Notes On The Return To The Island by Bonafide Rojas

We are proud to share an excerpt from Notes on the Return to the Island by celebrated poet Bonafide Rojas. His book premiered June 1, 2017 and can be purchased here.


today we celebrate
the death of the past

that has haunted us

since the very beginning


we mourn the living
& wash our hands

of all the names

that tried to destroy us


the ventriloquist is on stage

we don’t care about

a puppet government
politicians, governors

or presidents because

we can see the strings

the laws they pass rhyme with
eradication, annihilation & extinction

it taste like rotten apples


these money grubbing bastards

are scared of being bankrupt

yet they owe billions to other countries

& say we owe billions to them
they’re delusional, their heart is weak
their vision of the future is bleak

like an unnamed catastrophe

that has scourged the island to

a burnt-out cinder inhabited

by the corpses of dead corporations
our sky is shrouded by toxic dust particulates

a gold coin is placed on our tongues
we hold oil in our cheeks
we light candles for the people

who never came back from war

the puppet government

wears wood dentures

poison the water we drink

chemically create the food we eat

sharpen their silver spoons
pour wine into the skulls of dead monarchs

            & they stand there

            hideous & forsaken

            think of us as cattle

            rattle, profit, loss, consumer


we are not here for the slaughter
we are not here for the slaughter


when facing down the barrel of a gun

hope they’re a bad shot

hope they’re not just following orders

hope you look like their child

hope they had an amazing day

hope they realize you’re not the person they’re looking for

hope they know this is not the old wild west

hope god intervenes even though you are an atheist

hope they love your luxurious hair

hope you’re not holding a wallet

hope you’re not holding a water pistol

hope you don’t have candy in your hand

hope you don’t get stopped at a traffic light

hope they don’t have fear on their breath

hope they don’t think you’re a terrorist

hope they don’t think you're a communist

hope they dont think you're an independentista

hope they have some humanity left in their trigger finger

hope they haven’t been trained for this

hope this is not a reoccurring dream

hope you wake up from this alive



at the top of el morro
you can see politicians
walking around smelling
like corruption & massacre

they hold bone marrow in their glasses

bow before their own skeletons

eat the bark off dead cherry trees

take a casual walk in a cemetery

crushing the bones of dead nationalistas
their mouths full of declarations smell like vomit

carry blood in their pockets

brush their teeth with scalpels

watch the closed circuit destruction

of palestine, chicago, baltimore & vieques

they laugh at the death tolls

eat their own shit to survive

sacrifice babies for immortality

destroy the dignity of the poor

paint their self portraits with maggots

lay their bodies on dead goats

waiting to be resurrected

when the stockmarket crashes again
so they can sink their teeth into

everything, everywhere, & everyone

at the top of el morro

we wash our hands of their existence

we wash our hands of their name

& we walk into the ocean

& bathe ourselves in freedom.



Bonafide Rojas

 Bonafide Rojas is the author of When The City Sleeps, Renovatio & Pelo Bueno. He’s the bandleader for The Mona Passage & has been published in: Manteca!, Chorus: The Literary Mixtape, Bum Rush The Page, Role Call, Lost Orphan Project, Learn Then Burn (Pt. 1& 2), TheThePoetry Series, Me No Habla Con Acento, The Centro Journal, The Hostos Review, The Acentos Review, Palabras & appeared on Def Poetry Jam & Spitting Ink. He has been written up in The NY Times, NY Daily News, Culture Trip’s 10 NYC based Latino Artists to know, The Centro & La Respuesta Media. He has performed at Lincoln Center, The Brooklyn Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, Bowery Ballroom, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Rotterdam Arts Center, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Busboys & Poets & Festival De La Palabra. The Mona Passage second EP is due out in 2017. He currently lives in the Bronx.