Rinconcito is a special little corner in Somos en escrito for short writings: a single poem, a short story, a memoir, flash fiction, and the like.
A Letter A Mis Amigos “Patriotas” by Raymond A. Benitez
Today I take back my birth right
without fear or hesitation.
You, who believe you have as much right to deny me my heritage like conquistadores in foreign ships.
Yo soy Boricua! Aunque no lo sepas!
Yo soy Boricua! Aunque tu me niegas!
I know how it drives you insane, that my Spanish sounds like heresy.
Do you not recognize your own brother?
I am the product of our mother’s violation, the bastard son of history, the crumbs that the mainland left behind! I am the echo of our past!
And I see you. I see throughyou. You foam at the mouth, ready to spit rejection into my face.
As I speak, I see your lips curling like bows taking aim at my chest. Your tongues are pitchforks starving for blood. Your words are salt encrusted and stink of vinegar left to dry.
Your fingers slowly creep, crawl, and wrap themselves around stones. Accusing me of adultery, pharisees of my flag.
Me acusan de traición!
Me han dicho que abandone mi patria!
Por no estar sufriendo con ella! Luchando por ella!
Accuse me of poverty instead!
Accuse me of loving a family I could not provide for! As if being Puerto Rican eight thousand miles away from home was not suffering enough.
As if representing our pride and defending our honor to those who believe we have none left isn’t enough of a fight!
But I see that your eyes still speak silence and rejection.
Sin embargo, I know who I am and where I am from.
Yo soy el jíbaro triste, migrando a la cuidad de Nueva York.
I am the sleepless nights in the heartless jungles of concrete and traffic.
I am the desperation of the immigrant.
I am the weeping eyes of mothers praying for their sons.
I am all of their “Hail Mary’s” and “Padre Nuestro”.
I am the uncertainty of choice. To leave or to stay?
And pack your whole life inside a bag of luggage…
I am the isolation of our single star.
Quiet seed of the Caribbean.
It wants to scream out from beneath the earth, to be acknowledged by the world.
We are taught that injustice is our daily bread. To be thankful that we are not like other Latin countries, “republicas hambrientas”
Justice is too much to thirst for, because “no estamos listos para la soberanía.”
As if freedom is something we must learn, as if it wasn’t already seared into the very skin of our souls when we are born! As if it wasn’t already carved into our bones and written in verse within our hearts!
Tell me, do you think we felt loved when the President threw paper towels at us when there was more blood running in the island than water?
Neither did I.
I am Judas, who betrayed himself and sold his flesh for thirty pieces of silver and a loaf of bread to give to his mother.
You would have me crucified for being born into the same skin as you.
The sound of my rolling r’s is flat and deformed, my skin is a shade of American to you, but I will never be what you want me to be.
I will not confess to crimes I did not commit.
Because you cannot abandon a home,
that has never left your heart…
Y confieso con mi cantico triste,
Yo soy Boricua, aunque no lo sepas.
Yo soy Boricua, aunque tu me niegas.
Raymond A. Benitez was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico and spent his childhood growing up mostly in the United States. He moved back to the island with his mother and younger brother at 12 years old and stayed there for nine years until Hurricane Maria required him to migrate from the island to support his family in 2017. He is currently finishing a Bachelors in Journalism while serving in the United States Army with the dream of returning to Puerto Rico which he considers to be his home. This is his first time being published individually, but he was previously published in a poetic anthology titled Vuelos del Vertigo from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao.