Two Poems

José Ángel Vega Ortiz, Casi-banderas (Almost-flags), 2018, woodcut on paper, 14 x 17 in.

Don’t Suicide

All the roads lead to you,
but be careful with all the bumps on the road,
they multiply with every new month of this municipal,
state, and federal administration. So careful with our car
because fixing it cost $600 and Mayor Carmen Yulín doesn’t give a shit, 
and we may have to survive two or three more months of this plague.
You are brave and still have a lot to see,
even if no one really gets it when you say you’re not feeling well,
even if no one really gets it when you say you can’t go on like this,
this wasn’t the world you wanted to be birthed into,
this wasn’t the dying round mother you needed to be happy in.
Hope is the work that we must do, so much work to fix this.
And fix we must, or you’ll lose me.
So we must survive the invisible foe in the air,
the virus with a crown brought to us by our bringers of death: 
an Italian tourist and a Panamanian doctor.
We must survive, cause if happiness is a warm gun,
then hope is the resulting bullet in my brain.
This is no land of cherry blossoms,
there are no sycamore trees on Calle Estrella,
but we have naturalized your apples and peaches
and our people have survived everything Gringo Man has thrown at us.
You are brave and still have a lot to see, 
you still have to buy that cabin on a fjord,
you haven’t been to Bali,
you haven’t made that peach flan you were gonna call “impeachment,”
you still have so much to paint and so much to write,
and so much to cry for the world, 
and so many of our people’s tears to chronicle,
and so many kitties and puppies to rescue,
you still have so much to give,
you still have so much to give,
so, please, don’t give up, even if life itself tries to force the knife that’s already in your hand.
Say it, over and over again, in front of the mirror if necessary,
even if you can no longer see, or breathe properly,
don’t worry, you don’t have Covid,
it’s just one in a long string of panic attacks.
You can’t die here, cabrón, so hold me tight, 
particularly in those nights in which the summer punishes our skin
even when inside our shelters and under the A/C,
hold me please, and don’t let me die by my own forced hand.
Hold me and wash away these killer thoughts
and let them fly away like cucubanos from a jar.



I dream of bodies since September 2017,
floating on the rivers, becoming leptospirosis,
and killing others through the city pipe systems.
Floating on the sea that carved a chunk off Levittown,
waiting for the justice of carrion changos
on the roofs of the houses that the ocean took.
I dream of bodies since the earthquakes of January 2020,
buried alive until they’re not, their hopes swallowed by the earth
and the oblivion of an exhausted news cycle.
I dream of your body, caressing, spooning, holding me
as the day terrors and night terrors wash away
slowly, gradually, eventually, ultimately . . .
So be my meth-iculous friend, embrace me with your winds
and guard me against future hurricanes.
Don’t let your body be dead before mine no longer lives.
Dance with me on the two-edged blade 
of our national terrors.
Go to the beach with me the day after the winds,
take my clothes off and enter me under the smog.
Wash away the torn safeguard houses and the toppled palm trees.
Wash from my soul the myriad-color pieces of glass
the sea cast off on our beaches.
Make me yours and seed me for a better tomorrow.
Fuck me and make love to me under an occult moon
and breed me for the possibility of hope
that we don’t cry ourselves to sleep every night, 
in hope that no African American friend of ours is killed by a white cop,
in hope that we finally get our FEMA money and lift our blue tarps
and rebuild and reclaim our collective sense of home.
In hope that we can fix the island in time.
And finally, kiss me while we cum, and then laugh with me,
laugh at life, at our fragile manhoods, 
at the terrible howls of the surviving homeless pets in San Juan . . .
Laugh with me at the destruction.

Eïrïc R. Durändal-Stormcrow (born David Caleb Acevedo, 1980, San Juan) is a writer and visual artist. He has published the novels El Oneronauta and Historias para pasar el fin del mundo; the sex memoirs Diario de una puta humilde; the travel book Crónicas del esmog; three short-story collections; three poetry collections; and the anthologies Los otros cuerpos: antología de literatura gay, lésbica y queer desde Puerto Rico y su diáspora (co-edited with Moisés Agosto-Rosario and Luis Negrón) and Felina: antología para gatos (co-edited with Cindy Jiménez Vera).