the louderARTS Project

Toro

Toro is a Puerto-Rican writer, performer, and music producer living in Jersey City, with a B.A. in English and Theater from Rutgers University. In 1998, he spent the year writing, teaching, and traveling in Turkey. He has appeared on the Hottest Poets Radio Satellite Network, WBAI’s “Latino Journal,” WKCR’s “Composed on the Tongue,” and in the documentary feature, The Source. His mini-books are being sold as part of the nationwide Art-O-Mat series. In 2001, Toro was awarded a residency by The Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. He has recently won Global Rhythm Magazine’s Unsigned Artist of the Year for his song “Montserrat.” His Poetry is included in Coloring Book: A Multicultural Anthology of Poems and Stories by Rattlecat Press. He is currently pursuing his M.F.A. in Creative Writing at CUNY’s City College.

toropoet@yahoo.com




Unfinished Homework

When they ask him
Why he did not do his homework
Like a deaf mute Atlas
He shrugs his shoulders

Until tensions become pretensions and
With condescension they force him
To admit that maybe he is just too lazy

He gives them fiction because he cannot mention
The truth about his nightlife

They would never believe tall tales
Of evenings marching like a homesick soldier
Through shooting galleries and crack houses
Trying to keep up with mother
Clutching and tugging at his fragile arm
In search of an uncle he sometimes does not seem to have

Nor would they want to understand the connection
As mother takes one last drag of her Parliament
Before she drags him through another nightmare
That does not end merely because he opens his eyes

Or closes them for that matter

For when closed
He can still hear a soprano voice screeching
After its face is slapped for not tricking enough cash
To get them both fixed
(The faceless voice will give up her hit to him
After he hits her three times more)

And when open
He bears visions of used condoms
Being used as a tourniquet around a wrist
That awaits the penetration of a needle
That awaits an artificial dream-life
To pull the wool over its third eye

On Fridays they rent horror films
But they never seem to scare him
On Saturdays they rent comedies
But he never seems to laugh at them
On Sundays no film is played
He is left to observe the blank expressions
On her brow that seem to make too much
Sense to a boy his age

Tomorrow she will keep him home from school
So that he will not have to hide the bruises she will give him
One for each man in her life that has kept her running
Through empty buildings to save them from themselves

The day after tomorrow when the bell rings
He will not
Like his classmates
Run for his jacket and book-bag
Pushing his way through the school exits

He will stay seated at his desk
Last row
Last seat
Praying that the world
Has forgotten about him



© Toro



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