For Mariposa and Puerto Rico On Their Wedding Day

Your brilliant, hot, heroic kind of love.


I have enough on my hands,

married to just one man,

and now Mariposa

is marrying her homeland.


You don’t have to get along.

You don’t have to hold hands skipping down the street

with a leap in your heartbeat.

You only have to show up day after day,

not even at your best.

Tell me, Mariposa,

why you have chosen this mate

as your lifelong date…?


Tell me how deep it goes

the love deep down in your toes

the blood that boils and jumps and pumps and circulates

and runs ancestrally through

the tunnels of time that are you.


While Puerto Rico coos, you’re mine.

Your love,

marrying the island

marrying where the Atlantic Ocean

hits its lips

The Mona Passage turns its hips

The Caribbean sea…

I know how harsh rain water can be

how it kills photos

the unassuming tear drops of God

and clouds erasing the lines of images

that were meant to be

what’s kept of a memory

dripping down the water erasing a photo

of what would be your grandmother

Your cousin Juan

on the beach in a bathing suit

yourTiti Mara getting married

in front of the Catholic church

water,gone, ghosts, roots


You will replace your husband’s

lost photographs

with the deepest love and permanent laughs

you can tell your lover who all these faces are and were

by standing there with your hair

your nose your eyes your flare

Showing them that you care

This is the most solemn part of marriage

Being there for the loss

Foundation while your lover is tossed

Filling the dark with your light

Bringing them back to the fight

Reminding them to dance

Bringing them back to romance


You will marry all I know

Of dear Puerto Rico

My limited Nuyorican experience on Loisaida and in el barrio

Where sweet people speak to me in Spanish assuming

There’s something in me blooming


Or that I’m related to your husband or wife, Mariposa

Now I can say, I’m not Puerto Rican

But I’m related to you through marriage because of



Marry the dominoes,

marry Bimbi and the family on 4th St

everybody holding down the building

Marry the accent I don’t have

Marry the time I ran into Reverend Pedro dressed all in black

at the bus stop in Inwood

Marry Carmen at the Nuyorican

Marry Miguel’s insults

Marry the times we smoked and choked and kikied beneath

the golden tent in the mariposa garden at Eugene’s

Marry Ruthy's flat iron and her endless generosity

Marry all the scenes of Rita Moreno that I rehearsed over and

over in a mirror as a kid in New Orleans

Marry my dramaturge and all the best wisdom given to me

by a Puerto Rican man on Avenue D named Tee.

Mariposa, I approve,

this marriage is the move.

Marry the generosity that only humility and loss can offer

The going out of your way to make you smile that day

Marry the way Lytza stayed up till 6 am fixing my headpieces

for my play seeing the sun that day

Going out of her way

The way Sandy sewed up my ear on her dining room table,

you hear?

Marry Sandra Rivas’s rice and beans

Mariposa’s collard greens


Marry the sand and the ocean,

Marry the pain and all pretense

Marry the torn the trees and the refrigerators left open on

the street

With all their stinking meat

Your lover will never be able to leave you

Because your lover needs you

Marry the batteries and the bundles, the mosquitos and the

history, the tans the browns the smiles

The love that’s yours for miles

My man is only 6 feet tall, that’s all, but you, you’ve got them all…


You don’t have to play house

hiding like a mouse

You don’t have to

betty crocker bake

and shake

and cook with the look

in a kitchen nook

You only have to let the wind find you where you are

Tell me about your path to this love

And I’ll tell you about mine

Meanwhile the traffic lights turn green and red

The politics decay,

You and your lover find a bed

The rest will find its way

Happy wedding day….