Music on Sunday Mornings

BY Ozzy Ramirez

I learned about Salsa and Merengue in my house on Sunday mornings. It wasn’t like Saturday mornings when your moms didn’t get up until 12. And you would pour yourself a potpourri of cereal, mixing it all in a stainless steel bowl meant for pancakes.  Watch some Captain Planet, Animanics, and Hanna Barbara cartoons all morning.  No Sunday mornings were a time to celebrate the successes and failures of being a single mom.

La Vida es un Carnaval (Celia Cruz)
Todo aquel que piense que la vida siempre es cruel
tiene que saber que no es asi,
que tan solo hay momentos malos, y todo pasa.
tiene que saber que no es asi,
que al mal tiempo buena cara, y todo cambia.
Todo aquel que piense que esto nunca va a cambiar,

Waking up at 8AM to La India and Celia Cruz, when the bodega just starts to come alive downstairs. Bacon egg and cheese. Café con leche. White Styrofoam cups. Fifty cents. Meanwhile upstairs in 4C, a wrath of passion and hips. Unrequited love with a mop. I would wake up to the smell of Pinesol on linoleum tile floors. Walking out my room in my Mighty Morphin underwear. Mom would be cleaning, sweating and crying, maybe gathering hope. But she wasn’t just cleaning. She was cleaning the DAMN THING

Ay, no hay que llorar, que la vida es un carnaval,
Y es mas bello vivir cantando.
Oh, oh, oh, Ay, no hay que llorar,
que la vida es un carnaval
y las penas se van cantando

When she saw me she would scream.
              “Shorty get in there and clean that bathroom!”
I learned early on that Sunday mornings were no joke. It was time to lament being fatherless, scrubbing AJAX in the tub, watching the powder turn blue when it hit the water. My mom would come in and I would moan.  
              “Ma, I’m hungry”
              “I already defrosted the waffles. I’m about to put them in the oven. Get this bathroom cleaned first, pero todito, I don’t want to see any hairs on the sides of the toilet, Shorty. I’ll come in and mop it when you’re done”

Es Hombre (La India)
Ese hombre que tu ves ahi
que parece tan galante
tan atento y arrogante
lo conozco como a mi
ese hombre que tu ves ahi
que aparenta ser divino
tan amable y efusivo
solo sabe hacer sufrir

That was it. I would sing with her and sceam and scrub with her in loyalty about the men who left us in the Bronx. Then we would go to church.

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