Vincent Toro

Traducción de Urayóan Noel


      Song to ward off venture capitalists.

              The tinto shipped
from our ancestors in Galicia
       flirts unabashedly with giggling hens
on the veranda. Tio Frank
              is praying to his pipe, the smoke
                     cradles his bajo sexto
       as he croons, conjuring the flota

              that dislocated us from the last
century. Junior rocks the ricochet
       like a sorcerer of Brownian
motion. He is a garrison perched
              across the ping pong table
                     like an eight limbed
       colossus. In the kitchen, cards

              are slapped like sinvergüenzas
round after round in an endless
       game of Texas Hold ‘Em that holds
the cousins hostage. The winner
              is never the sucker
                     with the ace, the winner
       is he who talks shit with Fidel’s

              fuerza bruta, an eight hour
fusillade of slick digs and relentless
       boasts. Beside them abuelita
plays Zatoichi with the lechon
              asado, ropa vieja is swallowed
                     by vagrant cangrejo
       and bored nieces running

              on fumes from chasing
the dog around the chicken coops.
       This party was supposed to evanesce
long before sun up, but the coquito
              is still spilling, the tias
                     still stalking the counter-
       rhythms of the timbale like Bolivar

across the Andes. The road
at the end of the driveway is shrapnel,
       the privatized water too steep
for our pockets, but we got tariffs
              on this tanned euphoria
                     so no vulture
       funds can raid and strip

              the assets from our
digames, our ‘chachos, our
       oyes, our claros, our
manos, our oites, our carajos,
              our negritos, our vayas,
our banditos,
       our pa que tu lo sepas!


     Canto para protegerse de los capitalistas de riesgo.

              El tinto que enviaron
nuestros ancestros en Galicia
       coquetea descarado con gallinas que se ríen nerviosas
en el balcón. Tío Frank
              le está orando a su pipa, el humo
                     arropa a su bajo sexto
       mientras canturrea, conjurando a la flota

              que nos dislocó del siglo
pasado. Junior le mete al rebote
       como un mago del movimiento
browniano. Él es un centinela velando
              la mesa de ping-pong
                     como un coloso con
       ocho brazos. En la cocina, las barajas

              son golpeadas como sinvergüenzas
ronda tras ronda en un eterno
       juego de Texas Hold ‘Em que mantiene
a los primos secuestrados. El ganador
              nunca es el pendejo
                     con el as, el ganador
       es el que habla mierda con la fuerza bruta

              de Fidel, ocho horas
descargando indirectas mañosas y alardes
       sin fin. A su lado abuelita
hace de Zatoichi con el lechón
              asado, la ropa vieja se la tragan
                     cangrejos vagabundos
       y sobrinas aburridas corriendo hasta morir

              de cansancio de tanto perseguir
al perro por los gallineros.
       Se supone que esta fiesta se disipara
mucho antes del amanecer, pero el coquito
              sigue fluyendo, las tías
       siguen acechando los contra-
                     ritmos del timbal como Bolívar

              cruzando los Andes. La carretera
al final de la entrada es metralla,
       el agua privatizada demasiado cara
para nuestros bolsillos, pero le hemos puesto tarifas
              a esta euforia bronceada
       para que ningún fondo
                     buitre nos ataque y nos arranque

              los valores de nuestros
dígames, nuestros ‘chachos, nuestros
       oyes, nuestros claros, nuestros
manos, nuestros oítes, nuestros carajos,
              nuestros negritos, nuestros vayas,
                     nuestros benditos,
       nuestros pa’ que tú lo sepas!

Vincent Toro is the author of Stereo.Island.Mosaic., which won the Sawtooth Poetry Prize and The Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. He has an MFA in poetry from Rutgers University and is a contributing editor for Kweli Literary Journal. He is recipient of a Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellowship, a NYFA Fellowship in Poetry, and the Metlife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Award. A two time Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, the Alice James Book Award, the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, and the Cecile De Jongh Literary Prize, Vincent’s poems have been published in The Buenos Aires Review, Codex, Duende, The Acentos Review, The Caribbean Writer, Rattle, The Cortland Review, Vinyl, Saul Williams’ CHORUS, and Best American Experimental Writing 2015. Vincent was an artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida and at Can Serrat in Spain. He is a Macondo Foundation writer and a board member for GlobalWrites, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting literacy through technology. Vincent teaches at Bronx Community College, is Writing Liaison at Cooper Union’s Saturday Program, and is a poet in the schools for The Dreamyard Project and the Dodge Poetry Foundation.

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Urayoán Noel lives in the Bronx, teaches at NYU, and is a 2016-2017 Howard Foundation fellow in literary studies, as well as the author, most recently, of Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico (Arizona) and In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam (Iowa). Learn more at, and, a bilingual, improvisational poetry vlog.