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Jonathan Moya Mar 2020
How can I call myself a Boricua when I
barely know the Spanish for earth and sky,    
have no roots in the soil of Moroves,
no sense of San Juan’s flavors,
the warm Atlantic blowing Arecibo  beach,    
Ponce dancing in the Caribbean’s laughter—  
all memories stolen from postcards hastily
bought at the airport along with a  
tin of Florecitas by my mother returning home.

Those little flowers exploded suns on my tongue
and created colors, formed postcard dreams  
of forts, conquistadors, Taino villages burning
in flames rather than submitting to Spain’s sway.
I craved to be an archeologist reverently
dusting off the bones of my ancestors.
I wanted to be an artist, like my uncle Bob,
splashing faceless heads among yellow flares
devoid of black, red, no tint of sad back story.
I settled for being a poet, a painter of words,
a discoverer of the history of hopes.

There is a memory of the Rambler hitting a cow
on the dirt mountain road leading to Moroves.
The bovine sliding down the embankment,
nonchalantly getting up and going his way.
The Rambler’s front end forever stuck with the
impression of an angry bull welded in the grill.
Another of a drive to a carnival, sitting
in the cab of another station wagon,
stargazing the white half moons rising
from under the red halter of my cousin Anna.
A final one of my grandmother praying
the rosary while I stumbled to the outhouse,
spending the night on the swing under the porch
because I didn’t want to break her silence.

Cows, moons, prayers are my Boricua heritage.
I can’t translate the decimas of a jibaro song,
nor dance a merengue, a bomba,  plena.
I have no desire to eat sugarcane from the  stalk,
nor split the soursop for it sweetness.
I am lost in the winds every Boricua knows.
My memories are blown away in the hurricane.
I seek the solace of the first flight out
after the storm, sad knowing  that
I was not born, like every Boricua,  
from the roots up, to study the light of stars.
Preston Oct 2018
Stray dogs
Roam in the night
Looking for food
Looking for water
Maybe they too roam across my mind.
From San Juan
The saint feast parade spreads
Across the isle of enchantment.
(As their license plates claim)
Remember your sunscreen
As you are in the belt of Cancer
Even as the weather shifts
Dynamically
Hour to hour
Minute to minute
Day to day.
I came here to challenge the waves
But they challenged me instead
And I walked away
Battered
And ******
But balanced.
I had time to consider the plantain
And that it seems to be used in
Everything.
I roamed the streets of San Juan
In between their three towering
Sea kings
Guarding the city
For centuries.
Oh San Juan!
Jewel of the Americas
Respectfully following
the code of the indies
For 500 years you have stood
Defeated once
But unconquered.
(I think theres a lesson in that)
I kissed the freshwater
In the forest of the Anvil
And tread precariously amongst
the stones
Amidst graffitied groves of bamboo
And the calls of coqui.
So Puerto Rico,
With your history,
Your culture,
Your food,
Your beauty,
My only question is
Why arent you a state?
But then I remember
That the president is racist
And full of hate.
But I want you one day
To fully join us
In the flawed
But proud
U S of A
Stray dogs
Roam in the night
And maybe
Stray dogs will follow me home.
Took a trip to Puerto Rico
It's been more than a hundred years now
Since I started coming home and ****** you

When I first started, you used to look like yourself
Now you're a mix of me and you

Do you even resemble yourself anymore?
Do you still look in the mirror anymore?
Do you see yourself in you still?

I, the ******* man in this relationship
Won you as a prize. You're a token.
I've put you through all this ****
And as a result, you're just broken

You're not ******* on the **** like a child
You were given to me when you were weak and wild

Weak and mild, you never got a chance to thrive by yourself
See, I wasn't the first man to ******* over

Look at that history, baby
Look at that long line of Spaniard influence

I've felt you up,
Walked your mountains,
Seen your castles,
Traversed your beaches,
Been shown your Capitol,

And I don't weep for those Tainos
I saw pictures of them on your walls;
What's that about? Do you still love them?
You better not show your love to anyone else, you hear?
Are you here? Are you listening? Well, listen up.
I said: You shall have no lovers before me, you hear?

See, I'm a jealous god. I rule you, you understand?
Or should I say, tu entiendes? Is that better?
You get me now? You feel me now?

Well I haven't stopped feeling you.
In fact, I'm sending over my colleagues
To feel you too

Here,
Have my big pharma
Have my baggage
Have my tourists
Have my people
Have my taxes
Have no representation
Have none of the benefits
Ten decepcion

Ay, si, que decepcion

Look at yourself. Do you even speak Spanish anymore?
Do you still remember how to?

Come on, just forget about that.
I can't speak it, and you know it's disrespectful
To speak it in front of people who can't
So just don't

Matter fact, all I'ma allow you to do is sit there

And take it

Take it like the ***** I made you into
Take it like I've conditioned you to
Take it and don't argue with me
Take it, or I'll toss you to the sea

You don't wanna drift off, now, do you?
You see, come June, you'll have to choose
Now what exactly are you gonna do?
I never stop pondering it, too

Like what will happen when you tell me you want to break up?
You think I'm gonna take it? You've got it backwards:
You take it in this relationship--not me

And what happens if you wanna be respected?
Do you really expect it
To force me to give you back everything I stole from you?

Well, I cannot say I know what will happen either
But be realistic: don't expect me to stop hurting you
It's what I do
I visited Puerto Rico once to figure out how the people there wanted things to be and whether or not they were satisfied with how things were right now. I got a lot of mixed answers, but this poem is basically my synthesis of those findings and my observations on that trip.

note: the narrator is America. This metaphor of husband and wife, abuser and abused, is borrowed from a poet called Propaganda, who used it to describe the relationship between America and black people.

— The End —