EDITORIAL CEREBRO PRESENTS
POETRY AND SHORT STORIES ANTHOLOGY
EDITORIAL CEREBRO PRESENTS
POETRY AND SHORT STORIES ANTHOLOGY
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD 2012 ÂŠ by Editorial Cerebro Book and cover design by Arvelisse Ruby (Brooklyn, NY) Cover logos by Daniel Ortiz (Santurce, P.R.)
Visit our website: http://editorialcerebro.tumblr.com
EDITORIAL CEREBRO is a literary collective which specializes in the publishing and distribution of books, chapbooks, both in print and online of short fiction and poetry. SOLDIERS OF THE WORD is a compilation of poetry and short stories in English and Spanish from writers and literature enthusiasts from around the world, it was edited and assembled by Arvelisse Ruby.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD La cotorra puertorriqueña by Araym Viviana En una casa de madera, encuentro una cotorra azul puertorriqueñade esas que no paran de hablar, como si te quisieran para solo para ella. Mi padre llega otra vez, me da un dulce me quedo con él. Me pongo ansiosa, necesito buscar esa cotorra que no para de hablar. La busco, la busco, silenciosa se esconde. En algún lugar lejos de la luz de la casa se esconde, el piso resuena más y más. ¡Oh, preciosa dónde estás! necesito tenerte para mi nada mas. Encuentro en el piso, una hoyo grande, profundo e insereno. Camino por el risco de la madera, paso a paso, como alertaestoy cagá pensando en ella. Llego a un montón de piedras, y para mi sorpresa, a lo último, veo un cojonal de cabezas, cotorras muertas, enterradas en el fondo, de esa negra cueva. -Luisa
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Me levanto en sombras by Araym Viviana Era el día en que toda mi mente se iluminó sola, sin nadie de frente aunque ahora no recuerdo bien ni como sucedió. Todo se uniómi cuerpo se sensibilizó, mi ojo se abrió. Ya no era la misma toda mi estructura quebró ahora cantaba libre en la bañera, con mi propia voz. Mi ansiedad se apagó esa confusión se derrumbó. Todo se hizo claro, pero ahora veo sombras y son las más oscuras del año.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Untitled I by Ela Flores Ain’t no point to living If you can’t make your own rules Ain’t no point to living If you’re a bird in a cage Ain’t no point to living If someone else planned your day Ain’t no point to living If you can’t make your own mistakes By being born I have the right To live my life, the way I see fit By being born I have the right To become my own being If you don’t like what you see Looks elsewhere; there are plenty of sights Don’t be so fixed on mine For its mine.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Baby Girl Blue by Ela Flores I knew a girl who smoked cigarettes on her own With lips you knew could bite Who drank her whisky on the rocks She wore a shield, an armor No one dared to penetrate But I was up for the adventure And what I found was slightly shocking A little girl stood there crying Big blue eyes that saw the world And scars so deep, she walked with a limp Terrified she said to me, “Please leave me be, you’ve no business here” I ignored her request This little girl was in need of help See the world might be big and scary And until you let your armor down You won’t really live Living makes you grow And you’ll be glad of this, you know
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Profile Picture by Miguel Lausell Metadata Hilvanada En un gravatar; Entramado de hipertextos —A spooling of lexias— Que pretende Reproducir, Simular, Construir, Deconstruir... Esta imagen no soy yo, Es el avatar de mi cuenta: “A Grotesque Surrogate Of Being” That dreads the possibility Of being a ‘one trick pony’.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Apología de un Hipster by Miguel Lausell Yo no escucho salsa, Me gusta Macabeo; Me importa un bicho el reggaetón, Bájamelo a 108 beats por minuto; Mejor Moombatohnero. El merengue no lo sigo; Prefiero a Rita Indiana, Esa muchacha es una jodienda. Mi iPod está algarete Y el rock se me queda en una muela —el post como prefijo lo adereza; Mejor folktrónica que folk; Indie y dream delante de pop. Ya no escucho hip-hop, A Hendrix lo quiero eléctrico, Lo-fi y chamánico; Dámelo Santo y Asesino —mejor Gonjasufi que Jay-Z. Springsteen y Bono están chochos —mejor Arcade Fire como héroes, Mejor Biophilia que Monster, Mejor Björk que Gaga. II Sé que nada es nuevo; Sé que las re-lecturas proveen La ilusión de la innovación. El update es el paradigma. Quiero pisar los talones del trend, Montarme en el vagón Más vacío del tren; Sentarme con hobos cínicos Que comparten mi ansiedad Por coleccionar; sentarme
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Con aquellos que no temen Al Brave New World — a lo efímero como Normatividad... III My condition is a perennial Contradiction; my being, A bulging hard-on That gets off when the phrase “You’re so mainstream” Is uttered.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Hipotermia by KD Gutierrez
Cuando los centígrados descienden los cuerpos los bordes de las cosas comienzan a perder forma se desdoblan las esquinas solo ruidos blancos temporada de eclipses En ese instante vacío harto de mudez sin sombra para abrigarse el destierro sin aliento para hacerle figuras al frío volvemos a los puentes Calibrar máquinas de tiempo que nos devuelvan las alas Cosernos máscaras humanas que disimulen pasaportes Desde las alcantarillas que encierran los sueños; nuestros cadáveres tiemblan exculpando motivos El agua se come los pulmones los ríos esconden el vértigo las colillas agonizan en escaleras de escape Ya se desprende la inocencia de las manos emana penumbra de las entrañas
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD es el cambio de condición que produce roturas ¿Cómo se siente la ciudad desde el fondo? ¿Cómo el peso de los huesos taladrando el agua? Caer hasta conocer los límites
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Sebastián con una pluma by KD Gutierrez
soñé con un joven de pelos largos y pecho plumífero. él llevaba una capa dorada que le concedía volar. se arrancó un pluma y la puso en mi cabeza. ¿qué es un beso?sino quietud en movimiento. enhebro esa tarde de lenguajes inventados, sus formas para aprender a dormir abrazado a otra persona, su luz aclarando las pupilas que son el puente junto al joven de las mil caras. y aún deseo nuestras pieles novicias y la mariposa en tu abdomen hiriendo mis labios casi tocando el cuerpo que tenía esa tarde.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Compliments to my Tasty Onion by Noah Cicero
That first night when I met you you wouldnâ€™t talk to me or look me in the eye I thought she is so weird I have to have her
Remember when you tumbled for me in the snow I fell in love with you that night
I like spooning you, putting my hand on your tiny flat belly sometimes I accidently tickle you and it pisses you off really bad
I like when you spoon me your little arm and hand on my not so flat belly
a lot of times when I spoon you your big hair gets in my nose but I donâ€™t tell you
EDITORIAL CEREBRO because I think it would mess up the mood I only think about having sex with other women once every two weeks like yesterday when I was in the Japanese Restaurant the server was really weird looking and kind of turned me on
I like that you have dark brown hair and olive skin tone which is your Slovian/Italian side and then you have freckles which is your Scottish side feel like I have a truly American girlfriend and it is hot
sometimes you call me an idiot and notify me I do not know how to brush my teeth or properly park a car you are the only person that calls me an idiot thatâ€™s how I know thatâ€™s why you are my tasty onion
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD i don’t understand interpretive dance by Kevin Cole
i don’t understand interpretive dance but i like to watch people move through the city and imagine how they’ve disappointed their loved ones and speculate as to which bystander they’re planning on murdering.
it’s pretty obvious, we’re all killing one another (slowly). [don’t say that. you know i hate it when you say that.] [what?] [you always drag the rest of the world into it.] [oh.]
let’s just continue to undermine our own ambitions so we can be equals through our failures. [that’s awful. i’m not going to fail.] [oh.]
EDITORIAL CEREBRO a voyage of discovery by Kevin Cole
a sole digit sliding along your topography. we are two sovereign states,
attending a banquet to enhance bilateral relations and i am the first diplomat of foreign sentience. you are greeting me with your lips. you’ve decided that we don’t come in peace after all, and you tear me to shreds with your biting teeth. i am a crying cowboy and you are tending to my wounds creating a radiant warmth on my neck. my hands are dueling 20th century explorers. your eyes won’t stop teaching me, and i am two attentive pupils.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Brief encounters with lovely strangers by Sarah San
with a hello, we mean goodbye. let us keep things brief and detach ourselves. meet me on the surfaceget to know me at face value. it’s safer this way. and I don’t want to come off as ungrateful because a moment, to feel, in itself is refreshing. even if it was short. every encounter feels endearing. every second feels genuine. it could be due to my imagination and the perception that the first “good” thing to come, never was, never will be, truly good forever. So I stay prepared, always, for bitter endings. Yes, these things happen and yes, we carry on. that’s it. Accept the situations: in essence this is existence.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Distortion by Sarah San
I can speak with certainty even when I am uncertain, but my face will still display my true emotions and intentions.Â I can say anything I want through these illuminatedÂ screens with a sense of water down purpose and detachment. With my face squished up, relaxed, or twisted.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD how to cook a toy pony by Mark Baumer
I once lived in a house with two refrigerators. One of the refrigerators had normal food. The other refrigerator was filled with toy ponies. Every morning some guy took one of the toy ponies with him across town where he met a bald man in a vacant lot. The two men would look at each other all day. Neither man ever blinked. At five oâ€™clock, every day, the bald man would take out a pocketknife and lift his shirt. He stomach was filled with old and fresh wounds. He used the pocketknife to add another tally to his chest. The other guy would leave the toy pony in the vacant lot and walk home. When the bald man was alone in the vacant lot he would bend down and kiss the toy pony and then leave the vacant lot. When both men were gone the toy pony mutated into a lead penny. At six oâ€™clock, a young African American boy would find the lead penny in the vacant lot and feed it to his sister. She was a gumball machine. After dinner the African American boy would chew gum until it was time to go to bed while his sister would play with her new toy pony.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO everyone’s a hairy snowman by Mark Baumer
Her left nipple had an inch long hair extending from the side of it. She was drinking from a cup of butterflies. I looked at my arms. They were twigs. I was melting. She gave me a hug and said, “You’re father died last night.” I dropped out of prep school and moved to Europe. The second world war had not quite finished. A kind boy from my calculus class forwarded me the homework and said he was dating the cup of butterflies. I wrote a letter to the inch long hair extending from her left nipple. I told the hair I was still melting, but that I was properly burying my melted parts each day. She emailed me back and told me to grow facial hair. I tried very hard to grow facial hair, but I only continued to melt. The social change within Europe made it tough to concentrate on calculus. One of my twigs fell off. I tried to find a restaurant that sold American cheese, but I only found a single yellow automobile parked in the middle of a cattle field. The automobile looked like a dodge stratus, but I had entirely melted by then so I was not quite sure what I was seeing.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD his great grandfather passed away three days ago by Justin Hyde
he took the news with theoretical stoicism (he didnâ€™t know the man that well)
didnâ€™t even recognize the picture in the obituary as we ate breakfast this morning.
i read it out loud.
he listened with the schizophrenic patience of a five year old until i mentioned his own name in the list of surviving family members.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO he didnâ€™t believe it was in there until he traced over it with the little nub of his index finger.
i-v-a-n, he sounded out each letter carefully.
he stared over it a long time -
death blossoming into a living organism.
mommy i want my mommy! blurting white faced
he began to cry.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD three days now by Justin Hyde
the young praying mantis has been studying the topography of my apartment millimeter by millimeter looking for an escape hatch.
his long front legs end in filaments thinner than the finest paint brush:
he works them
out and back
steady measured arcs like a master fly-fisher.
i lean over watching him probe up the window sill:
EDITORIAL CEREBRO he turns his alien head towards me briefly
then back to the task at hand.
heâ€™s got more finesse and grace of character than any thirty of you iâ€™d hit tossing a soup can out my third story window.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD I have a right one, I have a left one by Eddie Jones
look at my big arm! now look at two of them!
together they can move any number of boxes
and are bigger than a mountain any mountain even one fitted with an antenna spire
in hopes of capturing a world record
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Prophecy by Arvelisse Ruby
Here I am Refusing to let go Digging into my stomach with my bitten nails, deeper into it to take out my other self so I wonâ€™t ever go running towards you. Some liquid comes out of me but itâ€™s not blood or tears or water or cum Is nothing, just liquid, maybe my other self, fuck. I see your face when I close my eyes and I just want to dig my face into the pillow and survive or at least try. Silence never felt so bad Silence never felt so bad Silence was my favorite sound Until I became it and my hands became bruises. Now I hold your mouth into my gut, please drink from it drink from it And let me go.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD EVERY TIME I HEAR MY OWN VOICE I JUST WANT TO SPEAK LOUDER TO DAMAGE MY VOCAL CHORDS AND NEVER HEAR MYSELF AGAIN by Arvelisse Ruby There are only 60 dollars left in my bank account, the consequence of not listening to any advice regarding savings, bank accounts, and to stop hiding my money under my mattress, which I have never stopped doing, even after many stories about burnt houses, failed marriages, and death.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Blanco Perla by Tania Colón Morales Que diamantes ni que brillo tampoco amigos. El libido infalible de una mujer está en las perlas, las cuelgan entre sus pechos, y dice con orgullo “pechos no, tetas”
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Siempre menguante La despedida antes de tu carta by Tania Colón Morales Lo peor de todo es tu silencio. No hay nada de ti, ni tu voz en el contestador automático. Se aleja cada vez más nuestro lazo, se desmorona. Solo queda el Atlántico, que me cubre, me ahoga con su azul, que nunca será como un cielo Andaluz Quiero que sea pasado entero, cuando te deje en una gaveta. ¡Sal! Solo queda la desnudez de las palabras, la rapidez del tiempo que nos aleja El sol del invierno es tuyo, sin reflejo, sin calor, tu frío se lo lleva todo. La media sonrisa, esa luna siempre menguante con un brillo mate y lustroso. Húyeme como al mar y la arena como a los instintos profundos. Solo seremos otra canción, otro rió hondo. Hoy vistes con color gitano, con tu casual desdén. ¿Hay algo más que dar? ¿o algo más que ver? Desde acá, solo existirá lo que no quiero de ti, la figura marginada en el centro, la pasión de tu silencio.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO on strangers by Nicole Fraticcelli
He would rather keep it rather simple, but truth implies a secure effortless transaction from the invisible thread that unites our alternate versions of existence straight to flesh and dirt and scruples; that which could be easily negated with swift hammered blows.
i know you’re the one by Nicole Fraticcelli
bloody mary body bag left behind the auto-mat coins hang loose change lights come on cats keep coming in
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Arequipa, Perú. by Alejandro Jorge
Ella trabajaba en una juguetería, a dos cuadras de la facultad donde estudiábamos. Yo iba a buscarla a la salida, o al mediodía, y tomábamos un helado en el patio de la facultad. Durante todo el primer mes de ese otoño no hubo ni una nube. Ella pedía crema del cielo, o menta, todo el helado entero de un solo gusto y usaba pantalones rosa, con borceguíes, o unas zapatillas blancas con rojo, y por las noches minifaldas. La mayor parte del tiempo la besaba o la escuchaba hablar. Me ponía sobrenombres, cosas que quedaban en mi cabeza durante el resto de los días.
Venezia, Italia. by Alejandro Jorge
Vendimos una casa y decidimos vivir una primavera en Venecia. Alquilamos un departamento sobre uno de los canales de agua y compramos una góndola, yo remaba mientras la miraba tomar sol. Por la tarde caminábamos por los corredores muy angostos que unen el interior de las manzanas. Yo solía ir a misa, sólo para comulgar, no entendía el italiano. Ella coleccionaba máscaras y reía por mis actos religiosos, era atea practicante.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Meet me at Wien Westbahnhof by Yasmine Stella Ledeé
I lost the day. Borealis. Lost Borealis. Lost again. Is this Love? My love. Tell me when you’ve seen my life, tell me if you’ve seen me watching my eyes. Torn, Torn. Tell me where you have seen my life, only one. There’s dust ahead. There’s light again. Rush, rush, and push it again. Tell me where you have gone. Where have you gone? Oh, my lost love. Tell me what you have done with my things, with my light. Suddenly, I have seen what’s ahead. Turn away, leave me alone. I’ve seen it in my sleep. He’s asleep. I can’t wait, my love. It’s so close. I will, my love. I can search and rejuvenate myself. It’s a secret, it’s so even, it’s so tight. I lost, my love.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Vida by David Barliza Colorado
El poder de lo prohibido de lo podrido de lo jamás dicho de lo siempre sentido me mueve me guía me da vida en cada pequeña muerte me cuida… Me enseña que la existencia es más que seguir reglas que el amor no vive de certezas que dios no habita en ninguna iglesia y que el diablo hace parte de la naturaleza
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Hemorragia labial by David Barliza Colorado
Sangra, labio sangra Sangra tras un beso apasionado adolorido, herido, perdido entre días que se fueron entre versos lentos entre lluvia tímida y fría entre noches de lunas rotas entre ojos mojados y la incertidumbre de las despedidas Sangra, labio sangra Tras el recuerdo sí… Tras el paso de las afiladas hojas del recuerdo sangra…
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Untitled by Gabby Gabby
On the ledge adjacent to a soccer field I sit next to my phone and watch it ring four times. A tanned bro throws a Frisbee like every motion is a still frame. Arm extends (pause) Fingers curl to prepare to grasp the plastic lip of the Frisbee (pause) Skin to plastic contact (pause) Catch Arm retracts (pause) Arm extends (pause) Fingers uncurl in preparation (pause) And release. His feet pad the mudded grass in tiny steps. He seems to be ‘revving up’. My mouth feels dry and I feel like I deserve it. ‘How long have you had these symptoms’ All of my life, probably.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO I feel very depressed that I’m not making any money. I am the smallest diamond in terms of the workplace. ‘How much does it cost to fly to California?’ A couple is having a conversation while holding soft pretzels: ‘Stop you’re scaring me you’re screaming.’ ‘This is just the way I talk’ The tanned bro is still ‘revving up’ I think.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Five Day Locker Piece (1971) by Gabby Gabby
I like your afternoons.
Through the window there is laughter and sun prisms in the trees.
‘It’s so gross and hot in here.’ ‘Open the window’
The laughter is amplified. Trucks crunch gravel.
I’m sitting on my bed eating ramen noodles. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. I’ve been eating them dry though, like chips.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Phantom Sundays by Julia Kapetanov
rising like a birthday balloon weeks old falling into laps laptops charging sucking energy from eyeballs sleep sleeping all day on and off bedroom doors shut locked pillaging rummaging worn clothes for filthy coins no money here or food to share secondhand fans cooling shifting dust in the air lime melting mojito on the marble thick fingers on roast beef keyboards dirty as a mind divided by conversations endless ringing crying friends paintÂ on the carpet on the floor an old bag from long john silverâ€™s
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD Fear I Will Not Sleep Tonight by Julia Kapetanov
I fear I will not sleep tonight and neither will I rest as streaming thoughts trudge through my head and trickle down my breast. I cannot write, I cannot dream, I cannot count the sheep. My thoughts and words: a disconnect I’ll try to make some tea. But it’s no use— I’ve lost my strength and my eyesight, too. I tumble down a rolling hill, land in a field of dew. Sleep, oh sleep, how I’ve missed you
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD
EDITORIAL CEREBRO A Taxi Ride to the Hotel written by Gustavo Rivera At the baggage claim in the Dominican Republic, I asked my mother, “¿Y las titis?” She didn’t say anything for a little bit. She slightly lowered her face. She said, “Te esperaba para decirte. No viene nadie. Olivio murio en Colombia.” Olivio was my uncle who had married one of my aunts, Santa, and with her had had one child, my cousin, Paulo. Olivio was from Chile but had left during Pinochet’s reign to travel through Latin America. For some reason he had decided that Puerto Rico was the country he wanted to adopt as his surrogate mother. Slowly, I’ve constructed a conception of my family’s history by stapling snips of information collected from various random conversations with many different members of my family since I began to care about my family’s history and now. Olivio and Santa’s story is just a part of a collection of representation I’ve been able to produce. During the 70s, Olivio had owned a bar in Old San Juan, and my aunt used to hang out in this bar. For a while they had been inseparable, my aunt dismissing all of her other lovers. But once they had tried to settle down, instead of drinking and partying, how they had first gotten along, they realized that they didn’t really love each other the way needed for marriage. They did love each other, and they acknowledged this, but it was the love of emotionally connected siblings. They divorced but kept close. Olivio never returned to Chile. He went from temporary job to temporary job, and Santa calmed down and became a lawyer. In this separated way, they raised my cousin, Paulo. He always lived with my aunt, but I cannot remember any time when Olivio wasn’t around. While this way of life was happening for my aunt, cousin, and uncle, my mother, Sabada, had moved to New York, where she got a job as a kindergarten teacher. My father had been the director of this school, and they had fallen in love. My mother eventually returned to Puerto Rico with me and my younger sister. Her sense of diasporic solitude had been
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD sharpened as she witnessed my father playing seesaw with a heroin habit. I was five when we returned to Puerto Rico, and I never saw my father again. My sister, Reina, still living in San Juan, was not coming to spend the winter holidays in the Dominican Republic with me. I was supposed to be meeting with Santa, Paulo, and my mother when I arrived. Now I was with my mother. We sat down on an unserviced luggage dispenser. I listened to her tell me about not having slept the night before, right after we had hung up, after we had both agreed that we were very excited to all be together the following day. My mother told me she had received a call at 12:30 am, which her phone registered as Santa’s number. My mother knew something was wrong. My aunt would normally be sleeping at that time. My mother had waited to see if she received another call, but then had felt desperate. She called Santa again and again. She had to redial many times until, finally, Paulo picked up. He told her to come over. Santa lay on her bed and wouldn’t speak. Paulo told my mother that the woman Olivio had gone to Colombia to visit, his current girlfriend, had called to tell them that Olivio had had a stroke. They were waiting for more news from her. The phone rang. My mother told me that Paulo picked it up, then he started yelling into the phone. “¿Qué?,” she told me. “No sé. No le entendía nada. Solamente sabía que había muerto. Hay dios mío.” He had dropped onto the floor, crying. My mother told me that from then on Santa would only say things like, “No puedo mas,” “No puedo perder mas,” “No quiero seguir viviendo si voy a seguir perdiendo,” and “No puedo.” Paulo was drinking. My mother was still talking to me while I put myself into my cousin’s position: not having any premonition of this upcoming moment, realizing that those weeks before his father had left had been the last moments he was to spend with him. What if my cousin had not said goodbye? I interrupted my mother. “I think I see my bag.” I walked to the rotator releasing the luggage which had been carried on my flight. I picked up my bag. I returned to my mother. We walked together, out of the airport. We went through immigration. While on line I heard the voices of Europeans, Canadians, lower and upper class Hispanics. We each paid twenty dollars for a tourist’s visa. After this there was a counter, and from this counter we were offered rum and coke. I had some.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO We were outside the airport, standing face to face; we had finally arrived with each other. It was sunny and dry, much different from my past few months, the mutated winter of North America 2011. I felt heavy. I wasn’t in Boston and didn’t have easy access to heroin. I’d be sick soon. My uncle was dead, and I knew he had been important to me. He was the father I got, if a father is necessary in these times anymore. My mother looked like she wanted to speak, but then looked like she wanted to cry. I put my arms around her and she said, “I miss her so much.” She was talking about Santa. They had always taken these types of trips together. Now she was just with me. We let go of each other and she moved on to the street. I thought to myself about how lucky I was to be displaced, because of my excusable distance. I could feel like I wasn’t hurt, though I was. I was just not as hurt as everyone else, but not because I had grown emotionally colder as I’d gotten older. I was not hurt as much because I didn’t live in Puerto Rico, and my reality was not my family’s reality. My reality was my reality and I shared it with no other. My mother was trying to negotiate with the taxi drivers. She’d tell them that she knew what the standard price for a ride from the airport to the hotel we were going to stay at was. But the taxi drivers refused to lower their bid. “Treinta dólares,” they said. My mother didn’t want to pay more than twenty-five dollars. “Si yo sé,” she said to me. “Me lo dijeron adentro del aeropuerto. Veinti-cinco dálares vale el pasaje al hotel.” “Está bien,” I said. “Yo lo pago.” I wanted to go somewhere. The taxi driver coordinator started talking to three different taxi drivers. It seemed like an infinite number of taxis were parked along this street along the airport. There were other parties of tourists. The coordinator and drivers were deciding who’d take who where. It seemed like we were almost sent off in a minivan for some reason. One of the drivers tried to take my bag from my hands. I didn’t let him. He took my mother’s bags and put them into the trunk of his taxi. I put my bag into the trunk of his car. We all got into the taxi, and the driver started on our way to the hotel. My mother spoke to me about things I don’t remember. I remember the broken roads leading to the hotel, the partially-built homes by the side of the road, some of them which were businesses, bars, food vendors, motorcycle dealerships. I remember dark skinned locals driving scooters on dirt roads parallel to the paved road we were driving on, passing under advertisements for the local politicians, white men and women. I
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD remember the drooping palm trees and the thick women walking barefoot among the tin-roofed shanties, children and elders looking and smiling out of missing window fixtures. My mother was still talking when we arrived to the hotel. I took my luggage out of the carâ€™s trunk, while the driver dropped off my motherâ€™s. I gave the driver forty dollars.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD “Black Rabbits and Bloody Chickens” written by Weston Auburn
I live in Greenpoint. I need my space. There is this urban legend that Greenpoint is hard to get to. It’s not. But I let the legend live on. Whenever someone asks me how I like Greenpoint, I say, “It’s wonderful, but it’s hard to get to.” I like having my own space. I like that the bar next door to my apartment, The Black Rabbit, is oftentimes empty when I go in during the week. I like that I can sit in the same booth each time and drink my beer and read and write and not be disturbed except for when I disturb myself and want another beer. And this is where the story starts, me sitting alone drinking my beer. A skinny kid walks in. He asks the bartender about the chicken slaughter across the street. “Hey man, I just checked out this apartment down the street. I really like it but I heard there is a chicken slaughter house somewhere on this street.” The bartender in the red hat, whose name I never learned because I’m shy or just don’t like people, tells him it’s across the street. “Is it bad?” The kid asks. The-bartender-in-the-red-hat rubs his chin and says “Nah.” I poke my head out and interrupt, “It’s horrible man. When I am walking home I hear the chickens’ screams. And sometimes you see feathers floating down the street no doubt stripped from the poor birds bodies just moments before.” I took a sip of my beer refusing to unlock my eyes from the kid. “It’s sickening.” The-bartender-in-the-red-hat and the kid just stared at me. I stared back. They broke their eyes away and the kid thanked the-bartender-in-the-red-hat quietly and left the bar. I felt like he should have thanked me. I was the one who gave the most information. The-bartender-in-the-red-hat asked me why I said that. I said, “I like my space.” I admired the-bartender-in-the-red-hat’s empty bar and sat back down in my booth and re-opened my book. A few pages and a few more beers later I walked out of the bar. Thebartender-in-the-red-hat wished me a good night and I returned the wish as I stepped into the almost autumn but still clinging to summer night. The air felt rusty and the sky was illuminated orange by the large city across
EDITORIAL CEREBRO the river. I pulled my collar up and walked towards my apartment. Standing there in a trance was the kid. He stared across the street at the chicken slaughterhouse.
“What’s up Doggie?” I asked as I stood and looked at the dark slaughterhouse across the street.
“Shh. I think I can hear the chickens.” I stood next to him and tried to hear. I heard nothing but my breathing and the rumble of trucks in the distance.
“I don’t hear anything,” I said. “Let’s get a closer look.” I walked across the street and the kid followed me. I put my hand on the door that read “Chicken Slaughter” next to the large gate where the trucks backed in. It was locked. I said, “It’s locked.” A red buzz of a brick flew past my head and broke the glass in the door with a large crash. The sign read “Chick-”. The “-en Slaughter” had fallen to the ground in a pile of broken glass. I turned around to ask the kid why but he was already running down the street. He disappeared as he flew down the steps to the G train.
I shrugged and turned back to the door. I thought I heard a cluck or two. I slipped my hand in the hole that the brick left and unlocked the door from the inside and slipped inside.
It was dark and stank like the kid Justin from 2nd grade who lived on a farm and smelled like manure every day at school. I hated him and my teacher for making me sit next to him. She must have known he smelled. Therefore she must have hated me because she made me sit next to him everyday knowing that I had to breath in his toxic farm fumes. In the darkness I felt for a wall to follow as I walked. I couldn’t find one. I thought I heard a scamper and felt something close to my feet. I walked back towards the door and found a wall. I felt the wall and found a light switch. I flicked it on.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD My eyes adjusted and there in front of me was a chicken. Frozen in her tracks she looked up at me with dumb beady blinking eyes. I heard a crash, and a little Mexican man came running around the corner of the warehouse, “Hey! What you doing here man?” I didn’t have an answer so I grabbed the chicken in front of me and ran back out the door that just read “Chick” and towards the east river.
I turned around and the Mexican man wasn’t following me anymore. They probably don’t pay him enough to follow chicken stealing writers like myself.
The chicken nipped at my wrist.
“Fucker.” I told her as I turned the corner to the deli and went in with my chicken. I asked the guy at the counter if he had a crate I could have. He looked at the chicken and then me. He wordlessly went into the back and brought out an orange crate. I put my chicken in it and thanked the man.
I left with my chicken and walked to the corner. Two cops in a cop car drove past on Manhattan Avenue. I turned my back to them.
“Neighborhoods hot Chick. Gotta’ get you out of here.” I whispered to my chicken. I took her down the steps of the G train and past the turnstile. We waited for the train.
My chicken seemed hungry so I dug in the trashcan and found a half eaten doughnut. I fed her blindly as I read my book on the bench. She seemed grateful as she plucked at the crumbs in the bottom of her cage. I told her it was my pleasure.
EDITORIAL CEREBRO The train came and we took it to Queens. We then transferred to the 7 and took it to Grand Central. I bought a ticket at the window to Montauk. I asked the woman, “Do you charge extra for Chickens?” She said, “What do you mean chickens?” I said never mind and thanked her for my ticket to Montauk.
We rode the mostly empty train. I held Chick’s crate on my lap so she could get a good look of the passing countryside. The train conductor punched my ticket and didn’t notice Chick. Chick didn’t notice him either so I thought it was fair.
I fell asleep to Chick nipping at my arms through the orange crate. I awoke a few minutes before Montauk, Chick still nipping at my now bloody arm. I cursed her. Then felt bad and apologized.
We got off at Montauk and walked to the beach. My arms were growing tired. I wished I had a leash so Chick could walk with me. I told her so. She didn’t seem to have an opinion.
We got to the beach and I slipped off my shoes. I opened the crate so Chick could run around. She looked at me for a second. I told her it was okay. She jumped over the crate onto the sand. She high stepped in the sand. We spent the early morning running around, me chasing her as she clucked and ran through the sand. It was a good morning I thought. I told Chick I was sleepy and laid on my back, my head propped on the crate. I told Chick to be careful as I pulled out a cigarette and lit it, letting the smoke enter my lungs and sleep overcome my eyes. I had just drifted when I awoke to a shriek.
I opened one eye then the other. I saw a big stupid looking dog, his jaws around Chick’s neck. Fucker. I dropped my now unlit cigarette into the sand and yelled at the dog that dropped Chick and hid behind his fat lady owner.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD “Why the fuck is there a chicken on the beach?” She squealed at me her hands holding her fat cheeks.
“To play in the sand obviously,” I replied as I scooped up Chick’s lifeless sandy body from the ground. I looked at the fat lady and her dumb dog, “Your dog should be shot.” My cheeks glistened in salty water that matched the ocean a few feet from where I held my bloody limp chicken. I walked to the water.
I dropped her into the ocean. I had calmed down a little as I let the waves lightly graze my thighs. I figured in the end this was a better way to go out. I let her body flow with the smooth Atlantic waves my hands dropping below her. This was much better than dying in the stank that reminded me of Justin from 2nd grade. At least here Chick could breath the salt in as she slowly sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic. It was a short but glorious life indeed.
I took the 7:35 AM train back to Grand Central. It was full of people on their way to work. I didn’t see any chickens but I wasn’t really looking either.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD La meada written by Camila Frías Estradas
Llueve demasiado como para salir a pasear el perro, aunque la mirada de Pancho le relata lo contrario y el movimiento de su cola agita una sorpresa que le espera sobre el césped del parque donde siempre corre, para luego desplomarse en el suelo y expresar esa sonrisa mágica y babosa que deja caer su larga lengua con lunares negros regados por el color rosa al cual sucumbe un ladrido hostil. Porque lamentablemente fuera del parque existe un mundo adverso, pero interesante, uno que hace millones de años exploró con otro grupo de humanos que no creían en el control de las sogas, pero sí en lo inesperado de la muerte. Después de fumarse dos cigarrillos, al leer la noticia sobre el ‘graffiti político’ sobre una tienda “elite” en Viejo San Juan, y el desplome ipso facto de la estrella de “Glee” en medio de una alfombra roja, Cristina decide pasearle.
Al salir a la calle-sauna de la urbanización, le sobrecoge un incómodo sentido de seguridad, ya no tiene 20 años pero aún no se encuentra ni cerca de los 30. “Será esa una razón por la cuál sentirme vieja?”, se pregunta al darle un halón a su labrador negro. No hace menos de un año en este preciso momento estaría fumando pasto con Lucía mientras veían el “Daily Show”. Minutos después comenzarían a darse unas cuantas beers, y ya para cuando finalizara el programa arrancarían en las bicicletas a buscar una aventura tierra que contar el día después, si es que el amanecer no les cogía en tan estúpida faena. Al espantar a la perra psicópata de la vecina, de su perro bobo que nunca percibe la mordida que viene tras los lamidos ensayados de “Cali” una Rottweiler hermosa, piensa en que todo el afán de ser amigas fue un desperdicio de dinero, el reírse no debe costar más de 5 pesos, y el discutir una idea no debe tomar más de 1 hora. Pero la súbdita desaparición de Lucy le provoca meditar diariamente cuán inmediato puede ser el pasado. Hace más de 8 meses que no sabe de su paradero para colmo no puede verificar la alta, jincha y peluda mujer en la
EDITORIAL CEREBRO Universidad ya que las dos se graduaron hace más de 2 años. Y la idea de aparecerse en la casa le parece de muy mal gusto ya que su familia debe sentir cierto alivio en el hecho de que han recuperado a la “buena nena”. Una que conoció en el segundo año en Comunicaciones, cuando no fumaba yerba, ni hacía escándalos en una que otra barra de Río Piedras. Esa que se transformó y que dedujo en una de esas noches que toda la parafernalia de ser puritana era un chiste de “Bienvenidos” para una mujer joven que se encontraba a punto de liberarse de las cadenas adventistas de su familia. “No fue un desperdicio de dinero, eres tan negativa a la hora de pensar las cosas como son…pero qué carajos significa como son si no sabes un puto carajo sobre lo que realmente es…quizá se dio cuenta que nunca supiste escribir su nombre bien….tan idiota tú, se escribe Luccia, no Lucía…”, se dice a si misma, mientras escucha a la dueña de la perra pedir disculpas por criar a tan consentido animal. Ahora que Pancho decide alzar la pata para mear, un bocinazo interrumpe la canción de “Stardust” que escucha en su Ipod. “Pensando en la Reina de Egipto”, le grita Cristina a la muchacha que ahora luce un afro más grande que el de hace meses atrás. “ ¿Todo bien?”, la bocina del carro de atrás se traga la pregunta, pero Cristina contesta de forma afirmativa. “Mira comenzaron los playoffs a ver si paso por tu casa…y sorry… pero me tengo que ir porque el cabrón de atrás me va a dejar sorda”, ella sabe que no la va a llamar, no lo ha hecho en 8 meses y menos ahora que comienzan las fiestas de la NBA en su casa. Lo cual significa, gritería, ron, celebración injustificada, peleas sobre el mundo artístico en la isla, y más allá de todo mucha mariguana de por medio para calmar el proceso de madurez por el cual pasa todo el corillo. “Dale, no te pierdas…te quiero”, Lucy sube la ventana del cristal sin escuchar las últimas dos palabras. “Mi Dios está pasao”, llega a leer mientras observa como la guagua se pierde más allá del puente, no quería que se diera cuenta de que la miraba, pero era inevitable ese pecado bíblico concretizado en una metáfora de sal. Cristina baja la cabeza y mira a Pancho. “Tu estas pasao’ cabrón”, le dice mientras cruza la calle. Pero al pensarlo bien, todos estamos pasaos, y el tiempo nos pasa muy por encima y sobre todo tenemos que aprender a olvidar y ver en el futuro a dónde vamos a echar la próxima meada.
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD
SOLDIERS OF THE WORD
THANKS to all the contributors who waited for almost a year to finally enjoy this collaborative work. Keep on doing what you do. We have the future in our hands, our words have the power to control. We are the soldiers of the words. We are the future.
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SOLDIERS OF THE WORD
Poetry and short stories by Araym Viviana, Ela Flores, Miguel Lausell, Keisha Gutierrez, Noah Cicero, Kevin Cole, Sarah San, Mark Baumer, Justin Hyde, Eddie Jones, Arvelisse Ruby, Gustavo Rivera, Weston Auburn, Yasmine Stella Ledee, Tania Col贸n Morales, Nicole Fraticelli, Alejandro Jorge, David Barliza Colorado, Gabby Gabby, Camila Fr铆as Estrada y Julia Kapetanov EDITORIAL CEREBRO MMXII 64