News & Publications
Featured Poem – March/April 2007
Slavery, Then and Now

The slaves of yesterday dreamed of freedom.

The slaves of today dream of freedom.

The slaves of yesterday dreamed
of a better life for their family.
They dreamed of the day
when their children wouldn't have to pick cotton
or do other backbreaking work.

The slaves of today dream
of a better life for their family.
They dream of the day
when their children can get a good education
and not have to steal or sell drugs to survive.

Rufino Colón
About the Poet

"I was part of ASC's Creative Writing Workshop when it first started in 2000. At the time, I was just starting out as an ASC Peer Educator and my peer mentor recommended I get involved with Creative Writing.

"In spite of all my fears, I took the class. As a result, I tapped into stuff I didn't know I had in me. I always thought poetry had to rhyme. But in the workshop we read poets like Frank Lima and when I read his stuff, I realized that all he was doing was telling stories.

"I thought, 'I can do that. I've lived awhile, so I think I've got a lot to say.' It was just a matter of condensing my thoughts into poetry, so it didn't drag out and could hold people's attention.

"For me, creative writing is therapeutic in two ways. First off, it allows me to be me and to express myself without any facade or masks or bravado. Second, I look forward to the workshop every Thursday—it gives me a destination.

"If my poetry can help somebody else, inspire somebody else, or catapult somebody else—the thought of that energizes me. Because in my addiction, all I did was take, take, take—and now, my way of making amends for that is to give, give, give.

"Writing allows me to explore all those possibilities that most of the time I take for granted. I'm so busy with the hustle and bustle of New York City. The city's heartbeat is so fast that I barely allow myself to think about that stuff and get insight into who I am. But when I'm in the Creative Writing Workshop, I get the chance to expand my mind and think about those things.

"A lot of times, I'm surprised at what I find. It's therapeutic, enlightening, and self-revealing. Writing allows me to be myself without all the extras, all the different masks we use to project to the outside world. Whatever I write is who I really am."

Rufino Colón

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