By Denice Frohman

Puerto: port, from Latin “porta,” meaning “gate, door”;
Utopia: Modern Latin meaning “nowhere”

the coquís don’t sing anymore / they click / mosquitoes turned drones / metropolis of
crypto-bro / tax-deductible greed / a door opens / an island drowns / a playground
emerges / a boy / his toy / / depending on the faith / the most dangerous part of a
wealthy man is his index finger / what he points to / who he lands on / a civilization
disposable income / pirate in cargo shorts / New World / Old Order / / meanwhile / we
diaspora / separated by sea / peel plátanos & cut them / on the same angle our mothers
taught us to clap / when the plane lands on either shore / now / the beaches are gated &
no one knows the names of the dead / now / investors clean their beaks in the river &
this is how a man becomes a flood / / landlord of nothing / king of no good sky / watch
paradise / misbehave / watch the night pearl / into a necklace of fists watch this / El
Yunque / a real god machine / unhinge her jaw / & swallow the flock / ¿where are the
Puerto Ricans? / cuchifrito ghost town / battery-operated citizenship / an island is not a
tarmac / a disaster is not a destination—


*Selected for the 2021 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival*
*Selected for the 2021 Film and Video Poetry Symposium*

Directed by Matthew Thompson.

"Puertopia" by Denice Frohman. Originally published online in Kweli Journal and in print in the anthology What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press). Reproduced with permission of the author.