Writing in Candlelight: Post-Hurricane Poetry in the Dark

The wait was over. Angst and dread wandered in our minds, merely hours before María arrived. The night prior to the tempest, our town, Sabana Grande, was cloaked in complete darkness, and dim car lights flickered through the streets, making their way back home. My grandmother and uncles settled where my mother, sister, and I live, feeling like an unexpected family reunion. It was the perfect time to dig deep into my bookshelf and indulge into my dozen unread novels, until we heard them. Ominous gusts orchestrated our once-evergreen hills and trees. Leaves danced along the cold breeze, invading our house below the doorstep. My family sat down and watched. I sat down to write.

Words wisped through my mind, as if the hurricane itself took over my thoughts. The tunnel between my brain and my pen increased at the sight of falling flamboyanes and bamboos outdoors. After wiping tears of others and mine, creativity sparks illuminated my room more than my dull flashlight and candles on my desk, and verses arose, giving birth to diverse scriptures let my head drift into reminiscences and dreams. Stanzas flourished in light of colorless skies. Phrases blossomed despite flashes of lightning rampages. It was then I realized I created my own haven in the midst of the storm.

Gazing in awe at my contemplations deciphered into ink, writing for a month with no electricity became a healing process. As an avid writer, before Hurricane María I felt fear would have become a blindfold, preventing me to create another literary piece again. Nevertheless, letting my ideas flow like streams served as a cure, a restoration of balance between fear and strength. Sharing my writings to the rest of the family became a great source of comfort and warmth, creating a soft glow amid darkness. A month without electricity did not impede our valor, energy, and courage. Within devastating torrents, winds, and lightning, using a mere pen and paper suddenly felt like home again.

Below are attached five poetic pieces, fruit of timeless post-hurricane nights. Some are written in Spanish, English, or “Spanglish.” Enjoy!

Esmeralda

I was able to save myself

from deadly eyes resembling

fate from hellfire upbringing.

 

My sanity did not.

 

Pupilas dilatadas

Frail rain engulfs

mi cuarto with fresh air,

yet I remain

encerrada en tinieblas

without your warmth.

 

Mis dedos circulan

cabellos ensortijados

like a mixture of coffee with chocolate,

revuelan ritmos contagiosos

en contorno con la tempestad.

 

Luscious caramel legs

crossed facing the

dauntless sky,

pondera pensamientos

a tal magnitud como

María, la amazona.

 

Bombotó

 

Riveting curves were dragged

by scorching tides,

a seamstress had woven

velvety dresses,

toffee fingers bathed in scars

wipe her balmy face in distress

drifting in dreams of coconut milk

on a voyage through palmy skies,

in the midst of a reverie

sinking her teeth into tender

fresh baked mildness,

con pizquitas de azúcar morena y coco,

gazing at her cloudless azure,

her bembas molding a soft grin

as her warm, worn out caramel eyes

glimmered at her small window.

 

A las once de la noche

 

Luceros marcados

en sutiles sábanas

oscuras arropan

nuestras calles.

 

Observo lo que

siento, percibo

y atestiguo:

la oscuridad.

 

Resistiendo

la tentación

de encender

un incienso

y adornarme

de aromas espléndidos,

por miedo

a extinguirlo

con mis lágrimas.

 

La bruja

 

Mystical eyes of a witch in disguise

paint the picture of a deadly bruja

libre, venenosa, apetitosa, suculenta

brushes silver light upon a cryptic mistress,

engulfed in cerulean flames.

 

Queen of the bodega,

striking ebony eyes flashed

throughout the room,

ceased to emit a soft sigh,

turning to the weak hearted

with her bodacious silhouette,

whispered a frail song,

bathed in melancholy.

 

Tossing abundant curls

on her trembling "café au lait" spine,

she called out the next in line.