Where You From? - A Poem About Puerto Rico


Culebra, PR (2017)

Where You from?

I’m from where viejitos sit on the front porch in the morning, eating pan con mantequilla. Where chamaquitos pursue piragua carts. Where mujeres weave the culture of the land into sombreros and sell them to the gringos.

Where You from?

I’m from where abuela be like “Mira muchacho, vajate de ahi, te vas a matar!

But Papi be like “Pero deja ese nene quieto. Dejalo que corra y brinque.

And Mami be like “Yo no te voy a llevar pa el hospital. Lla lo sabe.

Where You from?

I’m from where if you don’t finish your food, “haha… y la chancleta? Que este se cre que estoy jugando.

Where if you don’t behave in public you get that “deja que lleguemos a casa

Where the youngest get away con lo que sea and the oldest get the cocotasos.

Where You from?

I’m from where you get smacked for misbehaving, and then get smacked again for crying about it, “quieres llorar con gana?

Where you tell your mom “tengo hambre” but don’t want what she cooked and she hit you with the “pues no tienes hambre

Where You from?

I’m from where you ask Papi for $5 and he be like “vete y preguntale a tu mai

So then you go ask Mami and she be like “Porque no le preguntas a tu pai?

Where You from?

I’m from where I’m too Americanized to be Boricua, but I’m too Boricua to be American.

Where we juggle two languages, bien facir, on a daily basis.

Where if someone doesn’t understand English we switch up like “hola, como estas? Puedo ayudarte con halgo?

Where You from?

I’m from where it’s ok to eat a plate of arroz con abichuela y pernil at 10 in the morning.

Where you can grab frutas off the arboles in front of your casa.

Where it’s normal to see someone riding down the carretera on a caballo.

Where You from?

I’m from where if you listen closely… you could hear the Tainos llorando every time que el viento sopla.

Where abuela rises with the morning sun to make her favorite grandchild some sopa.

Where you know you’re in for it when you dirty your brand new ropa.

Where You from?

I’m where the sangre of my ancestors fertilizes the soil we use to sembrar our seeds of hope.

Where la historia de nuestra patria is all we have left to fight for.

Where the government es un maldito pillo!

Where You from?

I’m from where we speak the language of our slave masters but call it our own.

Where if you’re a blanquito Boricua con ojos claro, you think you’re better than that trigueñito con pelo malo.

Where White Spaniards raped and abused those who came before me... to the point that I can close my eyes and feel their pain.

Where You from?

I’m from where every plate of food comes con arroz y abichuelas.

Where it’s not seasoned right unless there’s some Adobo y Sazon.

Where the elders like to bonchichar like it’s a sport “tu puedes creer que el hijo de Blanca tiene una amiguita?

Where You from?

I’m from where IT’S OK TO TALK AT THIS VOLUME in public places - completamente normal

Where if you’re a guy that’s shy to dance with girls “eres tremendo pato

But if you’re a girl that’s shy to dance with guys “que Bueno! Mas te vale!

Where You from?

I’m from an island in the middle of the ocean. A big ocean, surrounded by water.

Where we prayed to la virgin Maria as Hurricane Maria did a number on us.

Where a gallon of leche cost more than a gallon of gasolina.

Where You from?

I’m from where anyone who lives outside the island is considered “de afuera”.

Where hombresitos learn to gut a pigs before reaching cuarto año.

Where residents go to sleep to the sound of coquis and gun shots.

Where You from?

-Pedro “FLAKO” Cruz