Red, White & Blue

Red, White & Blue

by Mariela Regalado


Whichever way you cut through my veins

The colors that spill will still be the same…

Dominican born, American raised

But I am more than just merengue and mangu

My existence stretches out further

than just being another kid from the hood.

I am

the colors of el sol Caribe as its resting, visions of paloma’s blancas. Knocking down mangos and coconuts, climbing up heights to reach for more treats from the tamarindo tree. Women walking back from the campo- their backs heavy- filled to the brim with coffee beans and leaves. Picked off straight from the valleys lined with trees.

I am

infinity pool Resorts. My grandmother’s humble abode en el barrio. Lush green grounds to play golf in. Our Dirt roads- littered with children who wash car windows for a few centavos. Can you smell the pernil in the fire pit? Sancocho, tostones, aguacate y arroz blanco. Wepa!

I can’t roast a pig in my backyard anymore, but I can call up one of my primos at the bodega or

the delivery restaurant- the token Dominican spot if I want more.


Jabon de cuaba and Mexzana powder. Feeling fresh from taking a shower with buckets full of water in the patio. Sittin’ down to eat en familia. Memories of fishing the cilantro leaves out of my beans. Coming to NYC, correcting my other friends “We don’t call them frijoles they’re habichuelas coño!”


hookah smokin’ on the block. Stock market ordering at the bakery in the morning for the perfect breakfast duo -pan con queso y cafe con leche. Women lined up at the salon, their hair in rolos threatening to frizz every time they stick their heads out the door in NYC humidity to keep an eye on their kids.

We have been

on the lookout for the coquito man or piragua cart. Taking Instagram selfies after our run over the George Washington Bridge. Bottomless mimosas Sundays for me and my grown friends. “Los Domingo’s se limpia! No es para fiesta!” My mami screams.  Showing up to work on Mondays to educate my students. I need them to learn about this Red White and Blue!

I hear

“Capicu venticuatro!” and don’t forget about “Trankazo!” The local viejos completing another shift sitting on milk crates in front of the building. Bursting into random street dances when an old Anthony Santos song welcomes us as it blasts from the Camry down the block. Waves of nostalgia as the guitar croons in our taxicab. Yelling upstairs through the open windows “Dime aver loco!” or “Bendicion Mami!” before walking out the door.

My parents

gently remind me their stay here is temporary. Until the day they can pack up their bags and return to Quisqueya. My Dominican cultura ingrained from within. Americana customs because of the city I was raised in. What I’ll see is what I’ll be the statistics preached to me. I took it in my own hands created my own destiny. I am writing piece by piece my trajectory without ever forgetting my history.

Living my Latina American dream

Accomplishing the things my parents struggled to come true

And I continue to grow under

The Red White and Blue.


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