Alberto J. Montero


Alberto J. Montero is a practicing medical oncologist, and received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Galveston, respectively. His passions include poetry, fiction, philosophy, and photography. His creative writing has been previously published in other journals.

Hazards of Living in America


I. Don’t go to Honduras

This was advice (unsolicited)

given “freely” to me from


crime statistics were cited and invoked

from the Gospel of

Time magazine

incense burned

Tegucigalpa is murder central

second only to San Pedro Sula,

also in Honduras!

I have heard this before

“don’t go to….


this was murder central back in 2000

the whole country,

from Caribbean coast to Amazon rainforest

and, yet I lived to write about it


II. Tegucigalpa

Tegus was of course no war zone

not Iraq or Syria or

even south side Chicago

corrupt police in Honduras bought with

American drug money

some parts of Tegus are forgotten,

but they don’t go so quietly

corrugated colonias

on a mountain side,

filled with disposable people

condemned to a life of poverty and ignorance,

but those well-manicured politicians forget

that the forgotten

have long memories,

they want to live

and their instincts won’t let them go quietly

part of the hazards of living

in Tegus

hence, guns everywhere!

in plain sight

even at the Chinese Honduran restaurant

doorman gave me a kindly shot-gun greeting

guns are merely a symptom

violence in America Latina

is effect, not cause.

Newton’s 3rd law—

an American shoves cocaine up his nostrils in Miami

50 dead killed in a Tegus barrio

no innocents

northern hands are tainted too

the hypocrisy is blinding

yet, life on the surface is normal in Tegus,

but the lines between rich and poor

cut like a surgeon’s scalpel

and open veins in America still bleed

part of the hazards of living.



III. Back in Cleveland

Radio in my car announces another black man killed by police

next hashtag meme

Sylville Smith

our next dot

stretching to Michael Brown and Eric Garner and beyond.

 “rioting in Milwaukee,” announcer goes on,

like reporting the weather.

nothing out of the ordinary here,

just part of the hazards of life in America

La tienda de la esquina 

The shoe repair man, greets me this afternoon with his melodious call—




in this way,


mender of soles raises me

like Lazarus

from my tropical tomb

of afternoon slumber



“we are out of café,” mi suegra

la doctora




off I straggle outside

eyes still heavy from my siesta



a la tienda de la esquina.


I’m greeted by little boy

sucking on a bon-bon bum

sitting in front of

Don Jose’s tienda


his face the color of rojo fresco

he is talking with his friend

echandose un lulazo



cara de rojo asks his friend

“a donde se fue tu taita?”

lulazo responds with a shrug



sounds of accordions wafting in the air throughout la Floresta

some prefer playing Diomedes,

others Carlos


Don José plays salsa Caleña in his store 



on a small table, some men of la Floresta talk about

women and fútbol

but the main event is drinking Aguila



vecino asks Don José “por una cerveza para el gringo”

politely I decline.

“la suegra” is waiting for the post-siesta café

Don José asks if I want to try “chanfaina”

he made it himself.

I settle for an empanada




Un billette de vente mil pesos I give to Don Jose

I get back my vueltas

plus “un mandado”

para la Doctora


I walk back down to the house

pass by dos perros chandosos running behind 

avocado vendor’s chorus



agua-cate , 


© The Acentos Review 2017