This was a one night stand, I expected you to leave. I wake to find your arms cradling mine, now I see what makes esta isla tan hermosa, so beautiful.
Puerto Rico, you made a sinner out of me, somewhere between your waves, urban air, and streaming rhythm of music that makes Old San Juan new again. If we could bottle the electricity between a pair of tight jeans and a red dress dancing salsa, there would be no energy crisis.
The sun peaks over the mountains like its saying “gracias” and “de nada” at the same time. De nada.
Outside the city, a man in a wrinkled suit rides a Honda with no side door past rusted metal grated in front porches. This is not San Juan, but a town run on strong coffee and stronger pride. De nada.
There’s a hungry child by the canal and the old man under the overpass still clutches for his machete, long gone along with the fields he used them on. Gracias.
Inside El Cafetería a tired mother is chopping onions. A 15 year old is in a 22 year olds tube top sipping Medalla Light. The girl's growing fast to hold the man-boys in the moonlight. The gold can is gleaming with a knowing wink. De nada.
The tower of the old sugar plantation reaches up, a broken, rusted middle finger to God. Outside the gates children are scattered between the mountains and the beaches, a mirage placed on the wrong plot of sand. They are playing games I used to know.
Puerto Rico, your boarded up houses are all talking at once, they scream in Spanish and English and Spanglish back at me, holding too many names and dreams and heartbreaks. I want to scream. I want to collapse. I want to ask an older woman why; she holds the answers between her calloused hands and bent spine. But she has no time for that; there are mouths to feed. “Ya veras niño. Cuando estes viejo”
Your old stone towers stare back steady at the ocean, a challenge, a reprimand, a greeting, all at once.
Puerto Rico, I know if I fell you’d catch me, but you already have so many beautiful poets, so I’ll leave you to take care of your own. Gracias, te amo.
Jeremy Ashton is a writer, actor, creative thinker and coffee addict currently pursuing his Master's in English at St. Johns University. He is passionate about good writing, good people, creating art with friends and working for equality in this crazy world. To contact him or see more of Jeremy's work, visit his site here.