Poetry Wednesday: El Florida Room

Richard Blanco was chosen as the inaugural poet to write the poem for this year's Presidential and Vice Presidential inauguration. Click here to watch him read the poem at the celebration, and enjoy an older poem of his below.

El Florida Room

Not a study or a den, but El Florida

as my mother called it, a pretty name

for the room with the prettiest view 

of the lipstick-red hibiscus puckered up

against the windows, the tepid breeze 

laden with the brown-sugar scent 

of loquats drifting in from the yard. 

Not a sunroom, but where the sun 

both rose and set, all day the shadows 

of banana trees fan-dancing across

the floor, and if it rained, it rained

the loudest, like marbles plunking 

across the roof under constant threat 

of coconuts ready to fall from the sky.

Not a sitting room, but El Florida where 

I sat alone for hours with butterflies

frozen on the polyester curtains

and faces of Lladró figurines: sad angels,

clowns, and princesses with eyes glazed 

blue and gray, gazing from behind

the glass doors of the wall cabinet. 

Not a TV room, but where I watched

Creature Feature as a boy, clinging 

to my brother, safe from vampires

in the same sofa where I fell in love 

with Clint Eastwood and my Abuelo 

watching westerns, or pitying women

crying in telenovelas with my Abuela. 

Not a family room, but the room where

my father twirled his hair while listening

to 8-tracks of Elvis, and read Nietzsche 

and Kant a few months before he died, 

where my mother learned to dance alone

as she swept, and I learned Salsa pressed 

against my Tía Julia's enormous breasts. 

At the edge of the city, in the company 

of crickets, beside the empty clothesline, 

telephone wires and the moon, tonight

my life is an old friend sitting with me  

not in the living room, but in the light

of El Florida, as quiet and necessary 

as any star shining above it.

Courtesy poets.org