Vincent Toro

Toro Afropunk


Vincent Toro holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Poetry from Rutgers University. Vincent is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, The Beatrice Hawley Award, and the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize. He is a 2014 Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellows and winner of the 2011 Metlife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Award. His poems have been published in Rattapallax, The Paterson Literary Review, Vallum, Bordersenses, Kweli Literary Journal, The Buenos Aires Review, and in the anthologies Coloring Book: An Anthology of Multicultural Poems and Stories, Saul Williams’ CHORUS, and The Waiting Room Reader II. He lives and teaches in the Bronx with his wife, punk poet and scholar Dr. Grisel Y. Acosta.

Cabo Rojo 

Panorama of lush hammocks,rocking
chairs mingling with untamed Flamboyans.
Maybe a radio dispatching static, an accent 

of claves and splintered oxcarts combed over
with weeds. Maybe sticks sprout from patches in
the backyard to mark where the caña has been

buried. El faro chaperones the salt flats. Stillness
reigns over the cove. There is motion only when
a glass runs empty, a bladder is full, a fishing rod 

twitches.  The air is syrup poured over bronze skin.
Maybe a scruffy Labrador paws innocuously
at the sand. The hills call the shots. They remain 

unmentioned, maybe like a Chagall unfinished.
Time is given to strangers with an ambiguous smirk.
Viejitos in the bar bark about lost loves and lost 

cock fights, recite speeches from Albizu about unfair
trades with uninvited guests. Half heard cantos
are pinched like a half smoked cigar and stuffed 

into the pocket of a tattered guayabera. There
is a hole in the roof left by the last hurricane
leaking new trends from the north onto casita 

floors. Casinos cramp the horizon like a gordito
on a crowded bus. A desperate breeze dries
the towel dangling from a vacant beach chair.

The natives sleep suspiciously, dreamless
as the algae glows below them. A jet ski slices
the bay where carrucho is mustered for tonight’s 

mofongo. Mangos plummet like illusions
from the kinky hair of a schoolboy whose

sandlot has just been replaced by a strip mall.

The Inscrutable Art of Bootstrapping




  1. v. To help oneself. To not rely on another or ask for a handout. To toughen up and deal with the
    problem on your own. To know there is no one to depend on. You got to do it
     yourself, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps
    , as they say.


  1. v. To remodel a Caribbean island into an industry. To convert jibaros into assembly line
    products. To break in a horse. To potty train the landscape. To vaccinate. To anesthetize. To
     repackage a population. To eradicate autonomy, force feeding a codependence on foreign
    economies through deletion of ecology and language. -Also see Operation Bootstrap, Puerto
    Rico, 1954-Present


  1. v. To devise a complex computer system from a simple set of coded symbols. To create a vast
    universe from a mere handful of raw materials. To be crafty and resourceful. To create a new
    language from the remnants of an obsolete one. To make a whole lot of something out of
    nothing, like using 36 chromosomes to build a man.


  1. v. To use the master’s table scraps to expand these quarters. To undo the done by applying
    twenty-six letters or less. To make one remark to spark revelation. To conduct reconstructive
     surgery with a butter knife. To freeze the flow of access to the entire eastern seaboard from a
    secondhand laptop. To turn two coconuts into a short wave radio, like shaping sand and rocks
    into a cosmopolis. To commit sorcery. To use two sticks to ignite the flame for feast.



© The Acentos Review 2014