July 25th

It has taken me two years to do this. Two years to begin the process of opening up, sharing very intimate rants, reflections and revelations about my time here, my repatriation of Borikén. We arrived on May 15, 2014 from New York City– my husband, a colombiano born and raised in Queens; myself, a boricua born and raised in Brooklyn; and our two lil boribiano/ colom-rican nenes.

We arrived while many others were leaving.
We arrived two months shy of the “fiscal crisis” news hitting the media airwaves.
While most watched in shock, we shrugged our shoulders unsurprised, knowing that the “fiscal crisis” was yet another manifestation of the century-old colonial crisis.
We arrived despite everyone thinking we were crazy.
And we were. And we are.

Two years and two months later, I claim my crazy, waving my “freak flag high” as Jimi Hendrix would. It is my crazy that allows me to survive the colonial charco-crossing confusion. It is my crazy that sees hope and liberation where it may not yet exist. In an effort to contain and curtail the crazy, I have journaled incessantly throughout this process and that’s what most of these blog posts will be. Today’s post however, in the spirit of sustainability, will be recycled. I wrote the following poem while still living in New York. I meant to debut this blog last week but with island time, alas…, it is now the following week and, not-so-poetically, it is July 25th: the anniversary of the US invasion of Puerto Rico (1898). So to contextualize this all, this first post will be this old poem of mine on this infamous date.

My condolences to all those who subscribed to the free associated lie and mourn the other anniversary (1952) of a constitution canceled out by colonialism….

meditations on the anniversary of the US invasion of Puerto Rico, the anti-colonial struggle that ensued and the warrior legacy of our ancestors.

July 25, 1898

Agueybana
and his warriors
stood invisible
as ancestors unheard
As his sacred Guanica
stood vulnerable
yet again
405 years later.
Beautiful Boriken
Ambushed again.

Agueybana, Guarionex
Urayoan, Cacimar, Yabureibo
Every nom de guerre
of every revolutionary
Raising the republic
Stomped
Beneath boots
Of a death march
Whose general
Annihilated natives
In other lands
Before raping
This one.
Trampled souls
Of murdered braves
Murdered slaves
Murdered rebellions.
Smothering
the faint pulse
Of a republic.

Boriké to Puerto Rico to Porto Rico.
Taíno to Spanish to English.
Cemí to Catholic to Protestant.
El peso to a dollar.
A jíbaro to a yankee.
Boricuas–
Inhabitants
Of the land
of the brave and noble lord–
to US citizens.
Revolutionaries to terrorists.
Freedom Fighters to Political Prisoners.
Clandestine to ancestor.
Jail cells to radiation experiments.
Innocents to lab rats.
Fertile to sterilized.
Abundant to barren.
Agricultural self-sustenance
to industrial dependence
Colds to cancer.
Beaches to bombs.
Another century
Come and gone.

Agueybana y Albizu
Betances y Belvis
Beauchamp y Bracetti
de Tío y de Burgos
Canales y Angel Cristobal
Stand as ancestors
Evoked
Eliciting the awakening
Of Boricuas
Brave and noble
As Borikén once was.

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