Poems by Éric Morales-Franceschini

June 2022

Prospective Titles for a Puerto Rican Syllabus

—for Yarimar Bonilla and Marisol LeBrón

Puerto Rico as Beheaded Saint of Astonishment

Puerto Rico as New World Apocrypha

Puerto Rico as Plebiscite on Accursed Indemnities

Puerto Rico as Namesake to an Artifactual Piracy

Puerto Rico as Bootstraps Tethered to a Sunken Chiringa

Puerto Rico as Sanctuary to Unexploded Ordnance

Puerto Rico as Psalms Spoken in the Tongues of Fictitious Capital

Puerto Rico as Me Quito o No Me Quito

Puerto Rico as Black Flag Emptied of Peculiar Majesties

Puerto Rico as Our Lady of Perpetual Syndromes

Puerto Rico as #Renuncia

Puerto Rico as Patois Cupidity for a People’s Assembly

Puerto Rico as Bioluminescent Theses for a Livable Future



Sycorax: an inquiry

—for Michelle Cliff

is a sinking raft  still a raft  this world  a wordless stone  or is it  orphic riot  & anthem bewitched
cold waters  & wounded innocence   and does grito mean cry  as in sins immaculate  &
blameless façade   or is an isle  just an isle  moon eclipsed  zombies on the prowl  no speech
only noise  sinister noise   but then how do you spell  liturgy of a lost tribe  ceremony of a
contagious melancholia   and i, a breeder  am dark devil  & tamed bruja  am boundless vendetta
& chora marooned   and so what shall i cry  if not thunderous rain  stagnant pond  twisted root
blinded night  i see thee everywhere!



Don Pedro’s Prayer*

ask the stone

what it was like

to be the cell

then ask the cell

who it loved

or why

it bothered

with love

when so many





[*] Pedro Albizu Campos (1891–1965) was imprisoned twenty-six years for his Puerto Rico Libre advocacy. He left prison in a body wrought by radiation-induced lesions and sickness. His FBI dossier numbered more than twenty thousand pages.



Born in Puerto Rico and raised in southern Florida, Éric Morales-Franceschini is a former day laborer, US Army veteran, and community college grad who now holds a PhD from University of California, Berkeley and is assistant professor of English and Latin American studies at the University of Georgia. He is author of the chapbook Autopsy of a Fall (Newfound, 2021), winner of the 2020 Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and of the scholarly book The Epic of Cuba Libre: The Mambí, Mythopoetics, and Liberation (University of Virginia Press, 2022). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in Global South Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Moko Magazine, Acentos Review, Kweli, Witness Magazine, the Boston Review, Small Axe, and elsewhere.