When you say I’m too loud,
I carry the boombox of a Bronx summer block party
higher on my back.
I’m in love with the loud of my voice,
I treat you well with my truth.
The macaw and I be beefin’ over who’s loudest.
Spaceships screech and halt in their paths.
I make melodies follow my lead.
———————–I’m not an apology.
I will be that abuela with too many stories,
the glitter and twinkle—
or maybe a honeybun sweet, stuck on my cheek.
My loud is pollo frito, Utz chips blowin’ in the wind,
a frizzy trenza reaching higher,
higher teasing the trees
mimicking the branches brown.
My loud is the click-clack of chancletas
slapping street and linoleum.
Bullosa, me dicen,
la que trae la fiesta, pero por aquí
—————el silencio is stronger than the hood on my neck.
I carry the drip on my sweater
in the company of professionals calling
my accent an important part of “the community.”
I am the loud that tames the boom with the same high-pitch
cackle-laugh, remixing assimilation.
The same one that cost me the respect of my family.
The loud that lost the fight of being good enough
to be invited to the family chats
to inside jokes.
Or maybe the loud that assumes
change equates a loss of self.
My loud kicks it with confusion,
cries with orgullo when another loud bitch arrives
so we can treat each other like equals.
My loud rests by the wall when language escapes.
My loud is never enough
or too much
or just the same as the rest.
Is it supposed to make sense?
Da igual, I finesse this life anyway.
Cynthia Román Cabrera is a Dominican- and Puerto Rican-native Bronx New Yorker. She writes poetry to explore identity, cityscape, ‘familismo,’ and trauma. As someone who has lived in various marginalized communities, her art intersects themes of class, culture, and gender. Her experiences as a scholar, broke girl, comelona, reader, advocate, and queer person in love help shape and transform her work.