Kelvin Villalta is Central American and is an editor at La Ceiba: The Undergraduate Journal of Central American Studies. Kelvin is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English creative writing and Central American studies. He lives in Boyle Heights, California, and he enjoys singing and writing poetry, short stories, and lyrics. His favorite bands are Mountain, Pink Floyd, Alux Nahual, Tool, Toxik, and Jason Becker. He also draws inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe, Aldus Huxley, and Miguel Angel Asturias.
It is because of my Central American roots, I want to discover my culture, past, and present. The Central American Studies Department opened my eyes. All that I knew about Central America, specifically, Guatemala and El Salvador was but a broad view. The experience of learning that European countries and the U.S attacked, exploited, and toyed with Central America was an awakening. Of course the injustices continue. The perverse and brutal nature of the Spanish and the United States towards my ancestors and culture influenced me to educate, preserve, protect, and give Central America and its peoples a voice. This I feel is my duty as a Central American. With the resources I have and the knowledge I gain, I want to let the anger out, say the truth, and be passionate. I did this through poetry, Pájaros Libres.
Coff(gr)ee(d) is another poem influenced by the knowledge I’ve learned. We take coffee for granted in the morning or night, when drowsy, for the taste, or simply as a drink. Coffee is enjoyed in the U.S because of the exploitative labor and horrid conditions the farmers or the indigenous of El Salvador are placed in. El Salvador’s coffee history is more about blood than it is about the economy and it still impacts Salvadoran children.
Trickledown Economics you can’t eat,
Neoliberalism, los Estados Unidos
café export, El Salvador.
corporations we continue to feed.
Mama, Papa, tengo hambre.
Drinking the labor and riding the high,
Central In-corporated Americans,
home of the brave,
and bravery killed the indigenous.
Starve$$$ for you,
seventeen bucks for me.
One week’s quintal,
awake with the pain,
And I am so hungry.
video edited by: Leonardo rodriguez