DIMITRI REYES.February 2022


Photo by Jeff Sirkin



Please forgive the disrespect,

as our faces are never clean enough

for your viewing

nor can our bodies

escape your blinking.

The appreciation for the copiousness

of your coo, that consistent

traveling trill is your manifest

mastery in language through sound.

One of our many wishes as we are

but human unable to fly among you,

so you walk by us with bobbing neck

teaching a working tongue.

In what language are you speaking this time

prone en la esquina de un roca

from all over the world

statuesque in feather

bird in bird’s importance

chiseled into a forever.

For every echo between your beak

there is

an uninterpreted alphabet,

a way to read

the answers we continue searching

in the sands of your feet—

¿De dónde vienes?

¿Quién es tu creador?


| top |

*** ** ***



What is it to not work the fields like my people

did? How they gathered the decapitation of plants

into bushels with malicious scythes. Upon dipping

my head in a world of hay I could discover

the sun, appreciation in the artform of nourishment.

My working hands would evolve from rakes

to spoons. I would dine on four courses of picked

fruit and baked bread, know the real taste of

a simple pear and the real estate of producing

and consuming. Mostly, I envy the man who lies

exhausted under a tree waiting for his day to be

over, for he doesn’t know his own greatness like

Papi didn’t know his greatness packing linen in

a dimly lit factory. To feed on the wheats of labor

is to know something I once did in another life

time. To have eaten where I worked, laughed,

and slept is life in browned skin that attracts my

spirit’s asylum despite these softened palms. So

what am I to do when I pass a bale of dried grass

and I know I am but a hayneedle among the fodder?


| top |

*** ** ***



I’m every youth that pummels your campo’s wise guy,

calling each jab a gift to place bets and riff on the dimes

of every bird beneath me. My legacy consists of fists

clenched tight, to wallop and maim, to ball up the

shamelessness boiled into a twisted spine. Boxing,

a sacrificial sport by design, breath and wind conceived

in the sancocho brine of a Trinidad, Rosario, Camacho, Cotto,

Ortiz, Olivera, Rivera, Montañez, Torres, Vasquez, Gomez,

and you. Every one of my swings is a comida del pobre

story to swallow in this fighting game where any kid

in a high school bathroom can flap his wings, make a scene,

and throw hands against another like the generations of bodies

before him. In the cockpits of backyards, clubs, or back alleys

of clubs, they’re here, with their opponent against the ropes.

Morphed into urinal or dumpster, clobbering and swinging

until one hears that inner viejo say, hit ’em with the bolo and then,

it cuts quick like sugarcane. Through the art of a fist-to-chin

connection, I demonstrate how human can make human blood

trickle down slow, gushing aloe. Each time, swollen appendages

make mountains of blueprints with spit and bone skin graphed

on another man’s fists to be worn as a flag. In these moments,

I begin to question where those hands have been but who am I

to wait for sacks of daggers to speak a double-edged legacy

when every bob and weave comes with the wind of a whisper.


| top |

*** ** ***



When hurricanes

start from a kick of dust

what does that make us

if not a God for releasing

breath escaped from our mouths

untraceable above 30 degrees

momentarily capable

of sinking whole cities


| top |

*** ** ***



Make her spin with your

scratches. Continue

to hit congas at the front of

the entrance at El Coquí.

Say nightshade in her hands,

say she can provide me no aid.

In Jersey, Nueva York, Puerto

Rico— this dancer floods cities

in the threnody of her hips.

Her movements in circles

on hands and knees, men

growing and toppling

like banana trees. We dare

be caught in her eye.

To be hostage to her Juracán

sweeping fear in every man’s heart.

Let her continue to cut the air

of this dancefloor with her hips

in a whirlwind of movements

that will leave this place ravaged.


| top |


Dimitri Reyes
is a Boricua multidisciplinary artist, YouTuber, and educator from Newark, New Jersey. Dimitri’s book, Every First and Fifteenth (2021), is the winner of the Digging Press 2020 Chapbook Award, and some of his work has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. You can find more of his writing in Poem-a-Day, Vinyl, Kweli, Duende, Obsidian, & Acentos. He is the Marketing & Communications Director at CavanKerry Press.


Learn more about Dimitri by visiting his website at https://www.dimitrireyespoet.com/.


To download a printable PDF version of this page, click here.



| top |

February 2022.DIMITRI REYES