Isa Guzman


Isa Guzman is a Boricua, Titere poet from Los Sures, Brooklyn. His work is dedicated to the education of the issues concerning Puerto Rico and its diaspora. Formerly a staff-writer for Centro: The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, he is now continuing is efforts on a grassroot level with his participation in programs such as SOPA (The School of Poetic Arts). He has published in several magazines, including: The Casita Grande Lounge, The Same Magazine, Symmtery Pebbles, Inclement Poetry, Shot Glass Journal, and Tribe Magazine. He was also the recipient of the The Edith Goldberg Paulson Memorial Prize for Creative Writing.    

Scarcity City (New York)

Start tearing down this city block by block, glass pane by glass pane: it’s over.

This experiment in anti-tribal living is over; this experiment in bone-and-carcass economy is over.

The flood waters are coming.

Tearful and full of skulls; full of plastic bags and zip ties; full of the rotting souls of fish: it’s over.

And let’s not leave any more of our footprints. The boroughs will be taken back by the Earth.

This artificial heaven, this luciferic heaven has gone on for too long.

We’ve made it ugly.

We’ve paved history in concrete and sold off the ghosts.

Jovial summers with salsa sunsets, the lost crack-hours of night, the persistent beat of vein highways: done.

Flood waters come to swallow up our blood.

The squalid and industrial memories of brick roads will erode into ancient cities.

Subway tunnels will attempt to swallow every drop, but eventually drown.

And us?

The rich and the landlords will run off first, but still dictate from afar – like they always do. Maybe lock us in our basements while the waters come. Maybe set fires to our homes and rent out the dilapidated waters. Maybe rent out our bodies to roaches – like they always do.

But it won’t last.

Tragedies run deep in water, and revolt is just a single layer under that.

Let the faded voice of Hector Lavoe purify the air:  burn away, with passion, the last of the city’s smoke. Let the poetry of Julia de Burgos shatter the last of these glass towers in a beautiful drunken rage. Let the ashes of Miguel Pinero and John Rodriguez regather to turn these waters into an empty page.

That page will tell you everything you need to know about this artificial scarcity.

It takes a people’s love to make any ruin rise into its full potential, and it takes an ounce of greed to take it all away.



Llamando a Titi

Titi, I know you can’t understand me,
but listen, please, there are a few things
I need to say. Thank you for taking my
call. I knew when you were picking
the gandules from their pods that our
futures would be an open casket.
Your blind eyes spoke more volumes
than burnt moons in Boriquen sky.
I remember the last moment I said
goodbye and you kept staring straight
at those hills as if you could see the tears
that would spill over and roll down them.
Titi, sometimes I wish I wasn’t yours,
so you would never have had to feel
the pain of disconnect before the rapture.
I stand here struggling in your absence
to understand the soil of your body.
I stand here a body full of memories
and regret; a man who just wanted to say:

                                    Titi, bendición.

© The Acentos Review 2017