Cocotazo Audio Theatre
TRANSCRIPT: Episode 5
Open Mic: Puerto Rico

te amo, me amas
© 2017 Isabel Pask

IN MEMORY OF NORMA ELSIRA VILA MARTIN (1925-2018)

...te amo, me amas... (SINGING)

(HEARTBEAT PLAYS UNDER POEM, PAUSING AT THE END OF EACH VERSE.)

i am carrying puerto rico for you abuela
she is heavy and sometimes i don’t know what to do with her
i hide her in the corner of the room
packed away in a neat little box
or i let her hide me
wrap myself in her heaviness
singing boleros and smelling like sofrito

(A CAR HORN. A BUS PASSING. FOOTSTEPS ON A CITY SIDEWALK.)

last summer in san juan
you almost didn’t recognize her
you almost didn’t recognize
your country disguised in bright lights
unfamiliar street corners, loud busy nights
and McDonalds
people walk through the streets with their heads down low

i will learn how to make pasteles for you abuela
peel fifty cloves of garlic
fold the banana leaves into little envelopes
brush them with oil
and toil for three days
tie them with string
in neat little bows just to show you i know
how you need puerto rico to grow in me

abuela i feel her blooming
stretching and dancing
on pointed feet
arms outstretched and reaching
fingers in the atlantic
callused feet in the Caribbean

abuela
i’m sorry
they told you that your language
would hold your children back

abuela
i’m sorry
that every evening at dusk
when you called my mother in for dinner
(vowels reaching long and unafraid)
clutching the pot of dinner you made
(CHILDREN ON A PLAYGROUND.)
that the neighborhood kids laughed at you as they played
they did not realize that beauty could sound unashamed
and unfamiliar

abuelita i’m sorry that puerto rico is hurting
powerless and misunderstood
drowning in her own waters while government just stood watching
just talking about how much responsibility belongs to the States
people sit at their desks disappointed and irate  
because this “incident” has ruined their vacation
what CNN is calling an apocalyptic devastation
while the nation steps up to take care of Texas

this proud little island is patiently waiting for arms to reach out
but powerful people hide hands in pockets
having stolen in droves to feed their own mouths
enjoying full bellies from the riches of a crying island
turning their faces away until someone worthy enough is dying and then
they will feel compelled to change the filter on their profile
(A LIGHT SWITCHING ON, OFF, ON, OFF, ON, OFF.)
while children wait in the dark for light to shine on a dream-soaked isle

abuela
forgive me
for not knowing how to love her like you do

i will help carry puerto rico for you abuela
she is heavy and sometimes i don’t know what to do with her
she is fragile and bullheaded
she curls up and sleeps against the walls of my heart
(i sing her lullabies so she will not leave) 
...somos una gran familia... (SINGING)
she claws at the corners of my mouth begging to be free
begging to be seen.

...te amo,me amas... (SINGING)

(HEARTBEAT.)

© Isabel Pask, 2017


Blackout
© 2018 J. F. Seary

Maria
For many she is bendita
For us… she was tormentosa

Maria
Landed on Boriken
And drowned the people in
Salt water and darkness
Blackout

Days would go by
My people would be told lies
About the day their lives would return to
Normal
But what is normal
When your fathers are your colonizers
And they’ve robbed you of the memory
Of your mother
Mama Taina, Mama Yoruba

People expected to practice patience
As they sweltered under an unforgiving sun
Mosquitos got fat on their blood
As our president chucked paper towels
And praised himself for a job well done
Blackout

Drowned in darkness, nights guided by starlight
A reminder of our ancestors lives
Islanders drowning in silence
No radio static, no morning news
No heat from el blower
Yet there was a silence more haunting coquis sin canto
Maria y su fuerte viento
Le robo las voces

(STATESIDE VOICES AND SOCIAL MEDIA NOTIFICATIONS.)

From stateside we were screaming
Wondering if Maria also rendered us
silent
absent
blank
Like satellite images of the Caribbean
A black space where Boriken
Used to be
Puerto Rico drowned in darkness
Millions of people drowned in darkness
Millions of supplies drowned in darkness
Millions of dollars drowned in darkness
Blackout

(WHIR OF A GENERATOR.)

Once days, now months without power
The Puerto Rican people became pawns In a political tug-of-war
Permanently reminded they were power/less
As the promises of electrical power went unfulfilled
People turned to each other
Not on each other
Porque Boricua significa sobrevivir

(COQUIS SINGING.)

© J. F. Seary, 2018


1898
© 2016 Deivis Garcia

(A DRUMBEAT PLAYS UNDER THE POEM.)

Puerto Rico, top-soil, 
Your deep earth is Boriken
En La Isla del Encanto
Place where we Taíno once swam
Eighteen hundred and ninety eight
All eyes on Cuba's pain
Papers signed in old Paris
Cuba, Guam, and the Phillippines

Mira como los hijos de Dios
se olvidan
de los hijos de Dios
y ya no canta el coquí 

Puerto Rico, heart-broken, 
Caribe roots screaming deeply
Remember the Mano de Dios
Destiny manifests naked greed
Miles of warships on Guánica
Bombs on Vieques, corporate tax-holes
Pharma-land, resorts for so few
Low-blood sugar trade and united fruit

Mira como los hijos de Dios
se olvidan
de los hijos de Dios
y ya no canta el coquí 

Puerto Rico, free-fallin', 
Associated state of Caribbean dreaming
They can serve but got no say
Dulles knives de "La Operación" 
Counted out yet almost in
The star on this flag is a bar on that star
None shall gag Don Pedro's name
Echoing on El Grito de Lares

Mira como los hijos de Dios
se olvidan
de los hijos de Dios
y ya no canta el coquí 

Eighteen hundred and ninety eight
Sanctioned otherhood, flooding debt
Eighteen hundred and ninety eight
Ain't no borders on the rising tide
Eighteen hundred and ninety eight
As American as a hungry child
Mil ochocientos noventa y ocho
As American as a leilolai
Leilolai, leilolai, leilo, leilo, leilolai (SINGING)

Mira como los hijos de Dios
se olvidan
de los hijos de Dios
y ya no canta...  

© Deivis Garcia, 2016


Puerto Rico
© 1986, 1987 Gloria E. Perez,

De mi Puerto Rico te deseo hablar,
de esa bella isla rodeada del mar.
(OCEANS WAVES.)
Island of enchantment, home of the coqui
(COQUIS SINGING.)
with majestic mountains and towering trees.

Soles incansables ejercen su poder,
(CHURCH BELL RINGING.)
desde el claro del día hasta el oscurecer.
(COQUIS SINGING.)
Where the sun shines and the rooster crows,
(A ROOSTER CROWS.)
and the humble peasant sees his seeds grow.

Montanas y paisajes que inspiran a poetas
tal como Rene Marques y su linda Carreta.
(AN OXCART ON A COUNTRY ROAD.)
Humildes campesinos te ofrecen lo que tienen,
(AN AIRPLANE LANDING.)
nostalgiosos isleños regresar todos quieren.

(A CHORUS OF ISLAND SOUNDS.)

I want to you to know of my special island
Mi isla encantadora donde nací
Of my special island I want you to know
truly an enchantment, I love her so.

Mi isla encantadora donde nací,
hoy yo te honro a ti.

© Gloria E. Perez, 1986, 1987