In Memoriam: Selena Quintanilla Perez

Envision a little girl around the age of nine or ten, twirling around her room carelessly, swinging her hips in sync with each syllable of “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Imagine the look of passion on her face, as she pretended to be the woman singing; a breathtaking Latina with a sultry, pure voice, dance moves that came as natural as her breath and a smile that could make the coldest heart flush with warmth. All I ever dreamed about was being Selena Quintanilla Perez, the queen of Tejano music whom the world remembers with a heavy heart as she was killed tragically at the hands of her fan club manager, Yolanda Saldivar.

My admiration for Selena comes with more than just awe of her stunning beauty and incomparable talent, but that little something extra you can’t explain that makes the hearts of millions quiver with adoration. Despite breaking the molds of being a Hispanic woman, I have come to believe that it is her selflessness, living her dream for the sole purpose of seeing the eyes of little girls like me light up with affection that allows her legacy to live on 21 years after her death. March 31 marks this anniversary and here is a poem to remind her that we’re still dreaming of her.

~For Selena Quintanilla Perez (1971-1995)

There is a woman of unspeakable beauties. Never before has there been such a harmonious blend of mind, body and soul….

She will die, and she will perish beneath canopies of white roses slightly wilted and yellowed at the curvature of their petals. It is a fate unwilling to be forgotten.

She walks here and there they say, in and out of shadow. The forest oak tops cannot unveil her opaque ribbons of hair, or the fluidity of her stature. It is the wind she trusts. It carries her tantalizing tune in its current, a voice laced with ferocity and smiles. Something gives speed to her passing.

A myth, a legend. Call her what you may, but she too asked her mother to read her into a gentle night’s sleep before she knew what a star was. Before she understood that their paths require them to enlarge, and when their time is determined, they explode.

She will explode at the hands of a woman who will utter these guilt-ridden words: “I love Selena”

Selena. Greek for moon goddess.

“Are they gonna love me, mama,” she asks, laying in her mother’s lap. She is looking into the moon, dreaming, ignoring the glaring imperfections. The craters look much like the chest cavity she will bleed from. Empty. With nothing to fill in their gaps, but stares of awe and bewilderment.

“Yes, baby, they’re gonna love you,” her mother replies. Her mother does not yet fear love, but the word will someday send her into nightmares that remain in her consciousness. Love must not be confused with envy and the unrelenting desire to control….

When a child is born, a new mother does not come to the realization that her baby must someday pass into the unknown, long after their own passing. Or too soon before their own. She does not even imagine that is possible. She fawns over the life she has created, the supernova she holds to her bosom. The ball of wonder she calls Selena.

When a child is born a new mother does not come to the realization that her baby might someday cause the passing of another. She does not even imagine that is possible. She fawns over the life she has created, the monster she holds to her bosom. The hand that will prematurely determine time, she calls Yolanda….

A song is heard as Selena slips into shadow.

“Si vieras como duele, perder tu amor. Con tu adios te llevas, mi corazón…me marcho hoy. Yo se perder. Pero, ay, ay, ay como me duele.”

You can’t imagine how it hurts to lose your love. With your goodbye you took my heart…I am leaving today, but oh how it hurts.

There is a woman of unspeakable terrors. There is a gunshot.

A star has reached the end of its lifecycle.

Selena slips into shadow.

She falls asleep in her mother’s lap, beneath the moon, beneath her canopy of wilting roses.

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