We Interrupt This

A poem by Magdalena Gómez

We at Honeysuckle are dedicated to honoring voices around the world. In light of the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico, we are proud to bring you the first in a new series of poems by Magdalena Gomez. The poet urges anyone wishing to help Puerto Ricans who are rebuilding and relocating to consider donating to the Boston Foundation’s “Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico/Massachusetts Unido por Puerto Rico.” http://www.tbf.org/
Photo Credit: Jack Delano/Library of Congress. Special thanks to Pablo Delano.

We interrupt this…

 

Prelude

I rename this hurricane 45
I rename this hurricane PROMESA
I rename this hurricane Imperialism
I rename this hurricane Colonialism
I rename this hurricane Avarice
I rename this hurricane Wall Street
I rename this hurricane Big Banks
I rename this hurricane Big Pharma
I rename this hurricane Negligent Bigotry
I rename this hurricane Erasure
María is the victim, not the perpetrator.
My name is Magdalena Gómez and I stand with all victims
of Tyranny and Unnatural Disasters.
María, I don’t blame you.
Your name chosen with malicious intent
you are the West Side Story girl
default name for all of our women
when bigots drink too much.

You are the twin of José
the mother of El Niño.

María, you are not a hurricane.
María, you are the distraction
from deeper meanings of destruction;
the history of abuse
and involuntary sterilizations.
Scapegoat of imperialism
and colonial thugs.

Muh-ree-uh.
The use of your name
insidious blame
that we have somehow
done this to ourselves.
The village idiot of the world
defiles you
sees in you a woman
he can “grab by the pussy”
as security detail obediently
avert their eyes.

María.
You have been repeatedly
gang-raped then called a whore
by rapists who hide behind
the village idiot of the world
too stupid to know he’s their fall guy;
the unzipped lout
gurgling with profanities
and primary school adjectives
who abhors the sound of Spanish.

María.
you have been robbed
of your riches
by parasitic thieves
who call you a deadbeat.

Predatory scavengers
have long been with us,
defecating in once clear waters
bloody talons digging through fertile soil
to grow unnatural things
calculated contaminations mutating
all semblance of justice.

Erosion by malicious negligence
ethnic cleansing
of we who are called
cockroaches
by deviant exterminators
counting their bounty by death
their doughy flesh coddled
in brass tacked leather
made of skins
peeled from the backs
of the silenced.

Top shelf cocktails swirl
into hurricanes.
Tightly rolled cigars
with names the smokers
mispronounce
burst into aberrant flames.
ice cubes clink against the Baccarat
flaring up the Richter Scale.

My eyes refuse to close
despite my weary body’s pleading.

There are parts of us
that cannot be touched
or harmed, or killed
or forced to sleep;
as evil is legion
so is love.

As greed replicates
so does resistance.

Like the pelican
offering its throat
to feed its young,
like courageous hands
wielding machetes
to clear impassable roads,
like scarce water shared
in the presence of death
history pours
its waterfall of wisdom
upon the next generation
to take back what is theirs
beginning with their names.

Borikua.

María.

José.

 

-Magdalena Gómez, ©2017

Bronx-born Magdalena Gómez is a performance poet, playwright, keynote speaker and teaching artist and was an original vanguard member of the Nuyorican Literary Movement. She has been widely published including: The Massachusetts Review; Upstreet journal; L.A. Times, and many other outlets. Her work is included in college and university syllabi throughout the U.S. and her archives are housed at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut at Storrs. www.magdalenagomez.com

 

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