English Con Salsa!

October 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, Teaching | Comments Off on English Con Salsa!

Greetings, Literacy Followers! As November rolls in and the leaves begin to fall in earnest I just wanted to share with you a poem by, author and poet, Gina Valdés that was recently sent to me by a friend. Interestingly enough, I had no idea this friend had any interest in ESL, so what a pleasant surprise this was for me.  The ESL fire is spreading!

And, on an unrelated note: my class on elections, voting, and the issues went swimmingly at Mark Center last night. We held a mock election for Virginia’s 8th district(Jim Moran and Patrick Murray) and the results were unanimous. Here are the (much generalized) issues for both candidates we talked about. Any ideas about who my class voted for?

Cheers, happy leaf-pile jumping, and enjoy Gina Valdés’s English con Salsa:


English con Salsa

by Gina Valdés

in Cool Salsa

Welcome to ESL 100, English Surely Latinized,
ingles con chile y cilantro, English as American
as Benito Juarez. Welcome, muchachos from
Xochicalco, learn the language of dolares and dolores, of kings
and queens, of Donald Duck and Batman. Holy toluca!
in four months you’ll be speaking like George
Washington in four weeks you can ask, More coffee? In two months
you can say, May I take your order? In one year
you can ask for a raise, cool as the Tuxpan River.

Welcome,muchachas from Teocaltiche, in this class
we speak English refrito, English con sal y limon,
English thick as mango juice, English poured from
a clay jug, English tuned like a requinto from Uruapan,
English lighted by Oaxacan dawns, English spiked
with mezcal from Juchitan, English with a red cactus
flower blooming in its heart.

Welcome, welcome, amigos del sur, bring your Zapotec
tongues,our Nathuatl tones, your patience of pyramids,
your red suns and golden moons, your guardian angels,
your duendes, your patron saints, Santa Tristeza,
Santa Alegria, Santo Todolopuede. We will sprinkle
holy water on pronouns, make the sign of the cross
on past participles, jump like fish from Lake Patzcuaro
on gerunds, pour tequila from Jalisco on future perfects,
say shoes and shit, grab a cool verb and a pollo loco
and dance on the walls like chapulines.

When a teacher from La Jolla or a cowboy from Santee
asks you, Do you speak English? You’ll answer, Si,
yes, simon, of course. I love English!

And you’ll hum
a mixtecchant that touches la tierra and the heavens.

Sara Venjohn, AmeriCorps Member and Lead Teacher


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