The Acentos Review



(PR / NY, summer 09) 


Now watch me as I trip. Tripartite. The blood. The wail. The scar parts. Rootless, yo, before the age of routers. Yo mismo fui. Rooting for sun in the gray snow. The potted palms in frozen cities. El salmo sin salida. Sin saliva. The sin of looking back. And missing the road before me. Eroding expanse. Can              homelands stand, or must they fizzle into mindscape? Now that mothers live alone and lean against the verandas of endless summers, trying to resist nostalgia (the passing of time in Time-Life classic 80s soul collections and confections), where is our birthright, our connection to skin? What do we have but pop cult flotsam, sampling ringtone beats and boasts? (“Yo no soy, solo floto-- mi flow ignoto ignites the neurons: identity's remainder. I dent y tú?”) Perhaps the skin is in the synapse. The rest is skeleton and scansion. They say my drive is low on memory (the coat racks and 8-tracks of childhood filed away under “missing”). But I'm on the way back to beachfronts that birthed us (you know, the ones with Pizza Huts and zinc roofs side by side?) Besideness is the only way. No soundtrack b-sides. No fries with that. No bio. The bio-logical family's deposed. We're no longer “nucular.” Now angles of sunlight stand for belonging. The island's blurred. The city's gassed. Pero nos queda el goce de estar vivo (contented contigo y con Tivo). Here, in Buzz-Lite City, all meals are to go. All poets are goateed and blogging to the ether (net cables of oblivion). Staring at ombligos (their own and others'). Otherwise occupied with staving off the loneliness. Of living in corporate bones. Awash in 80s reunion specials. The way it never was. Awash in Swatch. With no past except as fall: as injury. Where is home now? Home is what you can't flip (no switch, no script, no beachfront condo). You come up only with platitudes cribbed from postcards: lampposts, boulevards, governors' mansions with mango trees. The front of manicured yards turned to shards. Come up only to breathe. Turn to neighbors (made-up) in beds (unmade) and ask yourself: what now? This is not my island and I am no man yet. Still a child. Tanta luz. La que no se ve entre tanto gris. Don't call me out for failing to remember. I'll call you instead. Mi gente'll call tu gente. (No solo. No Lavoe in Guitar Hero.) We can talk about what to forget next. What to forgo. Foreground rhythm. Siempre son. If you forget faces, maybe words will lead you back. To truer senses. Maybe just fences. (Pickets not pictured.) Un poquito de fractura. Here, in Buzz-Lite City, memoriam's manufactured. And you know there never was an “in.” Where to begin then? Man, you're fucked if you think there is a method. Forget the scenery. Only unseen now. Tap into synapse and skin... and ask around: This road leads, dónde? Nadie responde. Write this one down (against Baudelaire): correspondence can only be picked up... far away from home. In a mesh of your own making. Waking up to trees. After the tremors. 


Some people view nation-building as a private experience

While others shop at Publix;

The rumor of the passing days

Is a blip on a GPS screen. 

Who’s landscaping the natives’ houses

While they’re buying up more houses to build up portfolios,

Holding back the dawn with more televised poker

Unaware that they’re drawing dead? 

The evening hemorrhages onto remodeled porches

In subprime-lender subdivisions:

The infidelity investments, the downloadable ennui,

More muted humming after the era of the lyric sheet. 

Inexplicably, like sitcom personae,

They’re running out of running gags and spit-takes,

Trying to come to terms with the otherness of self,

The shelf life of power,

The faces of the others bleeding through screen doors. 

They say “Could it be that the invasion has begun?”

But don’t they see the beauty in our disembodied yearning

For and far away from home? 

They can’t stop the rants of the new town crier,

They can’t muzzle the muezzin, his glottal glyphs, 

A new American language, a new experience of “ours” and “shared”

Beyond the time-shared hours.  

Some say that borders were made to be crossed

While others say that profits were made to be doubled

But those who don’t say are our only true prophets,

Our tongue-tiers, our double-crossers.  

God bless the workers who are making history

Unsaying it, de-stationing the nation,

Disarming its grimace, reraveling its fabric,

First travelers in unforgiving landscapes. 


Two Poems

Urayoán noel

Urayoán Noel is the author of Boringkén (Ediciones Callejón, 2008), Kool Logic/La lógica kool (Bilingual Press, 2005), the artist’s/object book Las flores del mall (Alamala, 2000, 2003), and the performance dvd Kool Logic Sessions (Bilingual Press, 2005). A contributing editor of Mandorla and a board member of Acentos, he recently co-edited The Portable Boog Reader 4, and is currently completing a book on Nuyorican poetry as well as various analog and digital translation projects. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he is Assistant Professor of English at the University at Albany, SUNY.