after is now

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El Malecón de Arroyo, Puerto Rico, January 2018 by H. Lloréns

By: Hilda Lloréns

i am afraid of crying
but i cry all the time
it catches me by surprise every time
like the other night when a stranger
asked how the island felt
& i replied:
“it reminds me of my childhood in the early 80s”
tears sneaking up.
no lights on the roads to erase the night sky,
i could see the stars, the galaxy,
the three kings,
the big and the little dipper”
tears now streaming violently.
“i was a child just then
eyes turned to the night
sparkling tropical stars
raining shine on me
all the brokenness
of the world
in the world
all is now shattered.
i did not know, could not have known
there would be no going back
to that small place pulsating with life
no matter the season.”
wailing now.
ashamed just then.
be stoic.
this is the North.
childhood long gone.
no road back to past.
this is the now.
see it
it is.

no one owns the story.
authenticating authenticity is a losing battle.
erasure is as common
as is the disregard for those who are

everyone has a story to tell
and they should tell it.
but no single story tells the truth.
too many truths to tell.
too many injustices to declare.

justice has always belonged to the few
who guard the gates of influence
“curating the angle”
amplifying the voices of their friends & friends of friends.
and so it is.

la visión tallada a la medida
de lxs poderosxs
como era en el principio,
ahora y siempre,
por los siglos de los siglos.

sean sus nombres santificados
en la redes sociales
amigxs de amigoxs de amigxs
sean de cerquita o de lejitos
bajo nuestro amparo lxs acojemxs
esxs santxs profetas cuentan nuestras verdades
escuchémolxs devotxs
postrémonxs ante sus visiones

stamped and sealed by authentic authority


unheard are the voices of the body in ruins
prisoner to the hot-cold hospital bed
oxygen tube breathing life into it
mouth contorted the shape of agony
skin swollen
the color of sunlessness.

injustice a permanent condition
some of us are born into.
not even death can part.

so many worlds & words.
cada cabeza es un mundo.
worlds of words
to profit from.
merchants of despair.

righteous indignation.
oh so much righteousness!

sometimes I wonder if there have been more words told than tears shed?

why do I care so deeply for a place that doesn’t care for me?
and still,
i say:
“i am from that place.
i love that place.”
ancestor worship.
earth. sky. plants. air. clouds. rain. rocks. shells. water salt & fresh.
animals my kin.
how could i not love the only place i can say i am from?
i know no other earth to be from.

El Malecón de Arroyo, Puerto Rico, January 2018 by H. Lloréns

Hilda Lloréns is a mom, life-partner, and companion. She likes to keep her hands close to the earth so she plants and tends a flower garden. In late spring, with her family she sows seeds to grow a bit of food. She is a dedicated composter, and tries to be a decent person. All of it is a work in progress.

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The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by La Respuesta. We encourage dialogue, debate, and learning in order to forge stronger, healthier Boricua communities and to strengthen alliances across social differences.