with the enforcing of the misdemeanors that make the world go round.
It’s no effort on my part to feel disinterested by it all, no effort at all. The effort is all in the shaping of my rage into an aura of violence. i do this because they have not yet found a way to outlaw an aura of violence. i know this because if it were against the law i would have been charged, happily pled guilty and done the time. They have also not yet outlawed rage but then again those laws could be on the books and these judicial clowns may not know that and so i may be getting away with it based on their ignorance.
Either way i do my best to inflate my aura to let this violence fill the court room to let them sow the seed they planted. All the while i’m polite and outwardly compliant, the aura of my rage is blooming into a psychic violence. This is confusing for them and if the docket weren’t full with a long list of misdemeanor that need to be charged, they would figure it out, but who has time to prosecute anger? That should have been handled earlier with a beating by the cop for “resisting arrest”, but unfortunately, that ship, has sailed now.
COMMERCIAL BREAK. This portion of the show brought to you by a reality cop show, Citibank, a reality show about someone who got famous for being on a reality show, Verizion, a reality show about people who don’t get along as roommates and Pork, the other white meat.
Because i’m a bit player in this badly written shit-com and this story is about me, it’s more than irksome to see the judge and the assistant da and the cop get all the shine. They all have starring roles despite their obvious lack of talent. Cue the fucken laugh track.
Three hours, twelve hours, twenty-six hours of life that i’ll never get back. i could have been illegally painting the side of a wall and watching it dry. i could have been reading Traffic Violations by Rev. Pedro Pietri. (They don’t let you read in court, if they catch you they reprimand you and if you do it again because you forgot because it’s sooooooo fucken boring in court then they take your book away and the bailiff burns it.) i could be at the movies. i could be eating a ham and cheese sandwich. i could be at home with my dog licking my face. i could be driving around NYC blissfully breaking more laws in an unaware state as i listen to RICANSTRUCTION. But nooooooo, i have to be in court with the seconds that make up my minutes that make up my hours that make up my days that make up my life. All wasted never to be seen or had again.
Forgot to go to a COMMERCIAL BREAK. This part of the show is brought to you by my fuck you to the state.
i’m not worth the effort of a jail sentence. Even the judge and the assistant da are aware of the overcrowding situation in prison. The assistant da thinks i don’t see him when he writes a post it note to remind to himself to ask the governor to build another privatized prison upstate. Anyway my incarceration would cost the state too much, the better idea would be to make me pay for this privilege they call judicial prudence. So it’s $150 for the summons plus the $80 state surcharge. That state surcharge is weird to me. Isn’t the money already going to the state? i keep my mouth shut because it’s a world of hurt to get into those illogical reasonings. It’s like an invitation to your own beheading.
Just then i notice above the head of the judge the “o” in god we trust is missing this is too much. Just too much. Is that what the state surcharge is going to fill in? The void of the ”o” in God? Can i continue without falling to the floor holding my gut, laughing hysterically? Stay tuned.
COMMERCIAL BREAK. A drug for restless leg syndrome, Lockheed Martin protecting us from something and creating jobs in the US somewhere, Sunoco has gas that cleans your engine, Life insurance for non smokers for a dollar a month, and a new mop that squirts. i don’t know, i’m not paying attention anymore, i can’t afford it, i have $230 in fines to pay.
When can you pay the judge asks i say two weeks but i won’t pay for six because i can go six weeks without getting arrested after that it gets dicey. After that, it’s like a $8.99 all you eat buffet in Vegas but the house always wins.
This is not the worst part of it. The worst part is coming home listening to people who love you and who you love back tell you how much they agree with your resistance but want you to comply with the role that you were literally cuffed into, in this theater of absurdity, adapted for television and commonly known as a shit-com but shot like a game show and classified as an anti-drug Public Service Announcement. The announcer under a blinking applause sign, introduces the show “THIS IS YOUR LIFE – ON LAW ENFORCEMENT!” Cue the fucken laugh track.
COMMERCIAL BREAK. Mute button. i just watch the pretty images and add my own soundtrack. It’s an exercise in imagination. i just want to flex my creativity muscle. It’s difficult to do because i know that BP is talking about how quickly they are paying for the oil spill, i know that the Red Cross is looking for donations for Japanese tsunami victims, i know that the Marines are looking for a few good men, i know that Exxon-Mobil is talking about how much they are spending on renewable energy, i know that the Snuggle blanket will keep my girlfriend warm and help keep the ConEd gas bill down… i know this. All of this. But all i can think of is the assassinated hours and the $230 i owe. And it strangles my imagination and makes my creativity muscle weak.
This is where they win. In the division it creates between the people who love you and you love back. This where the judge and the assistant da and the cop get the last laugh. Cue the sad melody.
My girlfriend who has proved her love to me on a constant and consistent basis for these many many years will argue with me because i cannot contain the frustration of this shit-uation and she will pick up on the toxic bad vibe infection that the laughter of the judge, assistant da and the cop made airborne. We will argue about something completely unrelated to my adventures in the just-us shit-stem and this will be a wedge driven between us.
i can’t help but feel that theses attempts by the state to make it seem like i am a reckless fool with the woman i love are the real punishment that is administered for a no left turn on twenty-third street and first avenue. But that could just be my own paranoia. Or a sad attempt to place the blame elsewhere when it’s me at fault.
COMMERCIAL BREAK. Our supporters in this installment of our show brought to you by Ameritrade, Lending Tree, 1-800-LAWYERS, ProActiv, AARP Reverse Mortgage, the US Air Force, Budweiser and BMW.
IN NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE…
SPOLIER ALERT! This is how it ends.
This is where i’m caught acquiescing to the theater of absurdity that they call justice in an effort to ease the minds of the people who love me and who i love back. The people who worry that one day i’ll never make it to the precinct or the courthouse because a cop will shoot me for not assuming a position in which i can be more easily violated.
This is where the love for those who love me and worry for me, worry i will be murdered by a puh-leez officer for resisting authority for authorities sake because there is an “A” with a circle around it tattooed to my left wrist that frees me from such indignities. But i guess he didn’t get the memo at roll call.
The cop will admit to killing me saying that as i pulled my hands from my pocket he could see the threat of an equal symbol tattooed on my right wrist and that equality was just too much of a threat to his superiority so he shot first so that he didn’t need to ask questions later.
And so i will not add to my $230 bill with a funeral at Ortiz Funeral Home on Havemeyer in Williamsburg Brooklyn, that will have the ones who i love and who love me back crying over a closed casket. i will hold my end of the bargain and not give the state an excuse to kill me… just yet. i will find another way to resist. Maybe in a pom.
Cue the laugh track. Roll the credits. FADE TO BLACK.
PS Check out the photos of Sam Lahoz he’s a talented photographer…