The Abandoned Island

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large
human

Puerto Ricans

there’s war on my people

sterilization, genocide

for years

 

crisis

abandonment of the island

I hear their cries — it burns

quieted deaths

coqui.

©2017 Liza Morales

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The Last Encounter

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‘I love you’ were the last words said

it was the night before you bled 

by morning, I missed dad’s calls

as you laid between bathroom walls
blood vessels bursted in your head

‘I love you’ were the last words said

massive bleeding flooded your brain

the thought of this, drove me insane
doctors said you wouldn’t make it

that prognosis didn’t seem fit

‘I love you’ were the last words said

intubated and face all red
I sang all night and prayed with might

til the sun came to smear its light

last breath …. spirit rose from the bed

‘I love you’ were the last words said. 
©2017 Liza Morales 
#QuaternPoetry

RIP Mom 4/8/51 – 4/3/08

Janet ♡ Carlos

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In 1948, he was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, the first of four children, all born at home. My grandparents didn’t have much and lived in poor conditions; eating lots of eggs and rice, in a tin house which does not exist today. Despite the lack of money, they were extremely rich in love. As a young boy, my dad ultimately moved to New York and was raised in Spanish Harlem. 

By the time Mom was born in 1951, her family had already migrated to New York from Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She was born in Bellevue Hospital on 1st Avenue and was also raised in Spanish Harlem.

Mom and Dad met in ‘El Barrio’ and he became her boyfriend when she was 13. Eventually, he was drafted into the Navy but the separation only strengthened their love. As soon as he was honorably discharged, she married him at the age of 18 and gave birth to my brother at 19. My parents didn’t want to stay in Spanish Harlem, so they moved to the Bronx and lived in the second floor apartment at my paternal grandparents’ house. A couple of years later, we moved to Gun Hill Road until they were able to save enough money to buy a house of their own, which they eventually did. It is the same home I live in today. 

My parents were awesome providers and made huge sacrifices to ensure we lived comfortably. They had a total of three children. They fed us, clothed us, loved us, schooled us, sheltered us and placed us all in private school (which Mom always claimed, “Education is the best gift we could give you”). Their hugest priority was always us and for that I love them eternally. They loved us unconditionally and their example taught me how to love my children the same way. Even their love for one another was exemplary. They demonstrated love as a verb. 

In 2008, death separated them after 39 years of marriage but it was temporary. Only seven months later, he died and joined her. There was no life without the other. “Until death do us apart” was their mantra and now they rest in peace and eternal love … together, until infinity.

[Photo captured at the Copacabana, NYC, early 80s] 

Walls 

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we are conditioned to build walls

through culture, religion and politics

an example taught early on

training the unconscious mind, 

like forming cliques in school

or hiding what you really feel

because vulnerability is weak

and ego can’t handle that

so freedom and power is abused 

like the country I am from

who build structures with height

that stand with such arrogance

forbidding others to walk this land

as if immigrants are unworthy

to live and breathe on American soil

Dilcy Yohan didn’t feel that way

afrer leaving his wife and three children 

to trek his way out of poverty

from his homeland of Honduras

this sacrifice was his only hope

a journey, long and perilous 

steel beams and concrete

was only half his mission

Earth is equally ours

so why create borders..

when residents of this country

migrate without being challenged

like birds, bees and butterflies?

Is this a course ingraining separation..

imbuing the American people

with a belief of superiority 

over beings of the human race?

I even feel guilty sometimes

when I travel to other countries

knowing the natives of that land

are monarchs trapped in cocoons 

raped of freedom and equality

and irrefutable possibilities 

leaving them with aim to survive

and the bare essentials to life

Yohan journeyed up north

into the mouth of a grand beast 

roasting up to 125°F in the day

but reaches freezing levels at night

you see,  the Arizona desert is desensitized

just like American politicians

who invest billions on borders

instead of human life

Yohan became another statistic

swallowed by the Sonoran desert

after walking about 58 days

20 miles shy of Tuscon

now, his children remain fatherless

and his wife, a poor widow

while this family still suffers

from the walls we keep building. 

©2016 Liza Morales