Queen I Am

by Janeida Rivera

Feet firm on the ground
Chin to the sky
Pondering honor and pride
Which take precedent
Over Benjamins
And make pretend amens

Am Queen
But they still see me
Twirling hair
Around pointer finger
Taking body shots
Of presidente
A panty dropping
Pollo mente
Chasing phantoms and platinums

Am I Queen
Or a fantasma?
Perhaps a representative
Of fanta!
‘Cause those commercials
Are quite catchy
Don’t you wanna?

I catch a glance
Of my shadow
Skulking in
Slow motion
Where is she?
J-Lo getting
Made in Manhattan maybe?
Chiquita, as in banana
Dancing with yellow
Fallacies on head
Or Maria, Maria
I once knew a girl
Named Maria

Lesson 1 on how to be
A Puerto Rican Senorita:
Incorporate flamenco in bed
With lips flaming red
#2 Give head
But don’t look like you do
3 Call him “Papi” because
Puerto Rican girls
Ain’t got no fathers
4 Scream for your life
Make animal sounds
Use a bullhorn when possible
‘Cuz were some loud bitches!
5 Keep your blade sharpened
And accessible at all times

You Are Queens
When you hear
“Mami, todo eso’s tuyo”?!
Transform into
Literary ninjas
Who in the blink
Of a tar batted
Paint soaked eyelid
Responds as follows:

Your memory
Is of Puerto Rican Royalty
With golden arms
That never missed targets
Of goddesses who healed
The spirit and body
With songs and herbs

Queen You Be
Tracing your roots
Like road maps
Under the ceiba
Where De Burgos
Wept words of wisdom
Onto pages we read
In classrooms
Informing little girls
Like Sonia Nieto
To redirect education
Preparing a squadron
Of reinas like you
To kick in doors
That have been slammed
In our faces
Shooting for libertad
And catching cases

Queens Be
Planting seeds to
Sprout trees
Which hook anchors
Into our earth
Clinging for dear life
Showing queens
That no one cares
If there’s a King/Queen
In the picture
Since you’re more than capable
Of ruling your castle solo
Single mothers
Are scholars too
Just ask Antonia Darder

We Be Queens
Combating colonial conundrums
You are to be
Addressed as such

I Be The Queen of Humboldt Park
Reigning from a balcony
Above La Division
Queen that’s entrusted
To raise your children
Where parents can’t reach
I breach boundaries
Cold fronts that others
Label as unbreakable
Showing young minds
Possibilities through poetry

Queen Soy Yo
Showing sheer strength
Not taking shit from anyone
Holding young womyn’s hands
Past barbershop windows
Teaching her to deflect their gazes
With palabras mas afiladas
Than their straight edges

Queen of HP
Doesn’t use cute synonyms
For her vagina
If I did she would never be
Called some sweet shit
Like toto, botonsito, muffin, punani
Id Call it some powerful shit
Like She-ra, Jaws, Predator
I want people trembling
At the mention of my Medusa

I am Fear and light
Energy and rebellion

I am Queen
Who survived
A mountain of misery
Watching family slowly die
Witnessing destruction
Of love and loyalty
Being kicked and stabbed
Pushed over and grabbed
Tears burning cheeks
Branding me broken
Bleeding, begging
And then…
This Queen rose
Wielding my experience
As weapons
Rhyming reality
And flowing fantasies

Queen of HP
Is unrivaled
Loves it when
Others come get some
They leave Shredded
With each syllable embedded
Verbal splinters
My voice sends shivers
Like Chicago winters

The Queen
Is to be hailed
And never crossed
Passionate poet tongue
Thugerella spits poison
Flows persistent
My Boricua blood is resistant
Don’t get it twisted

The Queen of HP
Who cleans the streets
Queen me
Occasionally freestyles to
Hip Hop Beats
HP holds my heart
And to it I am loyal
Like macheteras
To our tierra,
Fuck images of
Boricua Womyn
Solely sewing our Flag
Or draped in Lares Toga
Like lady liberty
I am renaissance
Of Puerto Rican Women
Call me the Fucking
Queen of HP

Originally Published in QOS March 2012 Edition, Vol. 40 No. 3

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