Juncos, Puerto Rico by Isa Guzman


Isa Guzman is a TITERE poet from Los Sures, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dedicating their time to exploring the traumas and hardships of the Puerto Rican community and society at large, their work has been featured in several magazines and anthologies, such as: The Bridge (Brooklyn Poets), The Acentos Review, The Casita Grande Lounge, The Good Men Project, and The Other Side of Violet. Currently pursuing their MFA at Brooklyn College. They are also working toward their first collection of poems & first exhibition of visual art. You can also hear them speak on the subject of masculinity and the Puerto Rican community on the podcast, Pan Con Titeres.

Yo siempre camino por esta colina steep
                  from Ceiba Sur to Juncos
                                                               dodging vacant cars & hollowed homes
                                                               dodging dogs with vacant eyes & dried
                                                                                          chicken blood bark
                                                               dodging petrified landslides of vacant debris
                                                                        & weathered boulders scaled in vine

                  all the way down the 934
                           to carretera 198            to Ralphie’s warehouse
                                                               quien vende un jug de Pepsi for 79 cents
                                                                        warm moonlight     cold sun light
                                                                        y an unlearning of the future

                                                                        Yo compro una botella de agua
                                                                                 for the price of my liver
                                                                                 & a bouquet of chicken feet

make my way toward the bridge
over the Rio Valenciano where a herd
of mules stampede beneath the calm
green brown orange paint currents

                                                      iguanas hang from powerlines
                                                      praying for storms of ligartijos

                                                                                 there are bodies hiding
                                                                                 everywhere  evasive of any
                                                                                 eye or want   inert in an aura
                                                                                                   wholly ghost

& I make my path toward
the stony muslos del pueblo
in its pastel blood & eroded
cement                 pregnant with floor
         tiles a century old & barely

                                    which led me past imagined people
                                             sleeping in the doorways
                                             de tiendas cerradas

                                    which led me to the Cementerio Minicipal Viejo
                                             a hill with tombs for teeth

                                                      I abandon my bouquet
                                                      on the unmarked grave
                                                      de una bruja watch a swarm
                                                      of fire ants carry it away

from the hill I feel bomba thumping from waves of steam

                                                               burnt coffee y dulce de leche
                                                               incrust the hot air down alleyways
                                                               y mas vacant lots y mas vacant homes

y me pierdo en el pensamiento
until I ask for directions
from a man named Pello
                  who looks a lot like my father
                           as he directs me toward the town square

                                                                        where under steepled gaze of
                                                                                 Inmaculada Concepción
                                                                                 I expect to witness
                                                                                          una explosión

                                    veo un hombre
                                    lying in a gazebo
                                    with a wound
                                    the size of a mouth

                                                                        in the shape of a carambola
                                                                        y el color de wrecked fruit
                                                                                          of acerola cherries
                                                                                          or pitahaya
                                                                                          or pomarosa
                                                                                 a mouth mouthing for
                                                                                          another dollar

y yo miro y yo miro                   y yo miro             until the plaza stares back

The Acentos Review 2019