All posts tagged: Puerto Rico

Ask a Local: Ana Teresa Toro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

palm trees

Your name: Ana Teresa Toro

Current city or town: San Juan, Puerto Rico

How long have you lived here: With the exception of two years in Spain, I’ve lived in Puerto Rico almost my whole life. I was born and raised in the center of the island, in a small town called Aibonito.

Three words to describe the climate: 
Tropical, Hot, Lush (You are going to be hit hard by humidity the moment you walk out of the airport, but then, you will feel the caress of the sun and the wind, and maybe of the rain as well. Also, we are obsessed with air conditioning, so you could go from sweating profusely to freezing in minutes). Also, as Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Cien años de soledad portrayed, in the Caribbean we are still obsessed with ice. Months after the hurricane —when it was really a necessity and we waited 6 or 8 hours in line to buy it— this is still a thing. Ice: the ultimate great thing.

Best time of year to visit? Christmas season (In the island it lasts 50 days and the weather is amazing, but besides that the whole country experiences a feeling of constant celebration during those festive days that start just after Thanksgiving and extend until mid-January when we celebrate Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, a popular festivity with a bit of the experience and feeling of a carnival. We also celebrate the Three Kings Day on January 6th, and share lots of “arroz con gandules”, “pasteles”, “lechón asado”, and our beloved “pitorro.” Most of it made by our mothers and grandmothers.)

Debbie WenAsk a Local: Ana Teresa Toro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Coloso

By HUGO RÍOS CORDERO

In the same way that some structures carry time on their shoulders, we too want to observe its traces. Every place, of course, has anchors that halt time as it passes by. In Europe, the huge cathedrals are mute and impotent witnesses of history. Likewise, the old sugar mills of Puerto Rico remain to remind us of an era that, while gone, is still harbored within them. These metal monsters, abandoned to their rusty luck, become sanctuaries of memory. The mill Coloso, one of the last of the dying titans, is now only a grey silhouette lost in the green and twisted landscape of the valley.

Isabel MeyersColoso
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Psyhi mou

By ADRIANNE KALFOPOULOU

“…to feel at home nowhere, but at ease almost everywhere.”
Georges Perec

“You need to be able to receive beauty.”
Katerina Iliopoulou

I

I am on the island of Patmos for Easter. Though I haven’t come for the holiday specifically. It so happens I’m off from work because it’s Easter, arguably the most important event in the Greek holiday calendar; Christ’s birth the less celebrated event as compared to his death as necessary prelude to resurrection. Patmos, the island where St. John the Divine is said to have had his vision of the apocalypse, generally feels mournful this time of year. Not infrequently it will be a sun-splashed day anywhere else in Greece while here clouds gather in their overcast greys. I am not a believer, though I’m hard put to call myself an atheist. Perhaps agnostic, with its Greek root, is closest to describing my feeling — that is, gnōsis (knowledge), and so agnōsto (unknown) would make me a believer in the unknown.

Isabel MeyersPsyhi mou
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Poems from Puerto Rico: Mara Pastor

Poems by MARA PASTOR
Translations by MARÍA JOSÉ GIMÉNEZ

"De Puerto Rico: Un Ano Despues de la Tormenta"

 

Homage to the Navel

Navels end sometimes.
Before that happens,
the body draws a road
from the door
through which you will arrive
to the place of areolae
where you will calm your hunger.
Origin of anthill
of white light that from me
will return to you to teach us
that a navel ends
when another is
about to begin.

Whitney BrunoPoems from Puerto Rico: Mara Pastor
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Sofa

By CEZANNE CARDONA MORALES

Translated by CURTIS BAUER 

 

My parents conceived me on a sofa in a department store. My mother worked in the underwear section and was a second-year nursing student. My father worked in the household appliances, hardware, and gardening section, and was a fifth-year social sciences student. They’d hardly been dating a month, and they’d never worked the same shift. Until that morning in May. No one saw them enter the warehouse holding hands—the store wouldn’t open to the public for another hour. No one heard them either, despite the fact that the sofa still had a plastic covering on the cushions to protect it from any stains. The sofa was more cream than yellow; it had solid wood legs and fit three people comfortably. Though my parents didn’t intend it, that morning there were already three of us.

Debbie WenSofa
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Tonight, the Wind

By HUGO RÍOS CORDERO

The first empty ring echoed all over the room. Since we had left the island, the phone-bridge had been an effective method to recover some of the sounds that, in their absence, made our exiled evenings emptier. But when they failed to answer, uncertainty and impotence took control. It was still early there. Only the low-pitch whistle of the still-weak wind caressing the tops of the palm trees, that ambiguous premonition that could sway either way. This time it would be real. But not yet.

Isabel MeyersTonight, the Wind
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We Used To Call it Puerto Rico Rain

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 in the ambrosial hour.

Blood pellets in the dusk & dashes of hail were perfect for finding new stashes; that is to say, visitations were never announced.

A broken umbrella handle posed a question by the day care center.

Avery FarmerWe Used To Call it Puerto Rico Rain
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The Burrow

By TERE DÁVILA

 

They started building right away, as soon as it was safe to go outside.

“I can feel them moving!” Cristina squealed, standing knee-deep in leaves.

“Their teeth tickle!” laughed Zoe.

Something had caught their attention as they searched for pebbles and twigs. They crouched amid the soggy storm debris, then sprang up, kittenlike, uncombed curls against the gray sky, chattering and unaware of my presence. But as soon as they saw me approaching they stopped and exchanged looks. Cristina bit her bottom lip and smiled, a small and well-calculated gesture of contrition designed to deflate a scolding, but Zoe, the eldest, fixed her eyes on me, and her body tensed. She seemed ready to run, like a surprised wild thing.

Isabel MeyersThe Burrow
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de Las Pisadas Del Insomnio / from The Footsteps of Insomnia

By ANA MARÍA FUSTER LAVÍN
Translated by JENNIFER ACKER

An English translation follows the Spanish.

Día 29 desde el huracán y sin luz.  Todavía las jornadas en mi trabajo, por la falta de energía, son más cortas. Mi oficina, a la que llamaba (y ya todas mis amistades conocían como) las catacumbas jurídicas, se perdieron, por lo que nos reubicamos en la biblioteca. Intento llegar lo más temprano posible, para traerle agua fría a mi querido amigo y colega Francisco, para preguntarle a los demás cómo están, si han dormido, a Pabsi si tiene gas y saber cómo siguen su mamá y Lalo (el gato), y a la vez contarles o contarnos todos a modo de terapia de grupo que seguimos a oscuras, que algunos no tienen ni techo, que el gobierno nos amputa las esperanzas en pequeños trocitos, que muchos se han ido, muerto, enferman, emigran, permanecen….

Avery Farmerde Las Pisadas Del Insomnio / from The Footsteps of Insomnia
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4,645+

By MARÍA LUISA ARROYO CRUZADO
June 2018

Ten months ago, rich Puerto Ricans & tourists had the means
to flee first after the hurricane. What about the average María y José?

Where are the names of the dead to make them more human?
Why do the deaths of these U.S. citizens matter less?

Isabel Meyers4,645+
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