Juan Ponce De Leon (1474-1521) delivers a eulogy for Rane Arroyo (1954-2010).
EULOGY FOR RANE ARROYO Puertorriqueno, I thought you pale from a lilywhite liver, a word jester bent over the continent of a desk with a feather and inkwell while I strode burning under the sun with sword and helmet across an ellipsis of islands conquered for the crown and my own renown. I don't find you here in Hell with my conquistadores and me. Are you a disbeliever so you can't go anywhere, or have you joked your way into Heaven by reading San Pedro his tarot cards? Which one trumped him--the El Diablo card with the twenty-dollar bills paper-clipped to it, or the judgment card offering a career change as a literary agent? All I know is I am in the heat and you're not in the kitchen. Hermano, we each have a home on La Isla, my grand city of Ponce to the west of the moon, your small city of Arroyo to the east of the sun, a sugar cane corozon, eye, and coqui cola between us. And who got recognition for a life lived? My legacy is a statue among the dead, yours a stature among the living. And while my skeletal conquistadores hire out for The Day of the Dead your writer friends sing in the dawn after nights of poems and wine, a CD by Ricky Martin moving hips for the living. I tell you hombre, I hid my heart behind my beard but you wore yours on your sleeve, slamming in bars for attention and an introduction to new life. I barred my windows to hide all I took and hoarded the silver and gold that became my final friends; you opened your door to the mariposas and parrots who filled your life with all the colors of the rainbow. Now my stone heart slowly approaches entropy, time falling away a like page torn from a history book: I have no facebook page, no social network, nada. But for you they gather, read your poems, cry, laugh, make a book in your memory so you will never die. Nino, I think your heart was too big for this world. Had I taken it, transplanted it into my chest of gold, it would have made a brave new world of you in me.
Kent State University
United States of America