Friday, March 9, 2018

"Mi Isla" by Alberto Garrido

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Mi Isla” by Alberto Garrido.  Originally from New Jersey, he is currently studying marketing and advertising in New York City.

"Isla" Watercolor & Graphite on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
Mi Isla 
Alberto Garrido

Skies I had never seen before
Land I never felt below my feet
Yet everything was so familiar

La tierra that my dad’s family escaped
I see a familiar flag in the distance
The red triangle mocks me
The government tells me it is for strength 
But I know it is for communism

This country that once thrived
That the whole world rushed to
Now ridden with poverty
Those remaining, dying to leave

Mis primos ask me about the United States
About the Ferraris, the wifi, the pools, the food, la libertad
Things they will never see 

Che’s face looks over those whom he has ruined
A symbol to those who know his face
A monster to those who know his story

But I can’t say any of this
Or I will put us in danger

Celia and Gloria sang their hearts
Now they can never go back

“Mi isla”
I have never been to it
But it feels so familiar
Aquí corre mi herencia
I can feel the tears shed by my Abuela as she boarded the plane
I know everything my Abuelo left behind

I hope that one day
“Mi isla”
Will be what it was

I pray that in
“Mi isla”
People can speak
And say that Fidel was a killer

Yo quiero que “mi isla” sea mi isla un día 

Poet's Notes: Being Cuban on my father's side, I have always heard stories of survival and escape from members of my family. In March of 2017, I had the privilege to see Cuba with my grandfather. Upon being there, I realized how much my family overcame and the major sacrifices they made so that I did not grow up under this system. Seeing my extended family that is still there, I realized how blessed I was to be brought up in a country founded on freedom. This poem deals with my conflicting experiences and emotions on the island.

Editor’s Note:  I am moved by the passion and longing that bleeds and screams through the words of Garrido’s simple, heartfelt poem.  Quiero que su isla sea su isla un día también. 

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