Saturday Night In Viejo San Juan

By Bonafide Rojas

when you stare at
el morro at night
you’ll notice two things,
how massive night is when
there’s no lights & how many
people are looking for
an adventure in the dark

i spend time in viejo san juan
wanderlusting like a touristing local
& observe the young boriquas
looking for love
in one night stands
a moment that can
mean everything
a memory that can make life
feel worthy or destroy it

each street has music sidewinding
with switchblades dance partners
& i always look down
while i’m walking to avoiding
stepping on a accident waiting to happen

the cobble stone
is a melody of yesterday
holding on to last night
the houses are vibrant
but this is no different
than the east village
with a million bars
trying to make their rent off
a weekend of high school &
college kids wasting their money
on another saturday night
in viejo san juan

i walk into the nuyorican café
on calle san francisco
there’s no poets here,
not that i can see
but i could be wrong
it’s salsa saturday
i pick a corner
watch as women
defy gravity & men
stare in awe

i see the colors coming
from the horn section
the congas command the beat
the bassline is ocean like
the singer is channeling
the ancestors every four bars
i ask for a cuba libre
with the eight year old rum
i toast to fire of saturday nights

i leave the bar
& wander through
the narrow streets
looking for a secret
i left there ten years before
the sun is creeping
the streets are empty
i walked every street
from calle de luna
to paseo de la princesa
to calle norzagaray
i never found it though
i went back to el morro
con un cafecito y pan
the sun is running all
over the great lawn
the ocean is brilliant

& the darkness that
consumed el morro last night
will never leave the black
of my eyes.

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