Bonafide Rojas


tierra is the first word
the island teaches us

the wind is our navigator through
this land of the valiant lord

the coasts are crystalline cobalt blue
we give all the hurricanes names

these pueblos of deserts & jungles
opens the roads to the edge of history

we are measured in size & location
harmonize in a minor key

we carry forced exoduses on our backs
our blood is a lineage of caña y café

columns of smoke to obscure
the clarity of this gorgeous sky

seventy eight provinces from bend to bend
from la mar to el oceano, from faro to faro

we erect gigantic billboards of
foreign products, molasses & gasoline

electric poles line the island like sheet music
our technical progress has invaded the countryside

we torture the muscles of these mountains
the small towns are being reconstructed

transformed by irrigation
radio waves & the smart phones

we increased the speed of development
on our  backs & legs

tomorrow seems like a frightening place
of radioactive beaches, plastic forests

bare mineral shells of former glory
hydraulic energy cities & neon mountain sides

this exploding super-population hasn’t
culturally develop the next

we need to defend our island from
the statues that represent an oppressive future

we cannot assure ourselves the air
we breathe will always be free

we cannot assure that these homes of ours
will always belong to us & not a bank of leeches

the geographic position of our land has determined
the course of our history, sovereignty & strategy

we are a forced a collective personality
casualties of imperialism

in between two americas
our lack of volume, our lack of ports

our island that can be seen in two days
tourism is the mirror ball & chain

our reflections bare a narrow house
cramped by the plains, & valleys,

our vision is a trip on the immediate
extension of our landscape

if we stretch our bodies far enough
we can touch the four corners

our history would have been different
if our land was different

our heroes, our fighters who did not fit in,
who fled & died in foreign lands

may have been treated different
because the lack of space needed to create

wouldn’t have been an issue
everyone’s perspectives would’ve been broader

we are geological positioning
we are invigorating climates

we are biological constitutions
we are imperial landscapes

we are trapped in a perpetual cycle of self destruction
operating on our collective psychosis

we were once woods, pastures,
swamps & untapped potential

now a paradise in a schizophrenic conundrum
divided by invisible titles of state & independence

we are jibaros with satellite dishes
we are farmers who carry computers

we are fast food, fast highways,
corporate tools, monopolizing landlords

our hearts sit on the lap of rediscovery
our hands balance the conflict & cooperation

home is the flower of the land
caribbean & atlantic picturesque

our expression is coupled with
our anguish of yearning for freedom

our memories made of lumber, metal,
history, poetry, folklore, & tradition

this land & the century long fight for
the people & our self defining roles

these coasts are crystalline cobalt blue
we give all the hurricanes names

the wind is our navigator through
this land of the valiant lord

libertad is the first word
we taught ourselves

tierra is the first word
the island taught us.

Author Statement

Home Is The Flower Of The Land is an analysis on how post modernization has stunted the growth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has been a colony of The United States for 119 years & has disconnected the island with the other experiences of the region. To be included in the Sacred Americas Folio connects Puerto Rico with the rest of the Caribbean, Central America, North America & South America in the fight against imperialism, colonialism, racism, gentrification & working towards liberation.

Bonafide Rojas is the author of four collections of poetry: Notes On The Return To The Island (2017), Renovatio (2014), When The City Sleeps(2012) & Pelo Bueno (2004). He appeared on Def Poetry Jam & has been published in numerous anthologies & journals. He’s the bandleader for The Mona Passage, whose debut EP was released in Aug. 2016. He’s performed at various stages: Lincoln Center, The Brooklyn Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, Bowery Ballroom, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Rotterdam Arts Center, Columbia University, NYU, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, BusBoys & Poets & Festival De La Palabra. For more info :