The city joyful. They city traditional. The city holding on

La Casita LCOD

La Casita, a happy little girl.






Grace Note

There is a little girl happy at La Casita

See her compose her dance as the band

Launches a jibaro tune from Old San Juan

Watch her smile rise and her little legs

Loop before the stage’s apron.  She’s

The grace note, the sweet dream of

Manny Vega’s phantasmagorical temple

To community: the laughter, the dominoes

The courting couples, the elders resting

The garden fertile with peppers, squash

And greens from around the globe.

–Patricia Spears Jones

I wrote this poem after performing at La Casita, the annual summer celebration of community, poetry, music and dance resulting from Manny Vega (the artist) and his friend’s celebration of the gardens and meeting places that seemed to spontaneously develop in Puerto Rican neighborhoods throughout New York City–the little house, la casita was a place where the old and young could talk and sing and play dominoes and bond.  Each year the curators pull together poets and musicians and performers to present work and this year I had the honor of reading in Hearst Plaza at Lincoln Center.  And that little girl who danced her 2-3 year old girl’s dance represented for all the audience. She is a reminder that there is joy in this city; that children are loved; that artists make new and important work; that the sun shines for the artists on a day when rain was threatened.  I was not well enough to hear all of the performers, but I left as Persian music (including poems by Rumi) was being performed by Haleh.  It comes from a great tradition as did the Puerto Rican music the little girl so loved and its spirits helps me, all of us hold on.

Band performing La Casita

Haleh-Persians singing Rumi, et al