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Campos To Donate Royalties to Hurricane Relief

BY: DARLENE P. CAMPOS

 

Floods aren’t anything new in Houston. We’ve gone through hurricanes before. We knew the neighborhoods most prone to flooding before Harvey paid us his visit. We prepared ourselves with full hoards of food, bottled water, and gas. We thought we were ready.

Harvey showed us we were wrong the minute he arrived.

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Yet, unlike thousands of fellow Houstonians and Texans in other cities, I didn’t lose anything.

I didn’t lose power.

I didn’t lose water.

I didn’t lose my car.

I didn’t lose my house.

I didn’t lose my life.

The only physical loss I had was a couple of pounds because I was so petrified, I could barely eat. Harvey made me lose weight. That’s it.

Harvey also made me lose pieces of my heart. The neighborhood where I grew up is in shambles. A beloved bakery my fiancé and I visited whenever we wanted a good dessert is gone. The libraries I practically lived in during my college years are severely damaged. Watching your city, the place you call home, conquered by floodwaters is agonizing. Yet, Harvey did not take Houston’s hope. We Houstonians watched our city be ravaged by Harvey. We Houstonians have come together to rebuild.

After Harvey, I was overjoyed to be unharmed, but I felt so guilty to be spared. Why didn’t Harvey come for me? He tried. He flooded my entire street and then the water crept up to the rear of my car. By morning, the water receded. Harvey came close. For others, he came full force and showed no mercy.

I pledge to donate my royalties from September 15th through October 15th to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. For the next month, all of my royalties will go directly to helping Houstonians rebuild their lives. Please visit https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/ for more info or to donate.

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“And so there are claims forgiven

And so there are things that are gone

Houston is filled with promise…”

  • R.E.M., “Houston,” 2008
Darlene Campos Releases New Poem "Welcome To Houston"

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

We love Houston the way a mother loves her child,

more than the mother who stuffed

her dead daughter in the fridge to keep

collecting the girl’s social security check.

 

In Hermann Park, Sam Houston’s statue stands high

above everyone else. He faces children playing Frisbee

and sick people lingering to the Texas Medical Center.

At Buffalo Bayou, a man lies by the water

with a sack for a blanket while Joel Osteen

preaches prosperity.

 

We love Houston the way a car loves to speed,

more than the man who raced past a house

with his gun, splitting the

skulls of two kid brothers.

 

Jensen Drive is where sleazy men go

for a good time. If caught, they go

downtown to the jail on Bagby Street

where they can see the Aquarium from their cells.

The sharks wiggle around in their too small tank

as a child points up at their jaws. His mother pulls

him close, closer than Andrea Yates who drowned

her five kids in a bathtub.

 

Yet we love Houston the way mosquitoes

love sucking on our skin, the way the big oil

tycoons love their mansions in River Oaks.

 

Southwest is the place where it can be scary

to sleep at night and even drive through during

the day, but if you keep going, you will

end up in the Museum District where

Mr. Sam Houston will greet you again.

 

We love Houston the way a con artist

loves counting money.

 

We love Houston the way a wife loves her husband

that she’s been married to for over twenty years.

She looks at him with squinted eyes, remembering

a time when he was younger, thinner, and stronger.

She loves him just the same today as she will tomorrow.

 

She loves him the way a Houstonian loves Houston.

 
Darlene Campos Pens A Love Letter To Houston

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Houston.

It’s the city my parents settled in almost 27 years ago. It’s the place where I was born, the place I was fortunate to grow up in, the place where I went to college, and the place where I still live today.

How long does it take you to get to work in the morning? It takes me just a few minutes because I’m lucky to live close by - but at my former job, it took me almost two hours. And it was only sixteen miles away. What can I say? Morning traffic.

How big is Houston? My boyfriend lives about an hour away from me. If I drive to his place from mine, I still wouldn’t reach George Bush Intercontinental Airport because I would need to drive even further. IT'S THAT BIG.

And, it’s getting bigger. More people have moved here. The traffic is worse. But it’s still home. For me, Houston will always be home.

It’s home because of its rich diversity. If I want Korean food for breakfast, Lebanese for lunch, and Cuban for dinner, it’s totally possible in Houston. There are 145 languages spoken here. There are Cuban festivals, Palestinian festivals, Japanese festivals, Greek festivals, African festivals – more than you can think of. And we all love Houston just the same.

It’s home because of its love for the literary world. Inprint brings writers like Sandra Cisneros, George Saunders, and Ann Patchett. WITS hires writers to teach creative writing in public schools, prisons, and hospitals. Brazos Bookstore, Blue Willow Bookshop, Becker’s Books, and Kaboom Books are just a handful of indie bookstores Houston has to offer.

It’s home because of its museums. The Houston Museum of Natural Science once had the Magna Carta, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston brought Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the Health Museum is now hosting Bodyworlds. The Children’s Museum is a giant building where kids have loads of fun and they learn without even noticing. The Holocaust Museum educates and pierces your heart no matter how many times you go. We have over 150 museums here. We love learning and learning loves us.

It’s home when I’m stuck in traffic.

It’s home when I get the finger, even though I was the one who got cut off.

It’s home when I can’t find a parking spot at Hermann because I was dumb enough to go on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s home when the news says there’s been another shooting, another kidnapping, another robbery, another child missing.

It’s home when the Texas Medical Center and the oil industries announce more layoffs.

It’s home when I drive by the big “We Love Houston” sign off I-10.

No matter what happens.

Houston is my home.