Boricua en la luna

Por Don Juan Antonio Corretjer


Desde las ondas del mar

que son besos a su orilla

una mujer de Aguadilla

vino a New York a cantar

Pero no, solo a llorar

un largo llanto y morir.

De ese llanto yo nací

como la lluvia una fiera.

Y vivo en larga espera

de cobrar lo que perdí.


Por un cielo que se hacía

más feo más volaba

a Nueva York se acercaba

un peón de Las Marías.

Con la esperanza, decía,

de un largo día volver.

Pero antes me hizo nacer

y de tanto trabajar

se quedó sin regresar:

reventó en un taller.


De una lágrima soy hijo

y soy hijo del sudo

y fue mi abuelo el amor

único en mi regocijo

del recuerdo siempre fijo

en aquel cristal del llanto

como quimera en el canto

de un Puerto Rico de ensueño

y yo soy Puertorriqueño,

sin na, pero sin quebranto.

Y el “echón” que me desmienta

que se ande muy derecho

no sea en lo más estrecho

de un zaguán pague la afrenta.

Pues según alguien me cuenta:

dicen que la luna es una

sea del mar o sea montuna.

Y así le grito al villano:

yo sería borincano

aunque naciera en la luna.




Boricua on the moon

by Don Juan Antonio Corretjer


From the waves of the sea

that are kisses on its shore,

an Aguadilla woman tore

away to New York to sing.

But alas no, only to cry

a long wail and die.

From that lament I was born

like a beast in the rain.

And I lived and waited long

to collect what was lost.


Through a sky that grew

more ugly the more she flew,

to New York closer drew,

a peon from Las Marías.

With the hope, she said,

of some day returning.

But first, she gave me birth

and from so much work

she left without returning:

she expired in a sweatshop.


From a tear I am the son

and I am a son of sweat

and grandpa was the only one

Love, in my rejoicing

of the memory, always fixed

in that crystal of tears,

like a chimera in the song

of a Puerto Rico in dreams;

and I am Puerto Rican,

without nada, but without breaking down.


And to the arrogant who deny me,

While they strut on their way,

Perhaps not far down the hall,

They’ll pay for the affront.

See, as someone told me:

they say that the moon is the moon

be it in the sea or be it on the mountain,

And so I shout at the villain:

I would be Borincano, Puerto Rican,

even if I was born on the moon.

Juan Antonio Corretjer Montes (March 3, 1908 – January 19, 1985) was a Puerto Rican poet, journalist and pro-independence political activist opposing US colonial rule in Puerto Rico. His most famous poem, Distancias, was recorded as a song by Roy Brown, a pro-independence musician. He was born into an activist family. His father and uncles were involved in the “Ciales Uprising” of August 13, 1898, against the US occupation that took place under the guise of the “Spanish-American War”. Corretjer became a leader in the Nationalist Party of Don Pedro Albizu Campos.

On April 3, 1936, a Federal Grand Jury charged Albizu Campos, Corretjer, and other Nationalists and the cadets with sedition under Title 18 of the US Code. Corretjer and the others were found guilty in a second trial (after a second jury eliminated most Puerto Ricans from its ranks), and Corretjer was imprisoned for refusing to turn over party documents to the US authorities. On October 30, 1950, the Nationalists staged uprisings in the towns of Ponce, Mayagüez, Naranjito, Arecibo, Utuado, San Juan, and Jayuya. Albizu was imprisoned again (released later near death from radiation poisoning inflicted while incarcerated), and the Nationalist revolt was crushed with overwhelming US military power, including aerial bombardment. Even more intense repressive legislation and political surveillance and infiltration of the independence became the norm. In the 1960s and 70s, Corretjer and his wife Consuelo Lee founded the Puerto Rican Socialist League (La Liga Socialista Puertorriqueña), which advocated for an approach of non-collaboration with colonialism, as well as the need for a clandestine mentality to avoid infiltration or entrapment by the colonial authorities.

The LSP also believed a state of war existed in Puerto Rico since the US invasion and ongoing occupation, and supported an armed underground resistance and independence movement.

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