Poesía en acción | “Summer solstice / Noche de San Juan” by Nicole Cecilia Delgado and Translator Urayoán Noel
“A big part of Delgado’s work, as both a poet and publisher, is about imagining alternative ways of living: ecologies and economies of poetry rooted in the interpersonal, the collaborative, the open-ended, and the non-hierarchical. Her vision has become really powerful to me as I seek to understand the terms of our survival as Puerto Ricans under neoliberal austerity and neocolonial extractivism. I am especially interested in how Delgado’s work embodies space through a fraught vernacular poetics that complicates male-centered genealogies of Boricua poetry.
[The title“Noche de San Juan”] refers to the celebration of Saint John’s Eve on June 23rd (right around the summer solstice). In Puerto Rico, we popularly celebrate it by falling backward into the ocean three times. This ritual (at once playful and purifying, like Delgado’s poetry) is evoked for me by the short sequences of the poem, many of which are three lines long. I chose to leave the term in Spanish given its untranslatability but also because it can be easily googled. Additionally, I wanted to retain another possible meaning embedded in the term: “Noche de San Juan” as in San Juan (at) night. This other meaning opens up the poem into a dissonant nocturne, finding beauty amid the urban noir of a ravaged yet rebellious city.”
-Urayoán Noel, Translator Micro-Interview Series
Pick ONE of these assignment options and answer in the comment section below.
Use Delgado’s structure to write an hour by hour short-verse-remix-poem to reflect on the issues faced by Puerto Rican and Latina women. To write this poem use Delgado’s take, our class discussions, and your own personal and intellectual observations.
What reflections do you identify in Nicole Delgado’s poem about the current socio-political-cultural state of Puerto Rico? Pay special attention to these verses below:
“Summer Solstice/Noche de San Juan”
This is how the hours slip us by:
If I’ve been too political or not political enough we’ll never know.
Time is compressing and the sea is expanding.
Poetry is quiet lately.
I barely miss my old loves anymore.
Buildings are also disappearing.
I placed candles
on an altar full of rocks I found
and though they have no higher powers I feel protected.
One must protect oneself when an island goes under.
My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting.
They close down schools yet sea turtles are nesting.
A week ago god’s hate took over the media.
There were concerts and funerals.
People dressed as angels built a fence
to protect the dead from god’s hate.
To work without pay. To work without pay. To work without pay.
How many friends left the country today? I ask,
watching the hazy insecticide sunset over a beachfront city.
You make the rice and I’ll do the dishes.
Gender is an imposed order and we don’t follow orders.
Hear the machine guns singing nearby.
Poetry died but we’re alive.
Puerto Rico died. Get me drunk.
34 thoughts on “Asynchronous Assignment on Noche de San Juan by Nicole Delgado”
In Summer Solstice Delgado says, “They close down schools yet sea turtles are nesting.” A lot of Puerto Ricans have been in a sense forced off the archipelago due to worsening living conditions. A lot of times they come to America to seek a better life but then they come to the harsh reality that maybe living here isn’t any better than living in Puerto Rico. I also feel like the line “A week ago god’s hate took over the media.” Points to how a lot of what we see in the media is propaganda. When Maria hit Puerto Rico, we never really got to see how it affected the archipelago and instead were urged to send help. However, shouldn’t it have been the responsibility of the American government to help Puerto Rico as they are a commonwealth and thus under our care so to speak? I also feel like the line “Gender is an imposed order and we don’t follow orders.” Connects to the documentary “Aftershocks of Disaster” when they talk about how a lot of Puerto Ricans who don’t follow traditions constructs of gender suffer in Puerto Rico and how they are consistently having to fight for their rights. I believe that through poems like Summer Solstice poets can really push readers into discussions about socio-economic-politic topics such as some of the ones I’ve mentioned above.
In Nicole Delgado’s Summer Solstice, one of the first lines that stood out to me was the 9 AM line, where she says, “I placed candles…One must protect oneself when an island goes under.” Reflecting on the current socio-political-cultural state of Puerto Rico, I interpreted this line as feeling alone, yet maintaining hope that everything will be okay. In that line, Delgado is aware that the candles do not have any special powers, but she feels protected at least even though she is alone. However, the line at 12 AM was interesting because it was the opposite of what she said at 9 AM. With all the problems that Puerto Rico is going through, Delgado realizes that there is no future for Puerto Rico and just wants to get drunk to forget about the problems going on around her. The line at 3 PM was also interesting because Delgado repeats the same sentence, showing her frustration at how things are being handled in Puerto Rico. The United States was not there to provide adequate help to one of their territories, forcing people to take matters into their own hands. In the documentary “Aftershocks of Disaster,” we saw how people worked hard to help those affected the most by Hurricane Maria. With the island’s current condition, many of these people are probably working without pay and most likely share the same frustration as Delgado’s line at 3 PM.
My pen flows at midnight because tight living spaces darkened by full moons keep me awake to remind me that tomorrow is today. This paper is an end and a beginning.
Technology invites me to hang in VIP sections with global communities. The Puerto Rican table is unwelcoming and unapproachable, I disengage.
Disowned and disregarded, my Puerto Rican sisters are disgusted by my birthplace. I am disposed of and called a gringa.
The girls from table 2 jump me in my dreams and bright red lipstick leaks onto concrete floors from the strike of my sharpened spear. Latinas in the USA must always prove that they too are of Taino bloodlines.
My body sleeps but my mind continues tirelessly. We miss things when we blink. The fog from rooftop exhausts disguise themselves as fluffy, happy, little clouds creeping in our windows. Poison infiltrates our spaces and colonizes our lungs to bow at the white shoes of pharmaceutical masters.
A Troubled mind lingers between the real and unreal of its inner consciousness. Blackened eyes peek open to witness the eternal love affair between the moon and the sun. I hear them kiss each other in passing as they switch shifts in natural synergy.
The sunrise sends bright orange rays through my window and 7 flores de Maga bloom from my 7-foot cacti. Somewhere far off in central park a toad mimics the song of the Coqui. East Harlem residents laugh at its fake attempts.
At 7:11 I burn palo santo and stuff, as Café Bustelo from El Barrio runs milky sweet through my veins.
I am both tired and invigorated because this male dominated city does that. I can no longer see the sun and trees or water. And soon the clouds will disappear too, blocked by the skyscraping towers erected to prove whose is bigger and harder. I shut my windows and lower my binds.
My friends have all posted their miseries associated with big city living. Secretly wondering what it’s like to live in Puerto Rico, we ignorantly think of warm weather, ocean coasts, and pina coladas.
We work hard for the things that should be rightfully ours and we compromise our integrity while courteously giving away our gifts like our ancestors before us.
We pay taxes for extortion.
Crowds rush past each other masked and nonsmiling, or are they? We don’t know anymore. Once, unified as New Yorkers, now, divided as concealed strangers. No one says bless you anymore.
I order arroz con gandules, chicharrones de pollo y tostones from Café Nunez because I didn’t pay attention cuando mami estaba cocinando.
I cry over the unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards of the ladies in la novelas. Damas de la isla del Encanto, pero ninguna se parece a mí, so who am I?
Bags heavier than 50-pound maletas weigh down glittered eyelids.
The pen and paper meet as Bobby Capo sings about my “Piel Canela”.
In her own way, Nicole Delgado is trying to claim at how the stuff of creativity, of good nature, a non-corrupt form otherwise known as poetry is slowly dying, in favor of a country that thrives in its corruption and greed. She would say stuff like “Poetry is quiet lately” at 6 A.M, or “Poetry is dead, but we are alive” at 11 P.M. Why is the decline of poetry a thing in Puerto Rico, though? There are reasons, like in 3 P.M, with the line “To work without pay. To work without pay. To work without pay” signaling that no matter how much their people work, they don’t seem to be making enough to survive, probably receiving fewer paychecks due to discrimination or their position in the workplace. As a consequence, things start to vanish from Puerto Rico, like at 8 A.M “I barely miss my old loves anymore. Buildings are also disappearing.” And some leave for a better future such as stated in 10 A.M “My friends leave for the United States, yet sea turtles are nesting.”. It affects essential locations, like in 11 A.M where she also states that “They close down schools, yet sea turtles are nesting.”. So many people start leaving that she even questions this in 6 P.M by saying “How many friends left the country today? I ask, watching the hazy insecticide sunset over a beachfront city.”.
Now, in all her grief, she only finds comfort in one thing, stated in 9 A.M: “I placed candles on an altar full of rocks I found and though they have no higher powers I feel protected. One must protect oneself when an island goes under.” She talks about what has replaced poetry at 9 P.M with “Hear the machine guns singing nearby” signaling about the infighting and revolutions taking place within the country. She ends with a sense of indifference and maybe acceptance of the circumstances by saying in the last hour 12 A.M “Puerto Rico Died. Get me drunk.”
Your analysis is on point. Some points to expand: Gun violence is a big issue in Puerto Rico just like in the US, the line about the machine guns probably is reflecting on this problem. Although Puerto Rico saw a recent revolt to call it a revolution perhaps is too far-fetched because a revolution implies a complete change of the political and social order, something that has not happened yet in Puerto Rico
In Nicole Delgado’s poem entitled “Noche de San Juan”, there are illustrated many aspects of the current socio-political-cultural state of Puerto Rico:
“8 AM / I barely miss my old loves anymore. / Buildings are also disappearing.” Here, Delgado refers to Puerto Rico not following the patterns of modern societies. Modern societies have buildings and skyscrapers. So, Puerto Rico is going backward.
“10 AM / My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting. / 11 AM / They close down schools yet sea turtles are nesting.” In these lines, Delgado claims many Puerto Ricans and important institutions, like schools, are giving up on Puerto Rico. Yes, Puerto Rican culture is expanding internationally but what about the culture inside the island? If so many people are leaving, then who will keep lo criollo alive?
“8 PM / You make the rice and I’ll do the dishes. / Gender is an imposed order and we don’t follow orders.” Here, Nicole Delgado is defying the gender roles taught by society. The woman is supposed to do all the domestic work; she is not supposed to assign any housework to her husband. In Latino culture, gender rules are even more strict. A Latina woman that does not take her responsibilities as a wife and mother is seen as a waste for society. There is a significant number of Latinos still thinking that women are destined to serve men, and that is it! With the quote above, we can see Delgado doesn’t think that way. I’m sure many other Latinos think like Delgado.
Interesting analysis especially your suggestion of the collapse of the modernization of Puerto Rico. One thing to clarify is that in Puerto Rico there are many buildings. The issue the poet is referring to is the economic downfall (similar to what is happening currently with COVID in many US cities). Many businesses are closing. The government has decided also to shut down schools because of extreme budget cuts (austerity measures) and the displacement of Puerto Ricans to the US.
In the poem “Summer Solstice/Noche de San Juan”, the poems takes me on her long day routine. The beginning of the poem starts at 1am. Where Delgado seem sot be daydreaming due to lack of sleep on the consequences the lack of political support Puerto Rico had. How her thoughts of wonder if she perhaps didn’t fight enough politically for Puerto Rico, or even if she had been involved would it have changed the situation of which she is currently in. That same morning, she see all the changes Puerto Rico had to endure and yet nature still continues to take its course. How while many of her friends leave to the United States, sea turtles continue to nest on the beach. The turtles creating their home in a place where it seems to be so destroyed, they continue to stay while her friends still decide to leave. Delgado later refers the residents of Puerto Rico as angels for reconstructing the city. All the hard work with no pay. By the end of the night, she explains how her responsibilities as a woman is still expected. That going home and cooking is still expected. It feels as if Puerto Rico and poetry has died however she is alive enough to feel and see it. Perhaps in a drunk state where everything is blurred.
In Nicole Delgado’s poem Summer Solstice/ Noche de San Juan, there was one line that particularly stood out to me, which is “My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting.” This part made me think of the documentary “Aftershocks of Disaster” when the hurricane struck in Puerto Rico. Many people moved to The United States of America to seek opportunities. Some people weren’t able to escape from the destruction that the hurricane left. But I feel like in general, many people move away from Puerto Rico because of the conditions. Despite the conditions, there are still people who are trying to survive. When the author mentions, “One must protect oneself when an island goes under” despite the conditions, people still have hope. Life has to keep going despite the conditions. The line at 3 pm ” To work without pay. To work without pay. To work without pay”, people had a hard time surviving because the owners did not pay them. People seem to work hard, but they didn’t earn enough to survive. This is the reason why would some “friends” moved to The United States because not a lot of money was being made. Almost every day someone would move away from Puerto Rico. They have the hope that America would give them new opportunities. She describes it as “ Puerto Rico died”. This clearly demonstrates that due to the circumstances that people face eventually there was a loss of hope.
After reading the poem “Summer Solstice/Noche de San Juan,” I was moved by the pain and reality that Nichole Delgado expressed her emotions to the public. One of the lines I had read was very deep to me “8AM / I barely miss my old loves anymore. / Buildings are also disappearing.” Here, Delgado refers to Puerto Rico not following modern societies’ patterns by facing 0multiple tragedies. What she meant by that is Puerto Rico is falling apart and losing a lot of loved ones. Another line from the poem “3PM To work without pay. To work without pay. To work without pay.” / “12AM Puerto Rico died. Get me drunk.” In those lines, Delgado claims that Puerto Rico has died of begging for God’s mercy. This devastating poem is clearly obvious that eventually, there was a loss of hope due to people’s circumstances. Everyone’s question of the day is, “when will this nightmare end?” It died, but it causes a blur from the ongoing chaos in Puerto Rico. It is very devastating that so many individuals move out of Puerto Rico. Then move to the United States of America to live a better life and future on. Sometimes life can be ugly and can turn into something beautiful.
If to be radical is bad doing nothing is just as bad we’ll never know.
Time and space are distorted the oceans are rising.
A couple of nights ago and a family of women
Dancing under the moonlight
The Ancestors give praise and protect their family
A week ago there were explosions
A blaze of fire under nightfall
A week ago a man has ended his life in dissent of his country.
Two nights ago I committed to change the anger I hold will dissipate.
A few hours ago the crickets the crickets start to sing.
For I have left three years ago and found company with the unknown.
I’ve grown hesitant to accept them no more holding back.
Day by day a friendship has commenced.
It has stopped lately.
The labor of my work lands on deaf ears.
Time is almost up, we can see it globally.
Arid and inhospitable our earth becomes.
I know nothing of those I’ve lost
Numbness takes over and nothing is here.
I place my hand together
On top of the island I pray to universe.
Will an answer or protection be given we’ll never know
The earth is gone.
Life has ceased.
Let us realize our mistakes and change for everyone.
In the poem “Noche de San Juan”, Nicole Cecilia Delgado refers to the current socio-political-cultural state of Puerto Rico. It reflects the hardships of life in Puerto Rico and how the Puerto Rican people are basically forced to move out to seek opportunities and leave behind what they have known their entire lives. A line that stood out to me was from 1AM “If I’ve been too political or not political enough we’ll never know. Time is compressing and the sea is expanding”. To me this represents how the people of Puerto Rico are outspoken about the issues they face but are often overlooked. Life continues and time is slowing down for many but the issues still remain and for others it duplicates. From 10 AM “My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting” 11Am “They close down schools yet sea turtles are nesting”. This illustrates people moving to the United States looking for better opportunities and while many are doing this in hopes for something better lives continue to expand and babies are being born into what adults are moving away from. The same goes for the second line, schools are being shut down but the population continues to expand and children are in need of education and which is not being given to them.
When reading the poem, “Summer Solstice/Noche en San Juan” a lot of the lines stood out to me. Many of them spoke about things happening in Puerto Rico, one of the lines I saw was speaking about “god’s hate”. When I heard gods hate immediately thought of all the hurricanes and disasters that have been happening in Puerto Rico. I thought of this because when there are hurricanes or any other natural disaster people who are religious always compare it to gods hate. It is a way to explain the destruction happening. In the poem it stated, “A week ago god’s hate took over the media.There were concerts and funerals.People dressed as angels built a fence to protect the dead from god’s hate.” This basically talks about the media and how all the chaos in Puerto Rico is being seen by the world but little help is sent to them, the government that the colonized island chooses to ignore the chaos. Another quote from the poem that stood out to me was when mentioning gender roles. The poem states, “You make the rice and I’ll do the dishes. Gender is an imposed order and we don’t follow orders.” This essentially means that gender roles are a human construct and is something that should not be followed, that’s why rules are always broken.
In Nicole Delgado’s poem Summer Solstice/ Noche de San Juan, Delgado refers to the current socio-political-cultural state of Puerto Rico. She helps under the state of Puerto Rico through her poetry. One example of this is in the lines “They close down schools yet sea turtles are nesting.” And “My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting.” These especially help to explain how institutions and the quality of life is in Puerto Rico, schools keep closing and people keep living which in turn makes me think that institutions are not properly funded and that living conditions are bad which in turn is why people are leaving the island. Another example would be “To work without pay. To work without pay. To work without pay” which makes me think that while they may get paid it doesn’t add up to a living wage which can connect to when she also says “I barely miss my old loves anymore. Buildings are also disappearing.” Which in turn makes me think that business owners don’t make enough money to support their businesses so they have to ultimately close or due to the natural disaster recently Puerto Rico has lost some of its infrastructure. This poem may not be the most detailed but it still helps to describe and paint a picture for us of life in Puerto Rico.
In Nicole Delgado’s poem “Summer Solstice”, a somber tone is distinct that can be identified as referring to Puerto Rico and the climate at the time. How people felt living in Puerto Rico, especially the narrator, is clear to the reader as lines like “My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting” demonstrate how many residents of the nation fled. This can be referring to the economic state of the country as Puerto Rico is still suffering from the harm Hurricane Maria and the lack of aid caused. This is continued as one line states “to work without pay” and then reflecting on the foreign products brought to the country “the sun sets every day behind cargo ships full of Chinese merchandise”. The political state of Puerto Rico is also seen in Delgado’s poem as protests against the government and the country are described. This can be in response to many different parts of Puerto Rico’s history whether that is the control the United States has over the nation, yet refuses to properly fund and represent the nation as well as provide aid. This sentiment can be seen in this line “A week ago a man killed himself in defiance defense of his country.” The poem also has a small sense of hope as the dire political, social and economical situation in the country many look for hope to continue, the author does this by placing candles to feel protected.
In Summer Solstice/Noche de San Juan, it reflects on the hardships of Puerto Ricans. This poem is really important for the fact that Nicole Delgado states of what happened to Puerto Rico and how it impacted Puerto Ricans. Many lines from this poem hit home. “9pm/ To work without pay, to work without pay, to work without pay”, stood out to me because people are risking themselves to have the opportunity to feed their families and not getting enough to provide for their own. Delgado reflects on more about the destruction of Puerto Rico and how people fled from the nation. She reflects on the disasters of the hurricanes and destruction of what Puerto Rico been through and what the people been through as well. Also, where there as been little help to them to help them out. The line that stood out to me was “12am/ Puerto Rico is dead. Get me drunk”. It stood to me because people lost all hope for Puerto Rico and what the people have suffered over the years. People fled to find a better life in the United States, where people homes have been destroyed because of hurricanes, there has been destruction and barely any help to recover, so it’s like why have hope? In a way, this poem is for people to see that people are losing hope when hope can be given to find a way that Puerto Rico isn’t “dead”. This poem makes you realize more of what is happening around us and how people lives are when living in Puerto Rico, there is an image when it comes to reading this poem.
In the poem “Summer Solstice/Noche de San Juan”, when she mentioned that “If I’ve been too political or not political enough, we’ll never know. Time is compressing and the sea is expanding.” This sentence comes straight to the point, which Expresses Puerto Rican attitudes toward politics. It is not just the sea that is expanding. Their hopes are also expanding. At nine o ‘clock and ten o ‘clock, Delgado may be expressing her misgivings because she wants to inspire as much as she can in the early morning, but at the same time, she expresses her loneliness. Then she wrote: “There’s no way to imagine ourselves without the forest that swallows everything when no one is looking.” It is like another lifestyle in comparison with other countries. Her tone was tinged with irony. And then at 3 pm, she writes, “work without pay.” Delgado expressed concern about Puerto Rico’s economy. As a result of the economic crisis, Puerto Ricans have moved from the island to the United States, mainly in Florida and New York, losing a vast number of their population. Combining a rapidly losing workforce and an economic model highly dependent on the US mainland makes a recovery in Puerto Rico look a long way off. However, Delgado satirizes the current situation in Puerto Rico in many ways. The colonialism of the United States brought significant losses to Puerto Rico. In a result, I think it is like the case with many of the world’s central states and “unincorporated territories”: if the “unincorporated territories” are rich, then the call for independence rises; If “unincorporated territory” is difficult, it calls for the embrace of the main body of the state.
Reflections that I identify In Nicole Delgado’s poem are Puerto Rico’s ruins, poor governance neglect, and environmental catastrophes. Puerto Rico was not prepared for Hurricane Maria due to FEMAS capacity reach when hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Buildings were hit hard, damaged, and vandalized from the aftermath…” buildings are also disappearing”. The author also speaks on what makes Puerto Rican’s culture and tradition different “ I placed candles on an altar full of rocks I found and though they have no higher powers I feel protected. On must protect oneself when an island goes under” This explains the strong belief and hopes of reconstructing the land of Puerto Rican’s for the better by placing their faith and trust in their beliefs. Lack of employment, debts crippling institutions and schools caused many residents to flee after Hurricane Maria…” My friends leave for the United States…School close down…To work without pay, to work without pay”. In addition, social politics have changed as time progressed with gender roles. Traditionally women in Puerto Rico were only viewed as domestic workers who were to serve their husbands. Today women’s roles have become more equal although people continue to force order on gender roles. “You make the rice and I’ll do the dishes. Gender role is an imposed order and we don’t follow orders”.
It is night and my thought keep spinning in my head like everything else in this world and space spins
Everything makes me feel a sort of emptiness as i feel the world “crumbling” around me
What separates right from wrong, sacrifice from certain crime
Maybe they are indeed the same or there is a slight veil that separates them both
Myself not feeling like myself anymore
my body is a rented out space leaving in it temporarily
A loss for words
As time moves on
I feel being stuck on the same place
The sense of emptiness does not make space for more love
It just makes everything indeed more empty
Starting to look for meaning in empty things
Puzzles of the past to create a sense of reality
A move far away to a new space might makes sense
But whats to say the cycle does not repeat
Life still does go on though, but the pain still stays there
12 pm – 5 pm
Life just goes on indeed, but still nothing seems to make space
Nothing seems to fill that emptiness
6 pm – 10 pm
The night forthcoming leaves space for something dark and sweet
Is love indeed the answer
No, maybe not, just a moment to fill the emptiness
but it quickly vanishes again into nothingness
The cycle starts again, and again, and again
The emotions that Nicole Delgado evokes through her poetry help me understand how Puerto Rico is home to many people, but may not give its people that sense of security that a home is suppose to give you. I paid attention to when she wrote about time being compressed, which help me realized that the socio-political-cultural state in Puerto Rico is in Professor Robles’ words in limbo. There’s no clear time-frame where the people who inhabit this archipelago can say help is coming, because of the political neglect from the colonizer known as the United States. All they can do is lean on their own cultural beliefs and faiths, and continue to light candles hoping that their country will see prosperous times again. I think its so important to mention the fall of buildings because it symbolizes displacement, where people are forced from their homes and sometimes even go to America for a better future not knowing that even this so-called great country has its own obstacles for latinos. Socially, Puerto Rican women feel as if they are inferior to men. Delgado won’t submit to these norms, and she won’t be held back a social stigma that demeans Latina women. This speaks to the power of poetry, because it can speak to the plights that Latinas face in one stanza and in the following can empower women to overcome these obstacles. “We don’t follow orders,” sounds like a war cry for the woman who wants to see light return to her country, and according to Nicole Delgado her writing will continue to serve as a “candle” for those willing to oppose the social and political challenges of Puerto Rico.
In the poem Summer Solstice, the author explores and shows how socioeconomic issues are mirrored on the Puerto Rican people and the country overall. When it comes to the poem analysis, Nichole Cecilia Delgado decides to describe her feelings in short paragraphs which shows the author’s full emotional escalation. By the simple writing, Cecilia represents emotions and way of thinking of a typical Puerto Rican person who was born an and raise in this homeland, a person, who likes to work and enjoy his life but unfortunately not able to do it fully due to the political conflicts which are constantly happening in his homeland. In the lines:
“A week ago god’s hate took over the media.
There were concerts and funerals.
People dressed as angels built a fence
to protect the dead from god’s hate”.
It is easy to see how people with fear in their eyes are watching how their place with beautiful nature and culture is slowly getting destroyed.
“How many friends left the country today?
I ask, watching the hazy insecticide sunset over a beachfront city”.
Besides conflicts and wars, another aspect that brings a bitter taste that there are many foreign cultural things are coming to the country and erase the initial beauty of Puerto Rican culture. In this poem, people are represented as ones who are viewing the destruction of country and culture which brings the deepest sadness of the changes and things which are not going to be the same. Political changes in the country go a different influence over the people some of the people decided to lease their homeland and try to build their lives in a different place and eliminate themselves from painful opportunity to see how their country is getting change and destroyed those who decide to stay in a disturb situation became a part of the change. In the end, we can see the most powerful lines:
“Poetry died but we’re alive.
Puerto Rico died. Get me drunk”.
Which is represent a very unique and deep Puerto Rican nation a people with a very huge culture and deep big patriotic hearts which is got broken because of all the all conflicts and as a consequence of that pain people prefer to just get lost and not to see in what the country got turned.
In Nicole Delgado’s poem of the Summer Solstice, the line at 2pm “A week ago god’s hate took over the media” really pointed out to me how the media portrays global issues as propaganda especially in times like now politically. Puerto Rico is still suffering and recovering damage from Hurricane Maria so this poem was a run through of one’s thoughts in their mind living through it. The lines at 10am and 11am with ,friends leaving and schools closing yet sea turtles are nesting, tell me about people giving up on their country due to the conditions and lost destruction with no help from the government. Puerto Ricans go to the United States for better opportunities for themselves and their families, but if everyone leaves the support of people and strength of the culture decreases when these are times to be together and fight. The people of PR feel failed and abandoned from everything the government took away and kept from them it is a terrible state to give to such a beautiful empowering country. By the end at 11pm her line “Poetry died but we’re alive” with at 12am “Puerto Rico died. Get me drunk” shows yes terrible events occurred but they are still standing there living through it as if they are saying “the country is in a crisis, but it is what it is let us drink our sorrows away, what else can we do?”
Nicole’s Delgado’s “ Summer in Solictse” poem explains the night of celebration for Noche de San juan. The first line that spoke to me was the first line where Delgado said “ If I’ve been too political or not political enough we’ll never know. Time is compressing and the sea is expanding.” This caught my eye because Puerto Rico is in a political state where they are trying to alert the masses on how they are being mistreated as a US Territory, how colonialism has impacted their country for the worst. Delgado’s line connects to that by bringing up that sense of doubt when it comes to speaking up and protesting like “am i talking too much” or do i have to say more so people can listen. This idea of speaking too much when protesting is common and was talked about in the documentary that was assigned for class as well. However there’s never enough speaking about adversities especially the ones Puerto Rico has gone through and still is going through. Delgado says in another line “One must protect oneself when an island goes under.” In this line, he’s pointing out the state of Puerto Rico ,in a way getting ready for its turmoil and waiting for it. They are self aware in this line, acknowledging that Puerto Rico is pushing through alot.
In the poem “Noche de San Juan”, Nicole touches on the idea of colonialism. When she said, “My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting”, she sounds like she is mocking the people who are leaving their hometown for the United States. In the poem, there is a great idea of irony to be found. For example, at 6pm, “How many friends left the country today? I ask, watching the hazy insecticide sunset over a beachfront city.” She is trying to make fun of the situation that people are leaving their own country and dropping their pride for the country that gave birth to them. At the end of the poem when she said, “ Puerto Rico died. Get me drunk”, she knows what is happening in the country, and she is sad about it but there is not much she can do.
The idea of Puerto Rico as a nation emerged during Spain’s four centuries of colonial rule. Throughout the nineteen-century, there were revolts and political efforts by Puerto Ricans to separate from Spain and obtain independence. Then in 1898, the U.S. invaded. The US did not “created” Puerto Rico but took it from Spain as a trophy of war. Since then it has benefitted (not without resistance from Puerto Ricans) from the territory using the archipelago for military practices, Puerto Ricans as an expendable workforce, and giving extreme tax exemptions to US corporations.
Although there is some irony in the poetic statements about friends leaving, as you argued, the verse is also pointing towards a generalized feeling of displacement.
12:00 AM A tiny sound makes me feel the peace of the silence who talks to me when I start to fall asleep. It Does not matter if I don’t answer it’s questions, it still speaks to me and still answers me questions.
3:00 AM I get thirsty now, maybe some dream put me into exercise. I woke up in the night looking for a cup of water. I drink it when i feel awake. Until the moment I will say that nothing will happen or will happen again.
5:00 AMRing ,Ring, Ring. It is time again, or it is almost time for the upper ring. Nightmares uncomfortability. I am still tired but I am still with my abilities. The system is getting rich, even if it scares me more. I act like an innocent child like if I don’t know.
6:00 AM Rolling on the long bus, or this is the transportation that depends on electricity for everything. One of a lot of things. Is it always the same? The same is unknown, let’s play or roll in another roll.
12:00PM Now is time for rest, and eat, finally a break that is only for you and me. If the boss says something for us it will be a small thing or think about it, it is the time for rest and eating only for you and me.
1:00 PM Almost stayed sleeping, my phone rang, I thouhg it was some one of my family calling. Nobody says hi darling. It was my alarm, letting me know that I have to go back to work.
6:00 PM Time to return to that expensive place that I seldom enjoy, Oh boy! This is the last of the world. Or better, the end of the reality a lo mejor. I am going to watch the Tv. Eat dinner. Wait until the time to sleep and then do the same things.
12:00 AM it is the time again i will say hi to my bed, and bye bye to the old day.
In Nicole Delgado poem “Summer Solstice” almost all the poem stanzas are related to either political, economic or social issues. Through news and some class discussions I have learn a lot regarding Puerto Rico situation that helped me to have a better understanding of the poem. Just by her beginning “this is how hours slip by us” I immediately thought about their social lives, those words sound like they live day by day on a schedule set by someone else. “My friends leave for the United States…” famous phrase in many south American countries by regular people due to the amount of people that migrates to United State but to hear this from Puerto Rico which is part of America is surprising and sends a message that things are not right there. The stanza to “to work without pay..’ sort of explains the reason people are leaving indicating the economic situation of the Island. Political issues always involve guns or violence she indicated “machine guns signing nearby… to point that some type of violence is happening, but nobody seems to do anything. Followed by “Puerto Rico died. Get me drunk” on my understanding all those nights she mentioned above friends leaving, work with no pay, guns and so on killed Puerto Rico that could mean it separated families, created poverty, there is political corruption and Puerto Rico is not longer that Island where those nights were only happiness and she probably mention getting drunk as a way of indicating her pain and she wants to get drunk to forget all of it.
1 A.M.- This lack of faith is revolting. We used to believe in good, now nothing.
2 A.M.- I hear birds chirping. They migrate thousands of miles but they always return where they came from. The salmon swim back up the stream they spawned in, despite hungry bears salivating. Maybe I should grow fins or wings.
3 A.M.- They want to turn us into zombies. Tear down our foundations. Create false idols. Give us new names. Brand us. Our food, dress, demeanor, sayings, and ideas. Take away what made us special. Brainwashing runs deep.
4 A.M.- Because this is what they do best isn’t it?
5. A.M.- After a few generations will your lineage even remember your tongue? All I see around me are those who sold their identity for money. Money speaks loudest of all. The best of us leave and then we aid in degrading our homeland; all for money.
6 A.M.- I am so tired of it all. The turmoil, the uncertainty. I thought we were passed this! I thought we were gonna build a better country together!
7 A.M.- The first rays of sunshine hit my skin. I wasn’t expecting it, I was staring at my work. It feels nice to be loved by someone.
8 A.M.- I remember patriotism. Not the radical form of it, but it used to feel nice to remember that you were part of something. Building something, together. That we could change something! Now we can’t even find work and the government went out to get milk and never came back.
9 A.M.- Mosquitos keep biting me. You would’ve really thought they’d have quenched their thirst by now. How is this even possible in October? The planet is getting warmer.
10 A.M.- The novelty of the sun has worn off, it’s become another nuisance really.
11 A.M.- I wonder what’s for breakfast.
Nicole Delgado is reflecting on the trauma and the oppression the people are facing. She speaks of feeling helpless in that she might voice her political opinions and yet nothing changes. Her friends are all fleeing the country to run away from disaster and gun shots are sounding on the streets. People work for little to no pay and there is extreme violence against the lgbtq+ community. This poem makes it so evident how the country around her seems to be falling apart. The people can no longer handle the dead because there are just too many and all the while she is trying to live a life. When she states “Poetry is quiet lately” it makes it so abundant clear that she has no space for such creative things. No time for leisure with so much happening around. The people are suffering in poverty and natural disasters and politics change nothing. In the end she has no hope and prefers to simply lose herself instead of facing the absolute destruction being faced. This poem holds so much commentary on the darkness in which the people are living and the poverty that has stricken the nation.
The poem: Summer Solstice/ Noche de San Juan by Nicole Delgado; is a reflection of the poor socioeconomic conditions that Puerto Rico is in. Through her use of time and nature, she connects them to her feelings of disappointment at the conditions around her. At 1am, she exemplifies the way that time is compressing like the sea expanding, later at 3am a man is said to have killed himself in defiance/defense of his country, her take on the word defiance and defense is purposely made to evoke the feeling of hopelessness. As time progresses, she describes how time goes by but the situation still stays the same, describing that there is work without pay several times to evoke how bad the situation is. Delgado grieves the loss of her friends emigrating from Puerto Rico, yet holds on to the hope that they will come back. In the line at 11am, she says, “they close down schools, yet sea turtles are nesting”, which I interpreted as a sign of hope for the future.
“Poetry is quiet lately” suggests that Delgado believes that there isn’t as much Puerto Rican poetry as there should be, and the prior verse about her level of politicism suggests that she believes that current literature in Puerto Rico should reflect people’s political views. The poem continues, mentioning disappearing buildings, referring to the changing landscape as buildings are being torn down and vacated by austerity in the country. Use of imagery of candles on rocks, nesting sea turtles, and animals wandering abandoned streets is a way of depicting the idea of the region reverting away from civilization.
In Nicole Delgado’s poem you can identify the current socio-political-cultural state of Puerto Rico as an overtake of Puerto Rican peoples culture and views of politics amongst the community. Throughout the poem you can see that the culture is dying. Poetry is quiet, buildings are disappearing, and turmoil is on the brink of coming out. She tells us how she must feel safe when the island goes under. Schools are closing and residents are moving to the United States. A sense of pride has left the people it seems like. People of Puerto Rico aren’t getting paid at all or enough which warrants them leaving to the United States. At night, time of the poem the turmoil breaks out. Machine guns nearby killing the culture and the political views of a resident. In the beginning of the poem Poetry was quiet now it is dead along with Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricaños have lost their land and culture to the devil, forcing them to leave their beautiful country behind.
In the poem “Summer Solstice/Noche de San Juan” by Nicole Delgado takes readers through her day and allows those to see her thoughts about nature, religion, her community and people in her life along with how all these things revolve around the dying country she lives in while another thrives off of it. She starts off her day at 6am and states that poetry is quiet and while this can mean many things to me this meant that a sense of community in Puerto Rico has been silent. At 8am she somewhat proves my point that Puerto Rico isn’t doing well financially because she notices that buildings are disappearing. These buildings could be housing, businesses, etc. At 9am she states “one must protect oneself when an island goes under meaning her dying country will one day no longer be able to sustain her and be able to be a home for her so she needs to probably go somewhere that could be a new home for her. At 10am, which is still very early in the day she makes an observation that that her friends are leaving for the United States, a place where Puerto Ricans are migrating to for opportunities and a better life even though the U.S. has used the state that Puerto Rico is in to take advantage of its people instead of using the wealth to help replenish. As the hours go on schools close and she struggles with money and mentions at 6pm that her friends are gone and the double reflection speaks volumes being that in this class we have discussed how the United States took advantage of the dying country and their people being that that are a majority of the population in major cities.
In “Summer Solstice” by Nicole Delgaldo, she describes the dark climate of Puerto Rico and the sadness that was felt by the citizens of the Island as many had to flee. “My friends leave for the United States yet sea turtles are nesting” demonstrates how as the year goes on and the seasons change, Puerto Rico continues to suffer from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. The United States, although having control of the Island and collecting taxes from the citizens, without representation did not do enough to help alleviate the citizens of Puerto Rico. This poem shows the suffering that was endured by the Puerto Ricens not only physically and economically, but emotionally at seeing an end the way of life of their country and the shrinking of their communities.
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