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By Victor Hernández Cruz

Is the ocean really inside seashells
                     or is it all in your mind?
                                                —PICHON DE LA ONCE

Behold and soak like a sponge.   

I have discovered that the island of Puerto Rico   

is the ears of Saru-Saru, a poet reputed to have lived   

in Atlantis. On the day that the water kissed and   

embraced and filled all the holes of that giant   

missing link, this bard’s curiosity was the greatest   

for he kept swimming and listening for causes.   

He picked up rocks before they sank and blew   

wind viciously into them. Finally he blew so hard   

into a rock that he busted his ear drums; angry,   

he recited poems as he tried turning into a bird   

to fly to green Brazil. His left ear opened up   

like a canal and a rock lodged in it. Rock attracts   

rock and many rocks attached to this rock. It got   

like a rocket. His ear stayed with it in a horizontal   

position. Finally after so many generations he got   

to hear what he most wanted: the sounds made by flowers   

as they stretched into the light. Behold, I have   

discovered that the island of Puerto Rico is the   

ears of Saru-Saru.


Notes:

The epigraph of this poem was originally omitted in the changeover to the new website. Because of this, reciting the epigraph is optional for the 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud season.

Victor Hernández Cruz, "Here Is an Ear Hear" from Maraca: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2000. Copyright © 2001 by Victor Hernandez Cruz. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org.

Source: Maraca: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000 (Coffee House Press, 2001)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Mythology & Folklore

Poet Bio

Victor Hernández Cruz
Victor Hernandez Cruz was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico. He moved to New York City with his family when he was five years old, but he didn’t start learning English until two years later when his family bought a television set. He started writing poetry early and at seventeen self-published his first book, Papo Got His Gun! And Other Poems, on a mimeograph machine. Cruz writes from the observation point of traveler and city dweller; he is fluent in Spanish and English, and the poems reveal his familiarity with music, New York, California, the Caribbean, Puerto Rican history, and the immigrant experience. He is also one of the founders of the Before Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the recognition of multicultural writers.

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