Diasporican Interview feat. Manuel Fernández Juncos, Rafael Hernández, & Don Omar

by Malcolm Friend

What is your homeland?
            A graveyard that will not swallow my bones.
            The flesh and tissue refusing to dissolve around them.
            The ocean’s swelling thirst.
What is your homeland?
            This tightness in my pulse.
            A nation crowding my chest.
            Throat closing around my cries
            of patria.
What is your homeland?
            I suppose I have no room left for anthems.
            ¿Qué carajo even is an anthem with no nations to claim?
            There are no context clues anymore.
            I scream Borinquen but can’t decide if it’s in rebellion,
            agony, or pride. They all sound the same to me these days.
What is your homeland?
            This music I’m not supposed to have,
            how I carry it the only way I know how:
            burying it so deep in my flesh
            I mistake its tremor for my heartbeat.

Malcolm Friend is a poet originally from the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. He received his BA from Vanderbilt University and his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of the chapbook mxd kd mixtape (Glass Poetry, 2017) and the full-length collection Our Bruises Kept Singing Purple (Inlandia Books, 2018), selected by Cynthia Arrieu-King as winner of the 2017 Hillary Gravendyk Prize. Together with JR Mahung, he is a member of Black Plantains, an Afrocaribbean poetry collective.