MR. Richard Blanco - Real Man We Admire

January 31, 2013

We're introducing a new series on the blog called "Real Men We Admire." Each week, we'll highlight athletes, celebrities, politicians and other gay men that are doing interesting, unique, and/or admirable things around the world. We've been featuring the series on the MISTER Facebook page and we're happy to bring it here to the blog. Tell us what you think in the comments or who you'd like to see featured.

MR. Richard Blanco is this week’s Real Man We Admire.

Sorry to break it to you, Beyonce, but you weren’t the only one at President Obama’s inauguration that had people talking. Richard Blanco—the nation’s first openly gay and first Latino Inaugural Poet—had the crowd buzzing over his performance, too, but for all the right reasons. Reading his poem “One Today,” the Cuban-American bard sent a powerful message about the need for tolerance and respect for people of all cultural backgrounds and reminded us all that our country’s greatest strength lies in its diversity. Now that's a vocal performance we wish everyone would lip sync.

Watch him read the inaugural poem:

Here's the text:

"One Today"

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the "I have a dream" we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won't explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father's cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day's gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn't give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

Tags: obama, Richard Blanco, inauguration
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Intelligent + Romantic + Hot = my soul mate.

Did he send a thrill up your leg, Chris?

"...our country’s greatest strength lies in its diversity..."

Diverse alternative views:

"freedom is our strength"

"America's biggest strength is the Constitution"

"America's Strength: The Morality of Its People"

"America's strength comes from its unity, not its diversity"

"The secret to America's strength: religion"

"The Strength of America's Citizens -- Prosperity, Security, Values"

Truly a positive member of our community! A person younger and older can look to and be proud that he has stood up for us all!

You are a credit to our community and America. You're what it's all about.

YOU were fantastic...!!!!!!

Nowadays, I see the title "poet" and I run the other way. And a gay, Latino poet? That's about three realities removed from reality.

If there is anything worse than a modern "poet" (meandering, pointless, verseless, and obtuse), it's a poet with two tribal modifiers stuck in front of the poet part.

Look at those perfectly absurd words of alleged poetry printed verbatim here. Is that insipidness a perspective honed by being gay or Latino? Is bad verse made good because composed by someone who claims membership in two loud communities?

Modern "poetry," like so much of the arts today, is fake art. Jumble words together, but do so in a way that is obtuse and vague, put an activist community modifier in front of your name - and voile!! Poetry!

Fake. Totally fake. Junk art.

No offense, but you don't really strike me as someone who's familiar with a lot of poetry, modern or otherwise. I mean, come on, you're in the military. How smart are they?

(Isn't it fun being the subject of a silly stereotype?)

Amen! LOL and thanks!

Answer: A lot smarter than those who think ad hominems advance a discussion.

Imagine all the pseudo-intellectual drones who would be speaking German or Japanese if it weren't for the military.

Then you are knowledgeable about what art is?



That "poem" was so hackneyed as to be unbelievable. People stopped writing poetry like that 80 years ago.

I read the poem first, to see the images it would create in my mind without the input of a voice or what the cameras picked up at the Inauguration ceremony. My mind gave me pictures from my earliest memories through the present. Then I read the poem, and discovered just how universal so many of those images are. The poem is wonderful, and the poet supremely gifted. Thank you so much for posting it here. I would have missed it otherwise.

Here's an image for you: a once-great Judeo-Christian nation collapsing, by design -- morally, militarily, culturally, and economically -- under the destructive policies of the greatest fraud ever to occupy the White House.

Borders, language, culture, individual liberty, the private sector, and the Constitution under daily attack by the Dear Leader and his accomplices, including his GLBT accomplices.

Hey, how about those "images" from Greece?

"Supremely gifted"? Here is what gifted sounds like:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity...

I was more moved by the poem's message than its craft.

...which is to say it was a crappy expression of nice platitudes.

I could write the same sort of crappy nonsense:

Moved by the incompetent's pen,
No, struggling with the incompetent, the poet, the inauguration of The One,
Poet, this, poet, that,
Johnnie, Johnnie, where's my hat?

Applause for GoNAVY, poet and Real Man We Admire.

This topic needs more poetry:

A peanut sat on the railroad track.
Its heart was all a flutter.
Along came the 5:15.
Toot! Toot! Peanut butter.


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Just in case: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening By Robert Frost

I loved the poem....and like the poet very much :)

I am a gay Cuban of 69, and I don't truly remember being so proud before. Enhorabuena! Ahmed Simeon

Another clueless gay fawning on a gay Kenyan born, Russian communist educated Russian plant destroying our once great nation.