Things of the Soul

Updated: Jan 18



You know what I’d love to do one day? One of those tests from Ancestry.com!


It would be absolutely amazing to look into my family tree. You know what? I think I’ll go ahead and include it into my 2021 bucketlist.


The truth is, all of my grandparents must have honored their mom and dad because they’ve all enjoyed a very long life. Of the 4, three of them are still alive. My grandfather (or abuelo) from my mom’s side is turning 104 this June! Is this not crazy?


My abuelo from my dad’s side passed away six years ago this past December. I remember because I sat by his side as he took his last breathe and watched as his blood stopped flowing, life exited his body and his skin turned palish yellow.


I also remember because I had a peanut-sized Milan growing in my womb and nobody suspected it but lil ‘ol me.


As one life came to an end, another was just starting within me.

Nevertheless, my abuelo forever impacted my son even though he never met him or even knew he existed.


Because Of My Abuelo…


El abuelito was the first one of the family to leave Colombia in order to give the rest of us a better life in the United States. While he worked to get my abuela and all my uncles to the US, he landed a job as a professor in New York.


You can’t begin to imagine how much it means to me that my grandfather and I both held the gift of teaching. It makes me feel closer to him.


I want to believe that if he could see me now, he’d be proud. Not only because I’m a teacher, but also because my grandfather was a published author and it has become my dream to be one too.


Ya’ll, I write because my abuelo was a poet.

This, friends… is legacy. My abuelo changed my life.


Memories


On one of my last trips to Colombia while el abuelito was still alive, I remember sitting in the living room drinking some freshly pressed juice.


The balcony door was open, majestic mountains stood in the horizon and the noise of the busy Medellin streets invaded the apartment.


My abuelito got up off his favorite chair, went and got his notepad, came back and sat down. He then proceeded to read to me one of his most recent poems.


All the noise faded away as I quietly sat and listed to this expression of love that is seldom found in the world today.


He was a romantic. He wrote of the breeze and the trees just as much as he managed to describe the beauty of sexuality in a way that made it seem necessary to embrace as opposed to degrading.


“Muy lindo abuelito…” I’d tell him, not knowing years later I would find that putting words together on a page would be one of the most liberating experiences of my life.


His Poems


His name was Luise Monsalve Velasquez. He published a book of poems called “Cosas del Alma” – (Things of the Soul). In it are 52 magnificent poems written straight from his heart and onto the page.


Many of these poems were dedicated to a specific person.

  1. “Verdad Primera” – he wrote for my great grandmother, Genoveva Velasquez

  2. “La Quinceañera” – he wrote to my cousin Luisa Maria. (This one I remember him reading at her Quince.)

  3. “Presidente, Capitan” – he wrote to an ex-Colombian President, Dr. Alvaro Uribe Velez.

But there is one that’s extra special to me: the poem that holds the name to the entire book. It’s the very first poem and at its heading it reads, “Cosas del Alma – A mi nietecita Diana Carolina”


I don’t know why he did that. I don’t know why he made it the first poem or why he loved it so much that he called the entire book by its name. I know he had a special love for all of my us (my cousins and I), so I don’t think it was preference.


I think it was legacy.


My abuelo may not have known it but he is a part of my story. I will travel the world and share my abuelo’s poems.


I will read them in every extreme of this country. I will carve them on a tree in Europe… I will sprinkle them over the Pacific Ocean… I will read them on top of a mountain and whisper them underneath the sea.

I love you Pito and I miss you so much. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for writing. Thank you for being honorable and strong. ‘Til my very last day, I will make you proud.

(Note: I am sorry that this poem is in Spanish. I will not translate it. I want to keep it as he thought it. If you can’t read it, just know that it is… art. You can also scroll down to my closing. hehe)


Cosas del Alma


Te invito muñequita a cabalgar centauros, a besar las estrellas, a jugar con espumas, a que gritemos fuerte y no digamos nada; te invito a que olvidemos las cosas materiales para vivir gozosos con las cosas del alma. Te invito a pintar peces, libélulas doradas, crisálidas de plata, mariposas azules y un colibrí en suspenso sujeto a un suspiro que cuelga de la nada igual que el arco iris cuando pinta arreboles a las cosas del alma.


Desnudate de todo, que no te quede nada; ni esplin ni cardos negros ni una flébil endecha que pregone el pecado; conservate inviolada para poder erguirte con pudibunda calma caminando con garbo por las cosas del alma.


Te invito, te acompaño a cantar una lied que se escuche en el cielo y derrame aleluyas en tu hermosura parva; una lied amorosa con notas de ternura y falsetes eternos cuya letra pregone solo cosas del alma.


Oyeme, virgencita: báñate con rocios, arómate con flores, juega con las arenas y bebe del horizonte que te regalo yo. deja la brisa tibia abanicar la palma y arrópate dichosa con las cosas del alma.


Y cuando ya mujer el deseo te llame, recuerda, mi niñita, que el amor no se hace que el amor lo hizo Dios y vive plenamente del amor lo sublime que el Señor nos regala adornado con preces por las cosas del alma.


Legacy


A lot of times what will push us to grow out of the season we are currently in, is a vision of a greater purpose. We grow when our motivation is to achieve something bigger than us. I encourage you to look back to those who came before you in your family. Who’s shoulders can you stand on? Who gave you a head-start in life? Pick that dream up and make someone proud!


It can happen that you look back and you find that nobody was championing your family. Guess what? It’s up to you! What can you work on today that will allow your children to have a head-start in life? Do something today that will open a door for your descendants tomorrow.


Create a life you love! Y de paso… pave the road for someone else.


I appreciate you!