A POEM WITH/OUT

Pedro Pietri (1944-2004) is a foundational poet and playwright of the Nuyorican movement of the 1960s. A portrait of Pietri’s face is painted outside of the entrance of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, marking his significance in the movement. Pietri is widely known for his poem Puerto Rican Obituary and his play Short Eyes. A POEM WITH/OUT explores one of his poems from his Telephone Booth series by moving his text off the page. Nuyorican poetry values words on and off the page equally–this exhibit falls in that same spirit. By exploding the book, with love, this tiny exhibit honors a big name.

TELEPHONE BOOTH
number 436

split seconds
of uncontaminated originality
flashing briefly through
endless mental corridor
towards garden of amnesia
to remember that if
the united states hadn’t invaded
Puerto Rico in eighteen 98
we will still be able to land
on the moon spontaneously
& be back in time for supper!

TELEPHONE BOOTH
number 658003

yesterday is today
in a town in Ponce
where the folks are
looking for supernatural
mangoes — to feed the wind
a taste of history
that cannot be erased
with imposed assimilation
from military occupation
& modification education
because 4 your information
a nation is a nation
regardless of size-zation
not a place for vacation
for forces of occupation
grow your own mangoes
in microwave ovens –!
warn those magic jibaros
today from centuries ago

TELEPHONE BOOTH
number 659

freedom IS
a four letter word
with a few extra
letters attached
to keep the conver
sation from ending

TELEPHONE BOOTH
number 616

if I get up
to make the record
stop skipping
on the record player
I will certainly be
contradicting
everything I ever
said — about poetry

 

Claritza Maldonado is a writer, poet and second-year American Studies Ph.D. student at Brown University. She studies Puerto Rican diasporic identities and communities through various cultural productions such as poems and murals with a particular interest in the intersections of the visual and the aural.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *