Saturday, September 29, 2012

You Fucked Up My Life

(This song begins, in the Lyrics book, with two lines ascribed to no performer; they are the same as appeared in the song "Santero." They are in a non-English language, and it is not one I recognize. There are so many accent marks I cannot even type it in accurately. I am afraid to admit I have no further information, but if anyone does, please let me know. UPDATE: A reader who has seen the play provides some information and insights in the comments below)

Evidently, Salvador has had the opportunity to reacquaint himself with some of his old gang-mates. Perhaps at this point he has served his extra two years for breaking parole and is now on parole again, but stuck in New York.

He is not greeted warmly by his old friends. Angel Soto calls him names, then says, "You had your moment of glory/ With your pearl-handed knife/ Oh, what a TV story/ But you fucked up my life." He concludes that his parents were very upset with him.

It is not clear how Sal's crime caused Angel so much suffering. He was not one of the perpetrators. Perhaps the event caused a crackdown on gangs.

Babu Charlie Cruz, another gang member, is clearer about his grudge. "I was on trial with you," he says, and he did some time. This is the cause, he says, of his never being able to land a union job, and for his fiancee leaving him. He also blames Sal's attitude during the trial for stoking anti-Puerto Rican sentiment: "You would walk into the courtroom/ Saying, 'All youse are gonna burn,'/ As if everything evil was Puerto Rican."

Young Sal responds (later, Adult Salvador will, as well) that he "took the weight for all of youse... I was the 'escape goat' for all of youse/ You all came to gangbang/ There were other guys with knives... There was no blood on my knife." As to his attitude, he claims this his ethnic pride. Sure, he says to them, "Stick it to the Jibaro... He don't kiss ass in no courtroom/ With the fucking American flag." A "Jibaro" is a native Puerto Rican, and Sal uses the word to mean a true Puerto Rican patriot (I am not sure if Sal had any Jibaro blood).

And when he says "escape goat," he means "scapegoat," but his mispronunciation could be either an uneducated mistake or the use of some Spanish speakers of an "e" before an "s." (One native Spanish speaker I know, a teacher, spoke to me of the "estudents" at her "eschool.")

Salvador now adds his comments, repeating "I am an innocent man," and that if he owes them anything, he already paid with his incarceration and his eternal damnation, his reputation-- deserved or not-- as The Capeman.

Hernandez, The Umbrella Man, tells Salvador: "You can lie to the press, you can lie to yourself/ But you cannot lie to us/ I was there at your side."

Even if Sal is guilty, it seems too convenient to blame Sal for everything wrong in their lives. They were there that fateful night, too (as they just admitted), and it might just as well have been one of them accused and jailed for more than a decade. Also, they have had their freedom instead, and many chances. They might have joined the army or priesthood, or returned to Puerto Rico, or any other number of options.

In any case, Salvador again protests his innocence, swearing on his medallion of St. Lazarus. Which segues nicely into the next piece, a duet between Salvador and the saint.

Next Song: Lazarus/Last Drop of Blood

1 comment:

  1. The intro to this song and Santero is a classic song from the religion of Santeria. It is used to call ellegua, who was mentioned as having red and black colors. He is the santeria god of decision making and red and back beads are also used to invoke his presence. He appears as a child and basically determines peoples paths to a certain extent in life, There is more info online.