White owned stoops will say my grandmother begged for saliva from a thousand pores, nurtured a transcontinental migration at 8 years old; they will call 134th St. an Irish owned Harlem, the racial juke, Boogaloo before it proved its accent was innovation; they will swear talk of a would-be flood in the headlines: Third Wave of Puerto Rican Immigration, say unnatural use of womb, Spanish, a dull bath of accented milk always in need of a new coat of white spit / shined the block upon her face, a lengua turned to water, built itself a dam for generations and never taught papito Spanish, but always recalled the cascading mouths, drowning her children in words they could not translate into love.
Noel Quiñones is an AfroBoricua salsero. He is a 2016 CantoMundo Fellow, 2015 Watering Hole Fellow, and 2015 John Russell Hayes Poetry Prize winner. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry, Vibe, Flama, and Blavity. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Pilgrimage Press, Winter Tangerine Review, Moko Magazine, and The Acentos Review.