A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Monday, September 29, 2008


When the lawyers ask Elsa who paid the coyote, Elsa says yo no se, as if matters as sensitive as these were never answered by her. Also, she was just fifteen and as far as she knows the coyote just showed up one night from inside the jungle and left with her. Their party got caught right outside one of the blind deserts that abutts the Texas/Mexico border and was thrown inside a cell for a month.

Or at least it was a month before Filomena was given word in the Bronx and boarded a bus for San Antonio to get her sister. Elsa says that only thing she can really remember about that time is that it was really, really cold like a refrigerator. And Elsa thought that part of the punishment was being partially frozen to death every day and night, como un pulmon de hiero, she says to the lawyers. Of course, they ask her whether or not she was touched at any time by any of the INS guards, docket jockeys at INS, or any of the inmates.

Elsa says no, although there was one night that the guard at the jail where they were detaining her came through to do his rounds with his cock erect and showing through the zippermouth of his green trousers. Elsa did not worry because, she says, you can tell when a man approaches with that in mind, and when all he wants is to let you know that he could if he wanted to, but that he won't. I guess there is a slippery slope somewhere where sexual intimidation becomes intimation.

But that was the worst episode, really, that Elsa had experienced and truth be told she was quite fortunate, not in that she had been spared incarceration, freezing, and the horrid food of the Dept of Corrections of Texas, but that she was released to her sister as if she were a dignitary. From one day to another she had gone from vermin to object to handle with kid gloves, fragile. And all because her sister, Filomena had hired a lawyer in the Bronx to reach his hand in and pluck her out, and that's exactly what had happened.

Elsa used to think that giving money to the coyote had been the stupidest thing her parents could have done, but now she realized that the money that had been spent was a fair amount because even if she got caught she would be released eventually on American soil. In other words, the coyote does not even have to succeed to get paid, all he really has to do is take the money you give him and get you to the finish line. Whether or not you finished was contingent on whether the people who were waiting for you on the other side had immigration lawyers and a little money saved up to come and get your ass because while your status was being decided you got to reside in the country and find a little job and help out around the house by ensuring there was money to send back home.

The lawyers then asked her about her school life, and how she was acclimating. Elsa told them that she was going to Monroe HS over by Arthur Ave and that she had entered in the 9th grade last year but that this year she had jumped to the eleventh grade. And then one of the lawyers, who was totally conducting a training "observation" of the newbie lawyer, asked her about extra-curricular activities and Elsa told them that she couldn't have extra-curricular activities because she had to help around the house and that her only leisure time was when she could do her homework, watch novelas on television, and keep an errant eye on Filomena's daughters, the one that is sickly, and the two babies.

Elsa told the lawyer ladies that her favorite novela was called, Al Demonio con Los Guapos, which translated into something like, To Hell with Handsome Men. So the lawyer one observing the novice lawyer guffaws and leans back in her chair so her legs arch up and show her dark-rainbow color socks. The novice lawyer takes her cue and sniggles which is what gueritas do when they want to laugh but hide it in the folds of a sneeze (to lubricate propriety). As the only representative of Handsome Men around I agreed with Elsa that we should be sent away, reclused.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Recently, a friend suggested that I write the world's first ever Dummies' Guides for Libraries, and that is really something that I could sink my mandibles into. I mean, then maybe, on the proceeds, I could finally afford a loft in Williamsburg and a Vespa with Nitrous Toggle and three sensual sibyls from the hinterlands of Long Island and Connecticut.

Reasons to be a Librarian:

1.) You get to act like you know everything; librarians flex their erudite glutes and people listen. More importantly,

2.) As a rule, people who provide people with answers are generally respected by people. There is inherit power,

3.) Not unlike the awe and apprehension which seizes people when oracles verdict the future past. Like a tense of being,

4.) Librarians have to tell people where the bathroom is, they have to gladiator with the copy machine, and tame the patrons into submission.

5.) Moreover, because of the service ethos, interaction dictates success or catastrophe based on how well you can teach patrons to replicate the steps.

6.) And do it themselves as if it were a second nature to them, as if commanding
all those Titles were a function of your fingers.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I really thought that Nicholson Baker's Doublefold was going to be one of those reads that I could do without, but the reality is that the books is engrossing and replete with useful (useless) knowledge about the maintenance, upkeep, and ageing of books. In Chapter 12, "Wicked Stuff," Baker talks about Diethyl Zinc which was "a patented technique developed at the Library of Congress in the early seventies. You arrange your acid-beset books in milk crates, spine down, up to five thousand of them at a time, and stack the crates in a ten-foot-high retrofitted space-simulation chamber that bears some resemblance to a railroad tank car; then you shut the round door at the end, suck out the air, and let the miracle DEZ fog creep in" (2001, pg 112).

How beautifully resonant and phantasmagorical; I mean dousing books in a fog to rid them of their acidity and water sounds just way too cool to be going down at an actual library, even if it is the Library of Congress. The main problem with DEZ is that it is so highly flammable that it is just wicked. DEZ was used as rocket fuel in the 50's and 60's and used by weapons experts to create better flamethrowers and munitions, like bullets and mine-seeking ordnance. Or as Baker states, "Diethyl zinc is one of a class of tricky organomettalic compounds called metal alkyls; it granbs any available oxygen atoms, including those in cellulose and in human tissue, and uses them to create fire" (2001, pg. 115). For example, "if you spill a few drops on your body somehwere, it will eat right into the flesh, and you really can't stop it" (2001, pg. 116).

More importantly, "The Library of Congress was playing around with hundreds of pounds of it. Their aim was to build a processing facility that would deacidify a million books a year" (2001, pg. 118)But, the interesting thing about DEZ is that "as it reacts with water, [it] produces quantities of ethane, which is flammable" (2001, pg. 118). So the obvious problem is how do you deacidify those books and deal with the byproduct of DEZ which is ethane, which is just as flammable and dangerous? Or, how do you stop the "Large fuel-air bomb that happened to contain books"? (2001, pg. 119). The whole time I read this, I was just thinking of one phrase: SO FUCK N COOL!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


So as I progress through what is an intricate primer of the tools one will need to polish off what we like to think of as Literature, I decide to do some research on Robert Alter because I had never really heard of him before. It's no surprise, Alter is a big shit (teaches at UC Berk)and has written like 17 books on the Bible and Kafka, and the connections between him and Manguel become apparent: their knowledge platform is immense! Both these men have led successful academic and professional lives at the top rungs of the Academy; they have made their fortunes fueling and at the same time explicating Bibliomania.

The main difference between Alter and Manguel is that Manguel seems to draw more erratically from the annals of history. In that way, Alter is more focused and even though he talks a mean Bible studies, he sticks to the text. In Manguel, to prove an idea, you get on this historical hovercraft and jump from sibyls to seders to Salamanca. It's all very bumpy and sometimes reading Manguel is like taking a history lecture at 30,000 through moderate chop. But this critique is petty when you think about all the amazing examples Manguel is able to charm us with. Indeed, Manguel is like a swami of history, or a middle-aged David Blain, hypnotizing us as he explains.

Alter is definitely not a read for the layman, so if you are looking for a new entretemps I suggest you stay away from it.However, if you have had some experience reading criticism then you will easily break into his book. On the other hand, I did have to skip paragraphs and resort to skimming in parts where the exegesis became text stew. I mean, don't get me wrong. Alter's chapter on Style is pretty riveting stuff, especially when he talks about metaphor and Literature's inextricable reliance on metaphor. He speaks at great length about "Moby Dick" and Dickens' "Our Mutual Friend" and his main idea in this chapter is that Literature is literature because it is singular and stylish as horse snot. I mean as dappled and newfangled as a pen with a laser. Indeed, he even christens a new textual dialect, that of the commersh paperback author, "A good deal of bestselling American prose, for example, is written in a mode one might call Standard Contemporary Novelistic, representing, I would guess, a homogenization and formulaic reduction of certain features of robus and muscular style introduced in the twenties and thirties by Hemingway, Dos Passos, Farrell, and other" (2001, pg. 107).

Alter makes the case for Literature in a big way, connecting the dots along the way for us, explicatingly, like a professor with elbow protectors on his jacket and a maudlin bowtie. The benefits, though, more than make up for the hard work, dedication, and blah blah that it is integral to the study of letters. Or in Alter's words, "To read this language adequately requires a prehensile activity of the mind on the details of the text as it unfolds, a willingness to entertain multiple and unresolved meanings, an openness to the pleasures in the sound and look and combination of the words." (2001,pg. 48) So, it is no surprise that Alter begins witha frank debate about the nature of character, I guess, both as it relates to the object in a piece of fiction and the quality as it relates to those object of fiction (their "character"?). Regardless, in the first chapter, Alter sets up a working definition of Literature, and then moves in for the kill by speaking of Character as possibly the oldest idea in Literature, "The claim I am making is a modest one...not that there is an immutable human nature but that there are certain lines of persistence that cross over from one era and one culture to another" (2001,pg. 75).

For Alter, Character just might be that strain that hangnails all of the Literatures from around the world, despite regional,religious, historical, or political affiliations, "Much about the way we perceive ourselves and the world manifestly changes as society, language, ideology, and technology change; but we also continue to share much as creatures born of woman, begotten by man, raised with siblings, endowed with certain appetites, conscious of our own mortality." (2001,pg. 75) I think only a person that wrote something so confident and universal could turn around a few sentences later and say, "To say that humanity continues to hold some things in common across the ages is not to imply that what is held in common is confidently known" (2001, pg. 75)

It is comforting to read Alter, a man who has made his fortune on Literature, the word, and Letters; to hear him in my head is comforting because when he gives you a definition, you know he has had to test it out, it has passed a battery of tests and dry runs, it has already shot an animal into the stratosphere to test the diagnostics. Therefore, Alter's chapter on "Allusion" is keen and well written; it's almost as if you want to put on some driving gloves or loafers before reading it because it definitely exercises the clutch. In general, Alter's opinion of the importance of allusion is pretty standard, "In one way or another, then, all writers are forced to enter into a dialogue or debate with their predecessors, recycling bits and pieces of earlier texts, giving them a fresh application, a nuance of redefinition, a radically new meaning, a different fucntion, an unanticipated elaboration"(2001, pg. 115).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Septmber 23, 2008

E_____ Ruv____
West 138th St., LLC
Howard Beach, NY

Yago S.Cura
112 Odell Clark Place, #5D
NYC, NY 10030

Dear Mr.Ruv____,

I am writing today to notify you of several repairs that require your attention in unit #5D; these repairs require your attention because they greatly inconvenience my wife and I, and create unsafe conditions in our residence.

At the beginning of the summer, I notified your office that my hallway light was not working. I have yet to receive notification from your office when this repair is going to be made. I was told at least twice that repairs could not be made because "the electrician" was not on the premises.

While this repair does not constitute an emergency, the hallway light provides for the safety and well-being of my wife and I as we arrive home; it ensures we do not injure ourselves coming into a unit that is inadequately lit; and, it provides for our safety as we step into a dark, empty apartment.

In March of 2008, I notified the super that our tub was cracked and required repairs. The super advised me to apply Tough as Nails, an epoxy resin, to the tub to cover up the cracks and prolong the inevitable replacement of the tub.

In August of 2008, I notified West 138th St., LLC that my bath tub was cracked and required repairs. I was put into direct contact with the contractor that installed the bath tubs; they told me that I was going to have to pay for a new tub because their guarantee did not cover occupants using epoxy resins to make repairs themselves on their bath tubs. I have been given assurances that these repairs will be made, but I am seriously beginning to doubt whether they will be completed or not.

I am an excellent tenant in good standing with 138th St., LLC; however, since these repairs have taken so long to complete it has seriously impaired my esteem of West 138th St., LLC. I would like you to please work with me to ensure these repairs get made; I would prefer not to clog the dockets at Housing Court or involve the Housing Preservation Department. I believe we can come to a resolution, or at the very least a line of open and honest communication.

Thank You


Monday, September 22, 2008


To the best of my knowledge, "Doublefold" is a book written for the bibliophile, the geek that geeks out with the history of books, reading, and materials. So far, one of the strongest arguments that the books makes is that libraries, both academic and public, in their haste to push the use of microfiche have pursued a policy of discarding and trashing valuable, often one of a kind, copies of old newspapers like New York's Herald Tribune and New York World.

And the way that they have done is by spreading vicious rumors. And one of these rumors is that newspaper paper does not hold up to the passing of years. Experts promised that newspapers would crumble, but they didn't, “the originals didn’t crumble into dust. Keyes Metcalf, a microfilm pioneer and the director of the libraries at Harvard, in 1941 predicted that the 'total space requirements' of research libraries 'will be reduced by paper disintegration.' Then five, ten, twenty years went by, and the paper―even the supposedly ephemeral newsprint―was still there. So librarians began getting rid of it anyway. If you destroy the physical evidence, nobody will know how skewed your predictions were” (2001, pg. 6). In other words, librarians spread the rumor that the paper wouldn't last and voila it became incontrovertible fact.

I found more interesting the beef described by Nicholson between Hearst and Pulitzer which was actually facilitated by an innovation in publishing, "The arrival of the brothers Pagenstecher, who in the eighteen-sixties imported a German machine that shredded logs to pulp by jamming their ends against a circular, water-colled grinding stone, brought prices way down―from twelve cents a pound in 1870, to seven cents a pound in 1880, to less than two cents a pound in 1900…The drop gave Pulitzer and Hearst the plentiful page space to sell big ads, and allowed their creations to flower into the gaudy painted ladies they had become by the first decade of the twentieth century.” (2001, pg. 6)

More importantly, the tendency here has been to throw away and not preserve, even though the preservation of these newspapers would probably create a comparable amount of revenue. Is it short sightedness? Is it evolution? For now it is hard to say but I am leaning towards a little short sightedness tempered with evolution with a little bit of snobbery thrown in for good measure.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


"Fire pon Babylon" as the reggae psalmists say because hell is a very real place populated by alarmists and kaleidoscope dolts. For example, according to Alberto Manguel in his "A History of Reading" (1996, 177-178).

Sometime in 2350 BCE was the heyday of the Akkadian era when Babylone grew from a village imp into a proper town by the time of the Gilagmesh epic in 2000 BCE. Already by 1800 BCE Babylon was becoming known as Hammurabi's Bablyon because the famous system of laws decreed there were informing the behavior of Babylonian men. By this time, Babylon had become the New York City of the ancient world. In 689 BCE the Assyrians attacked and decimated the city and not long after Nebuchadnezzar helped to rebuild it. In addition, Bablyon is the city where Alexander the Great died in 323 BC and where cuneiform, or the world's most primitive form of writing, took root.

Therefore, I believe I understand a little better why dancehall reggae artists invoke the destruction of Babylon and why that image is so integral to their message. And Babylon carries all this luggage even before we talk about its most famous attribute as failed stairway experiment to textual heaven, the place where we learned to all talk the same language and almost outsmarted our cosmic line supervisors. Which is why, I say, "Fire pon Babylon," indeed.

More importantly, any discussion about Babylon must include a description of the importance of scribes and the caste they occupied. And it must include a discussion of the death of the author being the birth of the reader and that a text becomes complete once the author disappears. Maybe to write means to disappear within what you write. Maybe writing creates a space within the text for the writer, or for extinguishing the author from a text. In other words, readers recreate something created by a person whose creation is contingent upon their death and pathological erasure. Forgive me my trespasses with language; I got something to prove with words.

But just to give you an idea: the death of the author has taken 2000 years, or maybe the author has been dying for 2000 years. What I do know is that scribes were not journalists, they were functionaries, like accountants but with shaved heads and scrotums. And even though they had an important function in society, by no means were they allowed to express their opinion or bias; for all intents and purposes they were dictaphones of sponges of speech that soaked up all that was said, carefully cuneiformed it into notation existence, and inscribed it on clay slabs.

Which might be an excellent place to start with the stylus cults. Stylus cults are my personal phrase for the cult of the writer (R.I.P., David Foster Wallace). Now, while I wholeheartedly agree with the tenents of the cult of the writer, I choose to be critical and to attempt a definition, however circumspect. According to Manguel there are at least two types of readers,

The reader for whom the text justifies its existence
in the act of reading itself, with no ulterior motive
...and that of the reader with an ulterior motive for
whom the text is a vehicle towards another function.
(1996, 184)

It is readers that use a text as a vehicle towards another function that make libraries indispensable. I think that I might want to include that definition in with other definitions of what a library actually is: a repository of books as vehicles with which to analyze and criticize a source or sources or original text. Maybe the repository part of that last definition owes something to the efforts of the Library of Alexandria. One of the more swashbuckling myths regarding the Library at Alexandria had to do with the aggressive collection method that was used, "By the reign of Ptolemy III, no single person could have read the entire library. By royal decree, all ships stopping at Alexandria had to surrender any books they were carrying; these books were copied, and the originals (sometimes the copies) were returned to their owners while the duplicates (sometimes the originals) were kept in the library" (1996, 189). They must have had quite the state police administration to search boats for copies of codices or scrolls.

And no discussion of the Library can be really had without discussing Callimachus and his organizational system. I mean, he believed that the knowledge of human kind could be reduced to ten classifications. The Dewey Decimal System is an elaboration, an intellectual response to the system devised by Callimachus.

Callimachus divided the library into shelves or tables
(pinakoi) arranged in eight classes or subjects: drama,
oratory, lyric poetry, legislation, medicine, history,
philosophy and miscellany. He separated the longer works
by having them copied into several shorter sections call-
ed 'books', so as to have smaller rolls that would be more
practical to handle. (1996, 191)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I figured I would skip the introduction because I am pressed for time. But after having delved into the first chapter, I can safely say that I will go back with some interest.

Alter begins at square one with an attempt at the definition of Literature, and especially what separates it from journalism, non-fiction. Alter writes that, "Literature, then, ...is not a fixed entity but a reflection in any society of the values of the ruling class, abetted by a learned or priestly elite" (1996, pg. 25).

He goes one step further, "The poems, plays, stories, and discursive texts of a culture may variously delight or stir its members, but they are admitted to the canon chiefly because of their consonance with the distribution of power in the society, their effectiveness in reassuring or training or lulling people so that they will better perform their given social rules" (1996, pg.26), and reduces a successful novelist to a stock broker or warden, an agent and emblem of the ruling class.

Alter even mentions the works of Terry Eagleton, a neo-Marxist from England, that says he would not mind if the works of Shakespeare were as valuable as graffiti on the street. Having had to make sense of Shakespeare as an English undergrad, I now possibly understand that the real reason(not barring the Bards supernatural skills of stealing well)I had to read the Bard was because all the writers I was going to study had read Shakespeare and if I wanted to understand other than topical readings of the text I was going to have read the Bard; it was really that simple.

I have fallen in love with his certain plays (Othello, The Tempest, the comedies) because I have tried to teach them and usually just end up having students instill in themselves these big translation factories where they read Shakespeare's text and translate it into their vernacular. But then I think, how much of translation, how we create correspondences with the material that we read or are assigned to read, goes on when a person reads Literature? How much are they translating what they read to make accentuate the entertainment of what they are reading?

Alter says that Literature changes over the years because we change over the years and because it is a reflection of who we are then it follows that it is organic because we are organic. But it does contain certain qualities, "One reason for the cohesiveness of literary tradition over a stretch of almost three thousand years is its powerful impulse of self-recapitualtion" (1996, pg. 27). In addition, "Writers repeatedly work under the influence of a founding (foundling?) model...they repeatedly return to origins, seeking to emulate, extend, transpose, or outdo some founder" (1996, pg. 27).

More importantly, we read Literature because it gives us pleasure, and one of those pleasures is the "nice interplay between the verbal aesthetic form and the complex meanings conveyed" (1996, pg. 28). Myself, I would have gone with, "Literature is cool because it's complicated and shit."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A_____, I promise to love and cherish you, to respect your times and your ways, to know when you just want me to listen, and when you are truly seeking my humble input.

I promise to brace myself for when you are having a particularly unfortunate day. I promise to feed you pellets of chocolate and/or money champagne, Flaming Hot Cheetos and similar sundry snacks like chopped-up cucumbers and ume sisho without the sisho.

I promise to be your barometer and interpreter of temperatures (or temperaments). I promise to be your jacket when you are cold, and your heating pad for when your feet icicle. And to understand that if you are the last to get in to bed, then by universal proprietary laws you must also switch off all lights and/or lamps; I promise to extend this last promise to programming the television to turn off automatically if I like to fall asleep to its static waterfall.

A_____, I promise to rub your butt until you fall asleep, or take your glasses off after you fall asleep to a Law and Order Marathon; I promise to lay in bed and snuggle without rolling my eyes or wishing that I was at the Y with the soccer mongrels. And I promise to be your envoy for late-nite sundries at the Duane Reade like contact solution, Niagara spray starch, and Theraflu.

Not only that, I promise to wake up and make you Jamaican, Blue-Hill coffee and bagels for the rest of your life, girl, even though you don't really eat in the morning and we only have Sanka(not valid on Saturdays or Sundays). I promise not to messiah myself out to you either, so I better stop making promises and tell you somethings that I will not do.

I will not let you get away with it, because you have my back as well and don't let me succumb to my selfishself. I will not push the subject if you say I don't want to talk about it, as long as you know that I will harangue you later. I will not not hate movie and television personalities that you find unappealing, like that bitch Jessica Alba.

I will however adore, implore, eyore, and kneel-floor to make you understand that I am no more the solitary man. I am now two, or greater than or equal to two. And this is my life and I choose to bumrush this tiny, philistine island of a world with you by my side, holding my hand, helping me vanquish the heathens, the despots, the tyros, and nefarious forces that would like to do us ill.

A_____, I will not rest; I will not stray from my mission. We will not blink from our course; the terrorists of love shall know our missile-guided wrath, and we will not need a coalition of allies because our love collateral will last at least until we take our last breaths.

Monday, September 15, 2008


You could not take a gypsy cab from Atlantic Ave to Ocean Parkway without having an Armor-Alled, Boysenberry Black, Town Car pull up with all types of warbling feedback and chirping from inside the car where an Osvaldo asks you, para adonde joven?

No, this Osvaldo is not a gypsy cab driver even though hands-down, pretty much all the Ecuadorians from Cuenca living in around Brooklyn from 2003 to now in 2008. This is Osvaldo Chiqui and he works at Los Magos in Sunset Park; he lives around the corner from Los Magos (a modest Spanish restaurant) and enjoys the abundant commerce that traverses this part of Brooklyn, so far from the centro.

Sure there are 'Ricans and Dominicans, but mostly it's Ecuadorians from Cuenca. I'm not sure what made it so easy for Ecuadorians, especially from Cuenca, to come and immigrate to this part of NYC, but it was as if Cuencans had been born with an internal homing beacon; because, somehow or other they all lived in and around this Brooklyn quadrant. And the industry that these little Incas had decided to bumrush was none other than the taxi and limousine racket. And what a racket they held.

Uncanny, indeed. The reason I know this is because when I lived on Ocean Parkway in 2003 and personally, informally interviewed every gypsy cab driver that I had the honor of employing; I have taken a personal interest in the casting of this very personal matter, and so you must go along with me if this story is to match up or connect in any meaningful way.

Every now and then the city becomes like a repository for special visas and permisos. And you could almost intuit the nationality of the person behind the counter or on the other side of the partition based on the industry. For example, presently in Harlem, if you walked into a bodega and found an Arab behind the counter, chances are they were from Yemen. This had become more pronounced since Department of Homeland Security devoured whole departments (like Immigration and Naturalization Service) whole from within the Mastodon Justice Department.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


So our professor asked us to pair our reading of Manguel's "A History of Reading" (1996) to J.A. Appleyard's "Becoming a Reader" (1990). Both books deal with Reading as a behavior with a clearly defined history and evolving future. Manguel's book offers the reader more anecdotal morsels of historic, classical, and geeky flair, while the Appleyard book mostly talks about the research of important studies and modules on Reading and Literacy.
For example, in chapter 4, Appleyard gives the reader two different scenarios of two different students to illuminate the spectrum and range that can exist between two students that while literate have varying levels of literacy. Manguel's book widely cites Greek, Roman, and even African historical anecdotes like the fact that "In the tenth century, for instance, the Grand Vizier of Persia, Abdul Kassem Ismael, in order not to part with his collection of 117,000 volumes when travelling, had them carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order" (Manguel, 1996, pg. 193).
So then, what thread of intersection exists between both books, if any? How do these books address each other, and to what extent is that conversation garrulous or reticent? I am drawn to chapter four of Appleyard's book because I feel that a great deal of what will concern my class resides in chapter four: college and beyond: reader as interpreter. It is in this chapter that Appleyard discloses her scale or ladder of cogent interpretation. The first stage is a complete abnegation of the text, as if it were completely transparent; this is usually as far as the high school reader will get because the farthest high school schema pushes for is a duality of perception where values are either good or bad, subjective or objective, moral or immoral.
This is right before the idea of the author becomes unmoored and goes through a deconsruction sieve, "This decentering leads next to a parallel deconstructing of the idea of the author, so that the reader learns to look directly at the text itself as an object containing the full evidence about its meaning...the realization that the text is constructed not only by the writer but also by the reader and by all the codes and cultural contexts they both depend on" (Appleyard, 1990, pg. 129-130) And the majority of Appleyard's theoretical ruminations are based on William Perry's observation of Harvard undergraduates in 1970. According to Appleyard, "In Perry's view, the principal developmental task of students is to come to terms with the multiplicity of truths and values that college presents to them" (Appleyard, 1990,pg. 130). Multiplicity seems to be at the core of Manguel's book so that it seems that Manguel wrote his "A Reading..." (1996) shortly after consulting Appleyard's,"Becoming a Reader" (1990).
In Manguel's chapter, "Reading the Future" there is a directed effort at explaining the history and function of sybils and "gospel cleromancy" (1990, pg.209). Gospel cleromancy was a form of divination wherein a person would open the Bible to a passage, at random, and attempt a correspondence or "reading" between that passage and the events of people's lives. This behavior had become so predominate that in 829 the "Council of Paris had to condemn it officially."(1990, pg. 209). In other words, Manguel's text is expounded in broad, historical swaths using the "multiplicity of truths"(1990, pg. 130) approach where examples may stretch hundreds if not thousands of years of reading evolution, "By the midsixteenth century, a reader would have been able to choose from well over eight million printed books, 'more perhaps than all the scribes of Europe had produced since Constantine founded his city in AD 330'"(1996, pg. 138).
There is also the idea that in the digital world, every screen is controlled by the side button or the scroll button; before the codex there existed scrolls, which were rolled up papyrus organized by subject or title. So in effect, two thousands years later, the person who reads must still "scroll" toward the knowledge contained in information halls. I guess an interesting question would be whether a codex or a hyperlink is the more advanced version of advancing from not known to known and ingested. This idea makes me excited mostly because it also relates to fiction with the work of Julio Cortazar who wrote, if I am not mistaken, the first hypertext novel, "Hopscotch" (1963).

Friday, September 12, 2008


So we are still discussing Manguel's A History of Reading in my class. I have been assigned a particular question dealing with this book; the question is simple: how does Manguel describe the process of being read to? how did this evolve historically?

The first thing that I would like to discuss is Saturnino Martinez, a cigar-maker and poet that first published a newspaper for workers that made cigars. His newspaper was called La Aurora and it survived close to five years (1865-1870). In 1866 the governor of Cuba published an edict that severly penalized writers who were caught distracting the workers of tobacco shops with the reading of books. In less than five years, Saturnino had managed not only to catch the attention of the Cuban (read Spanish) government but had also managed to severly malign himself within the county as a subversive entity. Now, that is the kind of history that I like to know and that I find particularly useful to know. Especially in this country where reading is such a passive and sedentary behavior.

This behavior was eventually transferred to Key West and American cigar-makers (who were probably predominantly Cuban) were read to while they manufactured cigars. The interesting thing is that these lectors were payed by the actual cigar makers and not the administration of the cigar factories; it is almost as if the cigar makers were fully aware of the entertainment and instruction of being read to. Before that, way before that you had the Benedictine monks that decreed in Article 38 of their code that reading would be an essential part of their daily life. I skipped a swath of this chapter because it kind of drags but I will catch up on the lives of joglars, troubadors, and the like which populated the Middle Ages and were a vibrant part of society.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Guster liked to call his hairstyle the Euclid Fade because the geometric patterns shaved into the side of his head were like an intricate broadside advertising Guster's technical predelictions. What it advertised most was that Guster was Fly Geek, Atypical Geezer, a tiger of style. Therefore, he had to back up his technologically advanced follicle design with dope clothes, chariot high tops, and a life-preserver rope gold chain. The delivery of Guster's self was a performance that was planned every night and carried out every morning. The way he saw it, his street kit was what brought customers to him; Guster felt that people were drawn to people who were successful and looked good, and knew how to gloss.

Guster made speaker boxes for the denizens of Ozone Park in Queens. His customers were mostly the Guyanese and Trinis that lived out in the outer regions of New York City, and he did it for a pretty penny. He was respected, but more importantly he was left alone and the neighborhood allowed him to run the speaker box making racket. He pushed out three speaker boxes a week and two on a slow week; he charged one hundred and fifty dollars for a complete speaker box, but he did paint and airbrush the speaker boxes before letting them loose on the streets. It took two full days to make a box but the process could be sped up for the right amount of money, although there were some things like drying ink and glue that could not be hurried. Even though Guster made them in his garage, he sometimes tinkered in a customer's backyard or garage.

When a client had the money to spare, Guster created monstrosities. He might take a Mongoose and hang two six by nines from the handlebars; these he could readily rig because the frame of the handlebar presented a sturdy frame and did not interrupt the navigation. However, he had also transformed a simple dirt bike into a chariot by enclosing the seat and back spoke within a wood frame. Even though the bike looked like it had been eaten by a garbage dumpster, you could still pedal the bike, and it's output was ridiculous. If you rode that bike you were guaranteed to get stares, especially from people who were not from the neighborhood and did not have the schema to understand what they were seeing. In Guyana and Trinidad, speakers were gospel and digital Bible; kids did everything they could to make, amplify, and adhere speakers to the most uncanny places. And they were loud, like a swollen heart beating irregularly in the background tapestry of Island noise.

Before heading out to school that day, Guster had read the news which talked about how the CERN scientists in Switzerland had successfully run protons through the 17 mile "proton track." To the best of Guster's understanding, these scientists were trying to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang to better understand how our universe came into being. It was a great feat, especially if you consider how the "track" under the hillets and mounts in Switzerland were kept in vacuums that were colder than space. That means that somewhere in Switzerland, there was 17 miles of space track that was going to be used to host some cosmic proton car crash in the very near future. Guster did not like to think of creation much, but when he did he was sure there was a speaker, amp, and mangoes at the disposal of the entities that were doing the creating. And luscious women in plum pants syncopating their ass gravity to the beat of some Dancehall arrhythmia (preferably "Bam Bam" by Chaka Demus and Pliers).

Guster went to LaGuardia; it had been two years since he started but getting his A.A. was something he did not think was going to be so time-consuming. He was still shy a couple of credits but he could have finished a little earlier if he had applied himself more. But without a job, his only real income had been building speaker boxes; He had not trademarked his business and as of late he had been working on a business plan so that he may trademark himself one day. If pressed to think of life after LaGuardia, Guster thought Computer Science at Queens or possibly City College. He had the grades and smarts but not necessarily the patience. I mean how many of his professors could wire a Mongoose so that it resembled an aircraft carrier? In Guster's world, the doing was more valuable than the thinking, not that you didn't need the theory; Guster was just much more tinker happy than equation persistent. Of late what had occupied his attention was the Higgs boson or God's particle. This was the particle before all of the other in the production titled, The Big Bang.

If the Big Bang was caused by the smashing of particles, there must be something that animated that first particle, the Higgs boson, with purpose. Guster could go with the idea that primordial gas gave way to particles and that eventually two particles collided and formed our planetoid architecture. But, the idea seemed to not delete the presence of God and Guster did not see a real need for himself to relive the glory, grandeur, and rapture of God's love. Guster loved Dancehall and thought that if God did not work to Beenie Man and Eek-A-Mouse when he was creating the pillars and heavens then he did not really want what Religion was selling.

Monday, September 8, 2008


I am taking a class for which I have to digest large portions of Alberto Manguel’s, A History of Reading for class on Tuesday night. At first, I didn’t know what to expect, but the book lives up to its title comprehensively; it's got this authoritative bent yet is mangy and long-haired and living in the arrondissment of books and bibliophiles; Manguel’s prose is precise and buttressed by his selection of lector behavior through the ages. The history really animates the book and Manguel knows his history.

It also doesn’t hurt that Manguel was a pubescent book pusher that was invited by none other than Jorge Luis Borges to come to his flat in Buenos Aires and read selections of Defoe or Kipling to the blind man. This was probably at the time when Borges was Director of the La Biblioteca Nacional de la Republica de Argentina , shortly after the institution moved to the armory where they housed the National Lottery. I mean the guy who reads to Borges, no matter how geeked to the rafters he is deserves a certain, distinct honor. Of course, Manguel is a hard-on but his prose contextualizes a heady subject, interesting, but heady nonetheless. A History of Reading is definitely cue-reading but it also one of those books that you want to write all over in. In fact, that's one of the Manguel's points: the way we read, for pleasure or fulfillment, is a pretty modern concept.

To drive these points home he first distinguishes between reading to oneself and reading aloud. Manguel writes that even reading a book to oneself, using your inner lector, is a pretty modern concept. Back then vicars, bishops, and other Stewards of Fiefdom Luxury Living thought of people reading to themselves, using their inner narrator public announcement module, as extremely crude, crass,and generally revolting. Reading to oneself silently was viewed as too onanistic, too pleasurable. Have you ever just stayed in bed all day and read a whole novel, cover to cover? I remember in the Spring of my first year of grad school in New England, I lounged in bed all morning because Denis Johnson's Jesus' Sonwas the most honest and kick me in me teeth short story swag that I had encountered in quite a while. It doesn't hurt that I was hung over or that an icy, miscreant wind was creeping in through the screen or that I was wearing my grisly new bathrobe.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Osvaldo Leon was pudgy; he wore husky jeans. Somewhere, too, he must have had husky genes because his father was pudgy too. His father hadn't always been pudgy; there were black and white photos of Osvaldo's father in Cordoba, during his mandatory enlistment in which he looked as fit as a soldier in boot camp (not at the beginning of course but after the actual program).

In those photos, Osvaldo knows his future was written.He would always be a suckier version of his dad, and a glutton, a fatboy. The only thing he could compare himself to were those photos, the knowledge that he is somehow deficient, irresolute, and a bootleg gorde of what his father had been after adolescence. Osvaldo thought of his paunch, something he thought of quite a bit, and shoved his hands into the pockets of his potato sack hooded poncho with Patchouli drier insert sheet, and twiddled with the wrapper of several yelling-blue Jolly Ranchers. If he kept this up he was going to contract Diabetes, but sweets were oxygen tablets, crunchy manna, that he could grind down with his incisors and keep, completely sucked of air, tucked into his lower lip like a pellet of candy, like a pouch of chewing tobacco, a pod of aggregate, sweet powder bulb.

But as we redirect Osvaldo, and engage him to remember the way in which the administration at his grammar school made every child in his elementary school carry a book over at a time, making it in a way a Guiness recapitulation, one for the records books: the largest migration of books from one point to another. Or Maybe it could the largest forced migration of a elementary school library's from one library to another library. I mean library's rearrange their shelves and stacks all the time, but you never think of how that is actually done. Well, if you are a school media librarian and the school you work for gets enough scratch to build a new school grounds, then how do you suppose all the books from one library get to the new library? The administration coordinates a massive exodus of materials. I mean if you think of it in terms of correspondence, one book equals one child. And since the library really only had close to 2,000 volumes then what that really meant was that every child in school that day would have to carry at least three books from one library to the new library. If every child in school on a particular day would just carry three books over then that would be that: all the books from the old library would be magically transposed onto the shelves of the new library.

Therefore, there must be a picture somewheres of Osvaldo Leon in coveralls and a tiny baseball hat (and sunscreen nose)carrying books from one library to another at Winston Park Elementary. Lately, Osvaldo hasn't really thought too much about that day in his life, but he does believe that it has had a mystical quotient on his life as a batallion geek in the elite corpse of dorks that Osvaldo coordinates. Coordinates is maybe the wrong word; he Fagens them, that is mentally tortures and repudiates publicly with grotesque humiliaton their sense of well-being.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Memphis brought along a sturdy, transparent plastic bag where he kept all the files relating to the custody of his daughter, Genesis Paloma. Memphis worked construction in Hartford, CT for himself, meaning he was contracted out by foremen to erect drywall or assist with new floor lays. Memphis works hard, his face works hard to dissuade people from thinking that he works hard, but the rough ridges of his palms, the toil ramparts etched into his manila construction boots say it all. That morning, he left on a train from Hartford to the Atlantic Blvd. station in Brooklyn. The ride took him close to three hours during rush hour, but he didn't mind; he got a seat in Hartford and the rest of the ride he could devote to staking people out and reading their lives, trying to decipher the litany of clues that comprise the average humanoid.

Since moving to Hartford from Brooklyn two things had happened. Memphis was now able to save a little scratch. And, Genesis Paloma had suddenly come back into his life, after having been sequestered for seven years by her Mother, that Caribbean witch of a wife, Griseldes Pura. Don't get me wrong. Memphis loved women with an intense humiliation; sometimes, he felt there was more coitus in some good old-fashioned humiliation than there was in some good old-fashioned coitus. But seven years ago, Griseldes escaped to Florida, Kissimmee or some shit, with Genesis. Memphis spent the better half of those years taking little trips to Jersey to look for his little girl around the holidays when Memphis knew Griseldes was going to be home and of course bring Genesis. I wish I could tell you that it happened just like that. That Griseldes just clenched her daughter and woke up the next morning in Kissimmee; you and I know that things don't happen like that. There is a wearing down, an egression of resistance, a devolution of para adelante that happens.

His name was Dennis Machado and he did not like the way the Marine Corps Drill Seargents talked to him. He knew humiliation and he knew fear, but fearmiliation was a completely new feeling. He didn't like it, but knew that he had to keep mum. At the first sight of land (a.k.a. weekend pass), Dennis was going to hop on the first greyhound and go to the first international airport and buy a ticket to Puerto Rico. He though that the was the last place the Marine Corps would want to look, even though his father was Puerto Rican and his father's father had been Puerto Rican. He didn't care, he thought, I'll just go the fucking Yunque and we'll see if esto commemieldas are going to come after me or not. Dennis Machado stood on the verge of one of the biggest decisions in his life. I mean we all know the stories about what the U.S. Government can do if you join their team and then renig on your membership. They can fuck up shit in your life so that your children pick up the pieces. We all know that, but Dennis, Dennis was either too proud or too intoxicated with the personal rebuke, the great dis, he was laying down on the U.S. Army.

It took him a couple of days to reach el Yunque in Puerto Rico, but the place held a power much like homebase. Once you were enticed into it's folds, there was no leaving. It was like Jamaica, but in Venus Fly Trap Formula. El Yunque was the most amazing, exotic, and primordial jungle palace left on the Western Hemisphere. It was like Goa without the Hinduism, like Malibu without the Capitalism, like Eden without the big guy fumbling with the satellite key in the sky. But, we are getting ahead our of ourselves. Today, I just wanted to cover Dennis' foray into the Yunque and how Memphis lost Griseldes and Genesis for seven year. Yeah, today, I wanted to put something down, but not spoil it too much. And I have gone and given you so much that I must apologize because here I was going to relate to you why Memphis should get one of the those accordion organizers, and all I've managed to do is distract you from the real issue.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


In 1999, I received a minority fellowship to obtain a master's degree at UMASS-Amherst. I had never really won anything in my life. I mean my mediocre high-school grades had improved dramatically as I neared my Bachelors in English. But, had I improved my grades so much that a college more than 1,000 miles away would pay to have me study there? This idea boggled my brain for days.

It's not that I was uninterested in learning when I was a high school student; even at that age, I felt that a lot of the work was monotonous and strikingly dull on purpose. And, since this strayed egregiously from the true discovery of learning, I decided that I would apply myself just enough so that I may pass the year. I straight plodded through high school.

Four years at Florida International University had bolstered my confidence in myself as a scholar; I had studied abroad in London; I had joined a slew of extra-curricular nerd modules. I had friends in high places like the on-campus convenience store and the beer cue at the Student Cellar. But would I have the courage to go to far-ass Massachusetts and study there. My parents and I took a road trip over the summer and shortly after I accepted the offer from the ALANA office and came to UMASS-Amherst.

If you have ever been to the Pioneer Valley, you know that there are not a lot of skyscrapers. In fact, most of the buildings aren't higher than six floors. However, the UMASS campus in Amherst houses the W.E.B. DuBois Library. This library is something like 25 floors high and is really a gargantuan, beautiful institute. Despite it's physical stature, the most important thing about the DuBois was the collection. In fact, as a result of the collection at the DuBois, I was able to interract with several Latin American authors that I never would discovered.

I am not talking about Pablo Neruda. Everybody reads Neruda and Mario Benedetti. The DuBois introduced me to writers like Oliveiro Girondo and his Espantapajaros(192?) or the many novel of Mario Vargas Llosa. I mean it is hard for me to think of a life without Vargas Llosa's Tia Julia and the Script Writer. In fact, through the Latin American Literature holdings at the DuBois I was able to reconnect with a large part of the history of Argentina, the country my parent's immigrated from.

The DuBois' silhouette can be seen from Sugarloaf, an elevated state park about seven miles away, and is the most pronounced building on campus despite the other skyscraper dorm towers with the names of American presidents in the SouthWest Dorm Area. Presently, the DuBois holds my first master's thesis, titled Hyphen-American, which is an earlier name of my current poetry manuscript, Spicaresque. The books I found at the DuBois are as much a part of my manuscript as the poems that constitute it. After graduating in 2002, I moved to New York City. I moved into an attic close to Church Street in Windsor Heights/Carrol Gardens and learned how to move about on in Brooklyn. I would eventually end up on Ocean Parkway and Ave.O but have used the Brooklyn Public Library extensively. More importantly, I have greatly take advantage of the Main Branch at Grand Army Plaza.


Javier's father was a Columbian construction barron. He made a heap of money bringing Medellin out of cardboard estancias and into the Concrete Age before leaving Columbia in the mid 80's.

He wore starched pastel shirts and general Polo repetoire; he played rugby for one year while a cadet at military school in Peru. Javier's father, Martin, was not directly involved in the Cocaine business, but he did build moats and patio esplanades for men who directly stooged for men in the Cocaine business. Whatever the marimberos needed Martin built, and outside of dimension like volume, height, and width, Martin asked few questions.

If they needed a two-story pool or bifurcated spa domain, Martin quoted them a price, built it within budget, and usually had enough left over to add a piece of landscape flair at no cost. Martin did this by always quoting high, but making sure to stay within budget. You don't necessarily want to fleece a drug dealer and then ask them for some more money. One client asked him to build an island habitat to contain a Bengal tiger he had bribed through Miami customs (He claimed he was an exotic animal "e"specialist). Martin had to go to the Miami Zoo just to see how high the walls for the Bengal tiger cage actually were. He suspected at least 20 feet because tigers were massive carnivores but also suprisingly nimble.

He took Javier to the Miami Zoo on that day, and the kid was not really impressed. He was skitterish in the Snake Cave and breezed (practically jogged) through Terrarium World. So right after lunch when Javier asked his father Martin, how far away they were from home, Martin decided it was time to pack up and go back home. If he was luck, Martin could beat the rush hour maniacs and get home before Miami's auto arteries swelled up like an old lady's ankles and completely clogged every fucking aorta in the city. If he chose the right streets, he might even get home to watch Cali Deportivo take on Atletico Nacional. As he turned into the luxury complex where Martin lived with his only son, Javier's eyes glistened as he spotted the Snapper Creek Branch across the concrete pediment.

Martin thought that letting Javier go to the library across the sreet was dangerous, but most of the time gave in to Javier's predeliction. Besides, if Martin was always talking about the importance of education to Javier, then it might look a little hypocritical to question his fervor for reading and being around books. Javier said, "Papi voy a la biblioteca por que tengo que hacer un book report..." and the audio trailed off as Javier took off across the parking lot, checked both sides of the street for cars, and carefully bolted across. Javier opened the door and a delicate breath of air conditioning descended upon him like invisible spritz; he showed the lady his library card and proceeded to the juvenile section where he spent most of his time. Lately, he had been on this Pick Your Own Adventure kick and had gobbled most of the books in that section. As of late,Javier had turned his interest to Encyclopedias and Reference Books. He liked their girth and gravity and the determination it took to write so many pages about stuff.

It boggled him that people could know so much or that so much could have a specific name, even in a fancy dead language.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Pocho, short for Luis Pablo, did not take advantage of libraries as a child. He grew up in a sparse exurb called Kendall in Miami where libraries were like outposts: spaced inexorably apart. So, Pocho either used the school library real quick before jumping on the bus, or during lunch if he really needed a book that bad. He read what he was assigned because books were what you lugged; they did not define you as much as what type of clothes your parents bought for you. However, Pocho had a strong penchant for reading Time even though he was just twelve. Pocho felt that the pages of Time and cockroaches would be the only things to survive an all out Nuclear Erasure.

Besides, if Pocho really wanted a book, he could pull one of the shelf of his Mom's bookshelf. The bookshelf held other media but it's "spine" was the books that Graciela had managed to lug out of Buenos Aires with her in 1972. They were books that could get you in serious trouble with the Ford Falcon police, or that could lead to massive arrests and detentions of people who most often than not were harmless and full of parla but no real chutzpah. The people the military government killed during the Dirty War more often than not were low-level subversives, possibly agitators, but nothing the illiterate slobs that comprised the police force couldn't handle. But Graciela's bookshelf was wicked. It had fiction by Unamuno, contemporary history by Galeano; Graciela had a copy of Sarmiento's Facundo Quiroga and of course every little short story collection ever put out by Cortazar.

In fact, if forced to trace Pocho's lineage, one could clearly see by family memorabilia that Pocho was in fact related to Julio Cortazar(Years ago, Pocho's Mom had put a pic of Julio Cortazar smoking a Galuoise in a frame and put that frame on a table with other pics of actual family members in Pocho's family). On his Father's side, Pocho's father had a cousin that was a hard-on academic and cultural attache to Indira Ghandi. She had done this in a po-dunk town in the province of Buenos Aires, at a time when the province of BA was where families had their little quinchitos. Julio Cortazar actually taught grammar school in that same po-dunk town; he probably wrote that letter to Borges while an inquilino of the peon-house of some moneyed family's quincho. But reading was an act that many people in Pocho's family did and Graciela's books were testament to that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


On the day that Wes set the fire at the Invincible Court, he was not high or drunk. His speech was not slurred, or his tongue mashed against the side of his mouth. He was a little tired because he could not sleep; the Marshalls were going to be knocking and knocking and eventually breaking down his door later on in the morning, so...The little sleep that he did get placed him in a dream that was both disconcerting and hugely entertaining; in fact, the real reason that Wes could not get to sleep was because he kept on playing the momentary dream in his movie theater head.

Because I could not peek at Wes' dream I can't really tell you what he dreamed. But by the look on Wes' face as he slept, I can guesstimate what it is he dreamed about. You see by nature, Wes is inclined with a mechanical ability, no an acumen. Wes' hands, those skinny legumes of adroit pressure and precision, are any machine's Kryptonite; there is not a machine built that can not be intuited by Wes. This skill came to him after a short stint in the Army, before the Vietnam War, when he was stationed at a base around Boulder City. At the base, he was a mechanic first class, but there wasn't an officer, screw, or grunt that hadn't come to him with a shiftless alarm clock or lazy-eyed watch, cannibalistic electric shaver.

But he got up as he planned, at 7 in the morning, and took the gas canister from the closet in his 1/1 hovel. He placed it at his feet and lit a Newport; besides tasting like cactus toothpaste, the cigarette was his first of the day and felt like that mythological first cigarette all smokers chase. Wes threw the sheets on the futon spine and clamored over several bike skeletons in his hallway. He was the bike man in Harlem and people from as far as Rucker came to him so that he could fix their bike. He had garnered quite a reputation and people often payed him with dime bags and coke battleships, the occasional rock or two. And some people were just too far gone to be able to offer Wes something that he could use. So more often than not, he just kept the bikes from people who couldn't pay. Eventually, he would strip those bikes to repair the bikes of people who could pay. It is in this way that his house resembled a bike mausoleum.

And one of the reasons why he thought that the only solution to the Marshalls that were fast approaching through time and space was to torch the Invincible Court.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Segundo was ornery and caustic by nature. There was something in him that did not want to conform, despite his great adherance to the tenets of Discipline. Maybe it was the Puerto Rican in him, the goat by the horns mentality; the fact that Puerto Ricans can eat glass if they want and not bleed on the inside. The fact that they were dealt a less fortunate hand than blacks because their slavery had continued to this day because their sovereignty still rested in the hands of the United States government.

So Segundo boxed. He didn't make a career out it or anything. Boxing coaches make even less than poets, and there are so many boxers that the chicken dinner is certainly with poets, if one had to choose. But Segundo's world was devised of toppling obstacles and putting oneself in the trajectory of training that would prepare you for almost anything, except maybe an auto-confrontation. That is, the demon that you can humanize through the tenets of Discipline and Athletic Asceticism.

During the day, Segundo worked at Montefiore as an addiction therapist, meaning he dealt with the dregs, and the poorest dregs at that. He dealt with the dregs but more than not the dregs dealt him forceful jabs. For instance, only last week a a Puerto Rican Golden Gloves champ was gunned down in Brooklyn for wanting to fight fair. And then there was the administration. How administration can be so out of touch with the people that provide services in the name of that organization. It was made him leave Bronx/Lebanon General in the 80's for something a little more stable and visible. He went with Montefiore and had been with the hospital chain since the 90's, right after the scourge of Crack had become manageable again in the city.

Even though Segundo was 58, he taught three classes of boxing at the Harlem Y and swam masters on the nights he didn't have boxing. Sunday mornings he could be heard straight throughout the building yelping at his students to "Lunge!," with their attack foot or "Back!" onto their anchor leg. He had a Brillo fade and hammerhead targeting shoulders, a moustache and three o'clock shadow, and walked with his frame in some Tai Chi Architecture of big dick and larger than life ness. You could tell that Segundo hadn't had a women for months, but heaven help the Dominican potra that he could lure to his apartment; she would be fucking a steam engine, a steam engine with a fade.