Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo: “Sway, but never fall” and “Not the same without you”


Born to Puerto Rican parents, Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo has been writing since childhood. The past twenty-eight years of her life have been spent writing poetry, short stories, research articles, blog entries, journaling and ghostwriting. Sosa-Izquierdo has contributed her work to Alexandra Roman’s Mink (Poesy 20/10), Pa’lante Latino, Letras II (an online literary publication at Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies), and Sofrito For Your Soul. She has also shared her words at various open mic events throughout NYC (including the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe) and in Long Branch, NJ. In 2011, the mother of two was blessed with the honor of sharing her work (in front of her children) at the First Annual New York Poetry Festival (NYPF) representing Capicu Poetry and Cultural Showcase.

Sway, But Never Fall

and we dug –
as far into the ground as we possibly could,
because we knew this storm was coming.

the stench of foul as it filled the air –
that pungent, bitter smell of gentrification,
hovered above street blocks
once abandoned,
now glorified…

we knew who we were before you got here.
and, no, not who you told us we were, or could ever be
but who we were before migration; before slave trades; before infested invasion
before damnation brought forth by those who resembled you.

we were forewarned,
for years before your arrival.
told to anticipate poison darts, spat.
aimed at our minds,
penetrating doe eyes and inner ear barilles
stripping us of our humanity – our spirituality – layer by layer,
creating a mass of lifeless zombies that would, eventually, eat each other alive.

but, we dug –
as far into the ground as we possibly could,
because we knew this storm was coming.
we had been warned about your deadly archery –
the one that’s responsible for marketed subliminal messages
convincing many they are not good enough, worthless.
the one that ridicules until you are robbed of your roots:
your name, your garb, your religion, your language, your way…
all confiscated, then replaced.

we are amongst the chosen,
survivors of your poisoned projects
laced in drugs, sex, liquor, abandonment, abuse, mental instability, imposed doubts and fears.
but we, the selected few, shunned your attempts
and learned to manipulate our environment so it would one day empower,
not paralyze, us.

generations united,
elders shared knowledge
aimed at open minds, susceptible to truths
neglected by textbooks and literature.
warriors shed light upon darkened souls
through griot tongue.

the minds of
teachers, parents, students, young adults, adolescents, readers, artists and writers, enlightened.
we were trained: converted into truth tellers for our people… for ourselves…

and we dug –
as far into the ground as we possibly could,
because we knew this storm was coming.
but our winds whispered in strong tones of: Ramón Emeterio Betances, Pedro Albizu Campos, Segundo Ruiz Belvis, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Lolita Lebrón providing us significance of true pride and freedom.
Rafael Hernández and Pedro Flores rode the clouds until our music poured from the sky for all to hear and never forget.
Jesus Colón named us the Nuyoricans and created an intellectual movement;
provided a home where poets, writers, musicians and artists of Puerto Rican lineage
could express their love for Puerto Rico and share their light.
Antonia Pantoja granted us permission to aspire: education, motivation, discipline and success.
We are here to shatter your expectations graduating, honorably, from colleges and universities.

we are the sons and daughters of migrants,
welcomed into the country without a passport
so long as we’d sacrifice our kings to a World War that didn’t even know we existed.
we found ourselves trapped between lands that did not fully accept us,
no matter which side of the ocean we resided.
“los de alla” were given a new name,
and continue to fight
as we dig – as far into the ground as we possible can,
because we knew this storm was coming.
we will fight for the right to maintain all that is ours, all we have built
and are confident: though you may make us sway, we will never fall.

©Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo for the poem Sway, but never fall. All rights reserved.

Not The Same Without You

There was a time when your vocal chords struck
with the bolt of skillfully plucked violins in an old school Salsa classic.
When your posture would gracefully glide,
embedding footprints, paving inspirational road maps for the lost to be found.
When security was your aura
and your energy was saturated with
purity, faith and confidence.
You were contagious!
And that contamination was potent –
radiated upon others, and reflected back onto you.
you could quench parched souls with a mere glance.
But now it is you who needs replenishing.
Month after month, year after year
you’ve converted every distant dream into reality,
only to have your every reality became a distant dream.
Reverse metamorphosis: unbound butterfly lapsed into introverted caterpillar.
Depression and anger are the moult you reclaim
Carapace shielding, comforting familiarity.
You were my best friend, my ride or die
I feel you, your light still shines deep
But you strain to release,
believing it more residue of a past gone awry
than fuel for resurrection.
This life is just not the same without you…
Let me ignite your spark,
whisper life back into your lungs
with images of yesterday
so we can once again become exhilarated through the haze.

©Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo for the poem Not the same without you. All rights reserved.

To get in contact with Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo you may visit her Facebook Page.

12 thoughts on “Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo: “Sway, but never fall” and “Not the same without you”

  1. When I was Puerto Rican,* I did not have much respect for Newyoricans . But then I had to join the exile also. As I lived and breathed the New York air and culture, I learned the truth: true Puerto Ricans were not in the island. They were abroad and had taken a new name and with it they were making history! The year was 1969.
    Today I consider myself Newyorican although I returned to the island after thirty five years in exile. And I take my hat off to you Bernice and to the new generation which have continued the task of thriving over there while not forgetting your roots.
    And to you Alex…muah!

    • Thanks, Lilly, once again for being here and joining us. I have learned that even though I live in the Island, there is much love for it from those who live abroad. Their love is deep and I respect that so much and the fact that they express it in such a wonderful, loving and powerful way, is inspiring. A kiss for you too.

      • Bernice Sosa-Izquierdo

        Thank you so much, Lilly and Alexandra. Como dice la cancion: “Aunque pase lo que pase, yo sere Puertorriquena por donde quiera que andes. Porque lo llevo en mi sangre por herencia de mis padres. Y con orgullo repito, yo te quiero Puerto Rico”<3

  2. Mia

    Snap snap snap snap.. they all go to Bernice for sharing her wonderful soul through the art of written word. She is a warrior , solid in her culture and womanhood. Gracias.

  3. Pingback: Poesý 20/10: Agradecida « Alexandra Román's Mink

Deja tu comentario, comencemos un diálogo. / Leave your comment, let´s start a conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s