Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Gringo’s First Christmas AFTER Puerto Rico…

I wrote this after leaving Puerto Rico for Colorado in 1997.  When Christmastime got close, a couple of friends in Puerto Rico sent messages asking if I was going to write another poem for Christmas.  What could I say?  Of course I was!  Below is the result.
I've enjoyed sharing these with  you.  They bring back good memories for me and many others who were there at the time.

Merry Christmas to all.  Feliz Navidad a todos.

(For all my friends in Puerto Rico and dedicated to
Ruben Cuadrado, who introduced me to Parranda
and left this Earth too soon.)
It's the night before Christmas and I'm feeling sad -
I'm here in Colorado and the weather is bad.
Outside it's snowing and my body feels old
(just something that happens when the weather gets cold).
I wish I was in Puerto Rico again.....
lying on the beach in the sun.
Christmas this year just won't be the same.
It costs twenty-one dollars for Bacardi rum!
I'll be eating turkey with stuffing again -
not lechón, arroz con gandules and rum.
They don't even know what "parranda" means,
and no one knows how to make rice and beans!!
American Christmas music is good,
but you can't dance merengue to "Joy to the World".
And I brought a jar of cañita along....
but after the first snow, it was soon gone.

It's beautiful here with the lights on the snow.....
But it's too damn cold -  I've got to go.
My tan disappeared in about a week,
and people tell me I look kind of sick.
I need to get back to the island again -
to the cocos, coquis, ocean and sun.

My new job is good and I'm doing well,
but I hate the weather - it's cold as hell.
I just can't adjust to the climate change.
The people here love it - but they're all deranged!
They tell me to go out and play in the snow!
But I smile politely and say "Hell no!"
I spend time under the sunlamp each night,
trying to get my tan back just right.

So on this Christmas eve, I'm thinking of sun,
of parranda, lechón, merengue and rum.
Someday I'll return to the island I miss....
but for now - I guess I'll spend Christmas like this.

G. Clark

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