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The #LatinoLit series continues with a poem by Puerto Rican author and poet Odilia Rivera Santos. As she states on Facebook Author page:

I was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and moved to the South Bronx at the age of almost-six. I am from a family of nine and nobody speaks to anyone else in my family very often, which is a long story that doesn’t matter.
The move from Puerto Rico to NYC meant that as a family, we were thrown into an environment in which shootings, drug addicts and constant chaos was the norm. I immersed myself in reading and writing at a young age, which allowed me to receive an excellent liberal arts education, and the skills necessary to be accepted into specialized high schools — but I hated high school.
I have studied yoga, meditation, nutrition, Western Herbal Medicine, the Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine, French, and received a BA in Comparative Literature.
I love to read and learn new skills. Sometimes, people say they don’t use their degree and I always think that is an incredibly ignorant statement; it is like saying “I never use my brain.”
I use all I have learned from relatives, books, classes, films, life experiences and music everyday.
There is no better mix then a little autodidacticism and formal education; this concoction created an extraordinarily well-organized circuitry that allows me to gain new skills quickly, and to assess and understand new situations well enough to ask questions . . . so much of life is rooted in asking questions.

#LatinoLit Author Odilia Rivera Santos

We are proud to present one of her poems form her blog:

in Cuba, …


When I arrived in Cuba, a man attached himself to me
his hands were strong; his eyes aggressive
When I arrived in Cuba, the breeze confused me
women stared, their smiles patched with gold
When I arrived in Cuba, I did not feel sad
I breathed free air, but a man spoke
of liberty
he taught me what I had not seen.
When I arrived in Cuba, I found another man
with the face of a boy
he searches; he dances in the ruins; he speaks of
being
always
on the margins
in his house, he is not a complete man
When I arrived in Cuba, the streets had games
and rules
I understood a little
When I arrived in Cuba, I did not get lost easily
it was with great effort that I got lost
When I arrived, I distributed gifts
people accept a favor, a gift, a hand
without questions
When I arrived, it was an island, a city, a barrio
When I arrived, I asked if they had squirrels
When I arrived, I dreamt of standing
on a balcony to admire the stars
there was no balcony
I fell for a little while
it was not an unpleasant experience
Soon I saw I was not foreign
I have been hungry
I have accomplished much
with little
I know how to sing and argue
I want to stay home
and see the world too.

© Odilia Rivera Santos

To know more about Odilia, become a fan of her Facebook Author Page or follow her on Twitter.

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