‘We Used to Call it Puerto Rico Rain,’
A Poem by Willie Perdomo

From the Collection The Crazy Bunch

April 2, 2019  By Willie Perdomo

The rain had just finished saying, This block is mine.


The kind of rain where you could sleep through two

breakthroughs, and still have enough left to belly-sing

the ambrosial hour.


Blood pellets in the dusk & dashes of hail were perfect for

finding new stashes; that is to say, visitations were never



A broken umbrella handle posed a question by the day

care center.


A good time to crush a love on a stoop, to narrate through

a window, to find the heartbeat of solitude, and collect

gallons for the Bruja’s next baño.


Good conditions to be in the dialectic of O Wow Ooo Baby O

Shit Ooo Damn.


The perfect weather to master the art of standing under a bodega

awning, shifting crisis to profit.


There’s always a dreamer who thinks they can race the rain to

the building, who loves the smell of wet concrete, and uses

a good downpour to be discreet.


There’s always one toddler who quietly crawls off the top step,

dodges a thunderbolt, and quickly becomes fluent in all

things stormy weather.


Story goes that Don Julio was swept up, ripped around the

corner, stumbled & cartwheeled to the light post, but he

never let go of his porkpie hat.


An improvised ballet near an improvised rivulet.


Shopping bags, pulverized by branches, contort into a new

nation of black flags. Our block was our island.


The manhole on the corner perked with popsicle sticks, empty

beer cans, and the brown sole of a fake karate slipper as we

started to sink & boil.


The forecast, you said, was type perfect.


From The Crazy Bunch by Willie Perdomo, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2019 by Willie Perdomo.

Willie Perdomo
Willie Perdomo
Willie Perdomo is the author of three previous poetry collections: Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award; Smoking Lovely, the winner of the 2004 PEN Open Book Award; and The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, BOMB and The Common. Perdomo teaches at the Phillips Exeter Academy.

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