Last week Honeysuckle brought you the first poem in a series by acclaimed poet and performance artist Magdalena Gomez, as part of an ongoing effort to honor the people of Puerto Rico. Today marks the next installment. (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/)

 Hair BuenoI grow it long for the People of 500 nationsforced into short hair assimilationfor the women who lost it in chemoand the many more who willI grow it long for my Pentecostal motherpowerless seeking powerin storefront promises of mansionswho grew it long to honor her GodI grow it long for every personshearedin concentration campsfor every woman set on fire for her wisdomher power,her medicine,her intuitive prowess deemed heresyby ecclesiastical blasphemyfor every woman forced to hide itagainst her willfor every woman electroshockedlocked up, exiled for loving womenfor the female soulin whatever body it livesand whomever it may lovefor every woman coerced to cut itfor the pleasure of anotherfor every woman who had to sell itit live one more dayto feed her childfor every woman who has felt it wrappedinside a fistwho has been dragged by the noose of ita lifetime of scars ripped openspilling eyes that never restfor all the women shamedinto burning ithot combs, irons, lyerolling it tight around soda cansheating it under space ship dryersblowing it into social acceptancehiding it under wigsbelieving their pelo is maloall hair is buenoI grow it long as ropeas line for the drowningas a blanket for birdsin Springtime wintersI grow it longfor our history cut from booksour stories, shortened, left untoldfor the wild haired womenwho slit the throats of rapistsin cages of madnessand get away with ithallelujah! grow hair growI grow it long because it is still choosing to growI let it gray because that is what it wants to beevery strand a story, a disappointment,a revelationbeauty finds and defines itselfon our bodiesit is no one else’s story to tellto controlit changes if its own accordthe wilted afro of my youthlost the fight with the Pelo Malo chorusof internalized oppressionI took it backlong and frizzynever forget that blood is the truthmelanin its messengerI miss that loud voiceof my tangled, knotted defiant youthblood, a relentless lovertaking me backto gift of the cradlethe power of the gravehair I grow you longtend to your wisheswith oil from coconutswith water from the seakeep you as you wish to beuntil you fall out from the sheerexhaustion of livinguntil you release my gravity defiant headto join the debate of Plutoas planet or debristhe rest of mea solid constellationvisible to allwithout the use of anything morethan the eye that is truly human.Hallelujah! Grow hair growuntil its time for you to go.-Magdalena Gómez–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 ReviewUpstreet journalL.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