Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Puerto Rico: "El ombligo del universo"

Perfil satírico del Boricuazo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Commonplace Book: The Killings in Connecticut

This is an excellent post by a former professor of mine.

A Commonplace Book: The Killings in Connecticut

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I found these graffiti pieces while walking down a side street in busy Rio Piedras, PR. Rio Piedras, for those of you who haven't been, is the historic market for the island's farmers. The charming thing about Rio Piedras is the coexistence of street vendors selling everything from avocados to pirated tapes from grocery store shopping carts to fufu retail outlets where paunchy business men hawk the latest fashions. Of course, there's lots of graffiti adorning (or defacing, depending on your perspective) the walls of buildings in mid remodel, run down lots, or sidewalk mini walls like the ones pictured. I was drawn to the first because of the contrast between the stylized kitty face and the heavy spray paint strokes in the background. The second is, of course, a stencil of Jim Morrison's face. The cracks in the paint give it an edge and fortuitiously compliments the idea of jim morrison, perhaps as a romanticized musician and broken human being.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Intervención filosófica

Algunos postulados de Lacan sugieren una diferencia radical entre ser y saber. Podemos decir que ésta diferencia es sustentada por experiencias cotidianas que demuestran que el saber del sujeto agobia su ser y, inversamente, lo que el sujeto es no concuerda con lo que sabe.

Se impone la pregunta: de qué consiste saber ser Puertorriqueño?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

La Mudanza

Ganancia y perdida al origen.

Me acuerdo de la casa del barrio, el mangle, la quebrada,

Los chamacos me decían Raúl aunque me llamo Roberto (no bother).

El Datsun de Mario que usabas prestado,

Y a Mario, estorbo durante la era de Trujillo, velando siempre
por la brillantez de sus estribos.

La casa de Los Maestros, unjida por lágrimas fosforecentes.

Las quenepas que aguantaba tenebrosamente en el medio de mi lengua.

Las tres bicicletas que me robaron y cuando salistes a buscar a los tecatos.

El primo llorando en la marquesina,
Mi madre llorando en la marquesina,
Yo llorando en la marquesina,
El perro cagando en la marquesina.

No te confundas, en éste escenario todos tienen su papel apropiado,

Hasta la mudanza, no sólo las sillas y las mesas, pero más aún,
las ratas.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Americana/Puerto Ricana: reflections on cultural shifts

We're seeing it, hearing it, and tasting it everywhere. From the powerful resurgence of raw denim couture with a working class twist, to the rustic, wispy appalachian sound of Bon Iver, to the slow food, local produce craze--the culture seems to be yearning for a mythical past.

This trend is not limited to the fashion scene either (well represented by indy shops like Freeman's Sporting Club (NYC) and Union Made (SF)) but is steadily pervading the other arts. Granted, the past has been mined (some would say exploited) for years in order to imbue all sorts of mass produced crap with an aura of respectability. Even so, the most hardened cynic would have to admit that perhaps there's something unique going on here.

It will be interesting to see how this new activation of the American myth will develop. I'm thinking specifically of the way it will be perceived and reinterpreted by places that have either a real (Puerto Rico) or symbolic dependency on the mythology of the United States.

It seems that these places have an opportunity to amplify this trend by focusing on the best of their history, and, in doing so, diversifying Americana through the manifold traditions that set its true foundations. Clearly, this means more than just romanticizing an ideal. It means re- imagining the possibilities that were either ignored or deliberately squashed from that past.

We have been taught to find value in the unique, now we are summoned to create authentic value. But what does it mean to go from unique values to authentic ones? And is it possible to make a distinction between them when they have been dulled by years of abuse? José Martí thought that (in opposition to the dominant imperialist ideologies) the real conflicts of his time did not stem from the alleged clash between the civilized and the barbaric, but rather between "false erudition and nature."

It may be that, like Martí suggested, underlying this opposition between the unique and the authentic (values which lend a certain charm to this quest for the core of a mythical American past) there's another foundation that needs to be found.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Details from my week in PR

Dulce de Astorga: my great grandfather's recipe for a candy/cookie/pastry wrapped in white tissue paper, which he would sell in church after the service.

My great aunt's 80th birthday.

Visiting my grandfather's farm in Moca. He gave me well thought out advice on never compromising your principles. Also, ate bacalao con viandas, which was the poor man's lunch on the island for many years, and now it's considered a delicacy.

The abandoned oil refineries near Ponce: huge, dark, ominous, worthy of artistic exploration, but finally just another blight on the landscape.

Conversations with my father: topics too numerous to recall in detail.

Advice from my great uncle on how to reach 80 looking as fit as he does: eat well, don't smoke, don't drink, and never be afraid of hard work.