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/
We interrupt this… Prelude
I rename this hurricane 45
I rename this hurricane PROMESA
I rename this hurricane ImperialismI rename this hurricane Colonialism
I rename this hurricane AvariceI rename this hurricane Wall Street
I rename this hurricane Big Banks
I rename this hurricane Big PharmaI rename this hurricane Negligent Bigotry
I rename this hurricane ErasureMaría is the victim, not the perpetrator.
My name is Magdalena Gómez and I stand with all victimsof 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 somehowdone this to ourselves.The village idiot of the worlddefiles yousees in you a womanhe can “grab by the pussy”as security detail obedientlyavert their eyes.
María. You have been repeatedlygang-raped then called a whoreby rapists who hide behindthe village idiot of the worldtoo stupid to know he’s their fall guy;the unzipped loutgurgling with profanitiesand primary school adjectiveswho abhors the sound of Spanish.María.you have been robbedof your richesby parasitic thieveswho call you a deadbeat.
Predatory scavengershave long been with us,defecating in once clear watersbloody talons digging through fertile soilto grow unnatural thingscalculated contaminations mutatingall semblance of justice.Erosion by malicious negligenceethnic cleansingof we who are calledcockroachesby deviant exterminatorscounting their bounty by deaththeir doughy flesh coddledin brass tacked leathermade of skinspeeled from the backsof the silenced.Top shelf cocktails swirlinto hurricanes.
Tightly rolled cigarswith names the smokersmispronounceburst into aberrant flames.ice cubes clink against the Baccaratflaring up the Richter Scale.My eyes refuse to closedespite my weary body’s pleading.
There are parts of usthat cannot be touchedor harmed, or killedor forced to sleep;as evil is legionso 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 pour sits 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