Poetic License: ‘How I Became A Poet’
They took my dried umbilical cord
And pressed it between two pages
Of a book of poetry by Luis Muoz Rivera.
As my parents told me, they wanted
to save the first lost part of me
in a collection of Muoz Rivera’s speeches and essays
so that I could become a great statesman like he had been,
but that book could not be found in New York City
and so they settled for poetry.
Now gringo, wipe away that snicker
And let me tell you that in 1972,
I became principal of Public School 83
in East Harlem and guess what
the name of the school was?
Luis Munoz Rivera,
the first school in New York City
to be named for a Puerto Rican.
How’s that for post-natal genetic engineering
and long range career planning,
Puerto Rican style, eh americano?