¡YO SOY BORICUA! ¿Y QUE?
by: Robert Ortiz
¡Yo soy boricua! ¿Y que?
Just because I don’t have the right acento
Or callos on my feet from walking around the campos
Or know how it is to live as a jibarito
Does that make me an automatic gringito?
So what, I don’t have stories of chasing down legartijos
Or climbing Las Palmas for some coquito
Or listening to Don Bernardo tell of his days as a huerfanito.
My stories are of chillin’ in the old casitas
Chasing down water bugs and ratoncitos
And listening old crazy old Papito
Telling about how “Rikers, La Roca, is no joke ‘manito.”
As salsa y plena filled the background and saturated my soul.
I got callos – on my hands though From climbing cement walls in the barrios.
Got memories of playing manhunt, freeze tag, and dominoes.
You have stories of chupacabras.
I have stories of Carmen La Puta, that chupacabrona!
So, you come from the pueblo and used to chill in the plazas.
Does that make you the owner of the Puerto Rican raza?
But you still say I don’t have the cojones to milk a vaca.
Do you have the cojones to dodge bullets and crack heads
And the landlord ‘cuz Mami didn’t pay the rent yet?
Yeah, you speak better Spanish than I do
But I can be mad fluent when I’m cursing you out, cuernu!
Mangoes, pastels, lechon, sorrullos/
Whether you like it or not somos hermanos, te lo juro.
Yo tengo la manga del guineo in my heart, kid.
The orgullo to be Boricua in Nueva Yol’ is part of my heritage.
The same blood flows throughout both our veins.
So don’t think because you were born on La Isla That it makes you more Boricua than me.
‘Cuz Puerto Rrrrrico was born in me and lives within me.
To be Boricua is not about location, but about spirit.
So that’s why I can say ¡’Chacho!
¡Yo soy Boricua! ¿Y QUE?
Poems with a twist and some flavor is what I call it. Robert Ortiz’s writing is one worth reading again and again. KMP came across this very talented young man and after reading some of his great work we were interested in finding out more.
How would you describe your style of writing? Do you consider it poetry?
My style of writing is whatever the reader wants it to be. I don’t put my writing into a mold or label my writing as one thing or another. I just write. When people read or hear what I write, they say it’s poetry and I may say it is sometimes. But, what I consider poetry may not be what others consider poetry and vice versa. So, what I try to do is be as free as I can and honest with myself in what I write. Then I let the listener decide what it is.
If you can describe your writings in three words what would they be?
“Who I am.” I try to make my writings as close a reflection of who I am. They are a culmination of all the layers of my soul stripped. The only thing left behind is the rawness of who I am.
I’ve noticed in some of your writings that some of the content is very intriguing, are all your writings based on actual facts?
All of my writings are based on what goes through my head at that moment. They are all inspired by events or ideas that have produced real emotions. Some of my writing is based on my childhood, my interactions with people, or events that have happened in the world that brought up conflicting or emotional thoughts and I need to put them on paper right then and there. It’s a mix.
I enjoyed reading Stale Twinkies, for those of us that haven’t read this poem what is Stale Twinkies about, how did u come up with this title?
Stale Twinkies”describes the world of hustlers – of creatures of the street. Like in any kind of culture, there’s the beauty and the ugly of it. A young gay person (usually a teen ) that has that innocent look is called a “twink”, in the gay community. Sometimes when those children – because that’s what they are – come out to their family, unfortunately they find themselves put out in the streets. The only way, they feel, they could make a living is through prostitution.
“Stale Twinkies” arose from my cry out to those kids to let them know that there are better things out there. I also wrote it to let those that don’t know about this see what the mind of one of those kids is going through. I made the Twink-ies stale because the loss of innocence has made these kids lose their innocence or “freshness”, so to speak.
What are your plans for the near future as far as writing? Will you come up with your own selected writings book?
Plans can always change so I try and live day by day. With that said, I am actually in the process of compiling all my poems and short stories to publish my own collection of writings. My vision is to make it a mix of poetry and autobiography. All my poems have been inspired by something or someone, so I am trying to include a brief background to each of my writings. Readers will know a little of my background as well as what really effects me. So I hope to finish it by the end of the year.
Some of Robert Ortiz’s writing is featured on:
Mariposas – A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry by Emanuel Xavier
Click the link below to purchase this book.
MARIPOSAS: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry by Emanuel Xavier