Poems by Dimitri Reyes

Men’s Cubavera Embroidered XL

How I wish my silk shirt was a guayabera
——short sleeved and woven loose so the air

could breathe through. How a guayabera
——has the power to make people wonder

about limbs underneath flowy sleeves,
——forearms that rest on the waist of

a lover, that embraces family, carries boxes,
——the implications of hard working biceps

smuggled beneath linen. Muy macho. Yes,
——strong limbs with the tattoos of diaspora

hemmed through pockets over the heart.
——How I wish that guayabera on the rack

would turn any suncup into a piña colada,
——shake my Tropicana carton into a Mojito,

instantaneously equipping it with an umbrella
——like the one I’d sit under wearing this particular

guayabera. On the basis of customary fashion,
——allow me cotton, to humbly, publicly leave my shirt

unbuttoned more than usual. The craftsman
——ship of the threading magically making my chest

more island lush in vegetation and less
——grounded meat on a platter. How I wish

the guayabera was my uniform, a shirt physically
——breathing. If my face is caught burning red so be it.

I want the Caribbean stamp of approval. I long to
——talk with the ghosts of Tainos and the Motherland.

I touch the shoulders to hear croaks battle cackles
——inside el yunque. I run my hands down the seams

to feel the howlings from machines that make these
——$70 copies. In the middle of a department store

I put on the guayabera to witness myself getting
——backhanded in the mirror by my ancestors

for being swindled. Purchasing the most
——expensive kind of farmers’ clothes. I follow

the numbered footsteps of dance charts filling
——in the shoes of history right out the door of Macy’s.

Just right. In my new guayabera.
——Each step counting the money I’ve spent:
————————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
————————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
——————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
————————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
——————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
————————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7
——————————————1, 2, 3 … 5, 6, 7


Mother Botánica

Ay que los tres clavos de la cruz
Vayan delante de mi’
Que le hablen y le responda
Ay dios tu ve
al que me critique a mi’
Yo tengo aguanile mai mai

Hector Lavoe – “Aguanile”

Morphed 99cents of sliced
bread into dough balls for
breakfast. Saturday morning.
Very early. No butter, no
mayo, just filled with my
daily bread. Going to the
botánica on a half empty
stomach to fill your
on sweat guised in
tears of Me. I am no air
conditioner. I’m heat and
murmur. I am this world but
you are not your island. I am
what I bring to you, sage
when you enter me, the
ding at the storefront,
and shakers. Greetings
in the language of your
grandmama’s swollen feet.
Walk into me, son.
I am her agua,
——————nile river rich.
Espiritismo disguised
in Hongosan and
Alcoholado, my people
come here by the baskets.
Your friends— they
search me with their
grandma’s and when
your abuela dies you
will search for me


Man Made Stone Without Working Ears

¿De dónde vienes?

¿Quién es su creador?

In what language are you man
————prone en la esquina de un roca?

————Statuesque, made of lime.
A man in man’s importance
————chiseled into a forever.

————Forgive me for the disrespect,
my face is not clean enough
————————————for your viewing

————/ though this gallery is public /

I cannot read Latin nonetheless I kneel
————to peruse an alphabet beneath your feet:

Here is a man who did good and we loved him. Be him.

Those are many of my wishes as I am but a man
————————————talking to a statue
————————who listens to me
————without working eardrums.

Does he wish there were words
————scored into my body
———so he could understand me?


Gamines in the Street

Vulnerable boy
——a picture photo
——graphed / the touch
——of cotton the stretch
——of nylon the scratch
——of wool / unknown
——potential malnourishing
——youth bones / asphyxiated
——by skin thin / built
——against them
——selves / tightly
——wrapped organs are
——named after
——people sharing
——in his hopelessness / shit
——and assorted plastics
——used as overalls
——to feel dirt between
——his toes to
——remind him to
——keep close to the ground
——so I can
——as I can
——stare at the hunger
howling from his eyes.


The Dancer

Make her spin with your
scratches. Continue

to hit congas at the front of
the entrance at El Coqui.

Say nightshade in her hands,
say she can provide me no aid.

In Jersey, Nueva York, Puerto
Rico— this dancer floods cities

in the threnody of her hips.
Her movements in circles

on hands and knees, men
growing and toppling

 like banana trees. We don’t dare
be caught in  her eye.

To be hostage to her juracán
sweeping fear in every man’s heart.

Let her continue to cut the air
of this dancefloor with her hips

in a whirlwind of sex
that will leave this club ravaged.

Dimitri Reyes is a Puerto-Vegan poet, educator, organizer, and YouTuber from Newark, New Jersey. He is the recipient of the SLICE Magazine’s 2017 Bridging the Gap Award for Emerging Poets and a finalist for the 2017 Arcturus Poetry Prize by the Chicago Review of Books. Dimitri received his MFA from Rutgers University- Newark and his poetry is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, Entropy, Obsidian, Acentos, Anomaly, Kweli, and others.