Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Attempting to Grieve

I don’t think anyone can comprehend what you meant to me as a child.
You were a Superhero.
In retrospect, it makes sense.
You were released from prison around the time
I started having coherent thoughts. 

My mother had an old chair and the back had fallen off.
It had an hour glass shape and I decided to use it as a canvass.
I remember drawing a picture of you wearing Adidas sneakers.
My mom must have gotten a chuckle out of my attempt.
I was never much of a visual artist. 
I don’t expect my drawing of you to
appear in a museum or gallery anytime soon.
But it wasn’t supposed to matter…

Because you were suppose to live forever.

When I received the text message,
I felt like a six year old.
I didn’t understand the words.
I asked for clarification.
Your death was confirmed.  

You see Lolita,
I’ve never once imagined a world that you weren’t living in.
I laid two parents to rest in my early twenties.
They were both admirers of you.
As difficult as it was to let them go,
it was something that I knew was inevitable,
even if it was earlier than expected.
As much as I loved my parents,
I knew they were mortals
and would eventually be forced 
to succumb to the same fate
as the rest of us.

You walked into congress with a gun and said
“I did not come here to kill,
I came here to die for Puerto Rico.”
You did not die that day because
you couldn’t be killed.
This became evident when you were released thirty years ago.
You roamed the island of Puerto Rico
 for most of my life,

a free woman.  

Who else could have accomplished such a feat?

Only a Superhero.

Rumor has it that RFK Jr once begged to meet you.
To think the progeny of the former Attorney General
would desire to meet you, 
when most politicians make a living these days
trying to scare us about people like you.
The truth is that most political leaders can’t understand true patriotism.
They can throw the names of George Washington 
and Thomas Payne around.
But they would never have the courage and conviction to defend this nation
the way you’ve fought for our little island. 
And that’s the problem.

Who is supposed to protect us now?

The capitalists have grown their
tentacles across our enchanted home.
But you were there to fight for us.
To stare them down,
daring them to take one more step,
to lay one more brick.
I assumed you would always be there. 

You would never abandon us and leave us mortals to defend ourselves.

Please come back to life Lolita. 
Please! This is not a funny prank.
What are we suppose to do?
Words can’t express the power
of the tears trapped behind my eyes at this very moment.
There is no way to explain the feeling inside me to
a stranger that has never heard of you,
but strike me dead if what I am about to say is wrong.
There are thousands of Puerto Ricans that feel exactly as I do,
who understand that you breathe rarefied air,
that know you could come back to life if you wanted to.
Perdóneme Doña  but I don’t know if we can go on without you.
I’m serious.
I might kill myself right now
if you don’t come back to us.
Please Doña
I’m begging you.

…Lo siento Lolita.
Please excuse my self-centered arrogance. 
I know that I’ve been way out of line.
I just never imagined that you wouldn’t be in this world,
standing as a shining example of grace,
strength and Puerto Rican Sovereignty.
Your loss is almost too much to bear. 
I understand that the struggle for liberation is in our hands now.
I realize that you’ve entrusted us with the mission to free Puerto Rico.

The first step in that journey will be protecting your legacy.