Assault on Time


And take upon’s the mystery of things,

As if we were God’s spies.

Shakespeare, King Lear, act 5, scene 3




Detrás de la palabra está el silencio.  Detrás de lo que suena está la puerta.  En cada cosa hay un envés y un pliegue que se oculta.  Y lo que se acercaba se cayó y se detuvo lejos en la cercanía.  Una expresión se duerme y se levanta.  Y lo que estaba allá regresa.  Es una forma de volver el mundo a su lugar.  Y algo vuelve cuando debiera quedarse recordando.

Pero si toco el timbre el agua salta y el río vuelve a caer del agua y el cuerpo se levanta y vibra.  Y la piedra se despierta y dice canto.  Y la mano se transforma en un pañuelo.  Y compañeros son el crepúsculo y el viento.  Y ese crepúsculo aparece en medio de un relámpago.  Fuera hay un pájaro y un árbol y una rama y aquel relámpago.  Y sobre todo hay mediodía sin forma.  Y de repente todo adquiere movimiento.  Dos viajeros se encuentran y sus zapatos bailan.  Y chocan la brisa y la mañana.  Y corre la gaviota y el conejo vuela.  Y corre y corre y corría la corriente.  Detrás de eso que corre está la vida.  Detrás de ese silencio está la puerta.



Hola.  Como regresaste tarde olvidé que te había escrito una línea, y recordé que la línea del libro había recogido un papel que me mandaste para que le escribiera al libro un recuerdo.  Otra vez te has olvidado de las comas.  No, no me olvidé.  Ellas olvidaron ponerle un punto final a la memoria.  Recordé la memoria cuando ya no podía escribirle.  Y luego tuve miedo de insistir.  No ha regresado todavía.  Si no regresa tendré que borrar la página cinco.  La memoria estaba en la lista de los invitados.  Pero olvidé su número de teléfono.  Luego caminé hasta la octava avenida de la página tres y me encontré de pronto con el olvido.  Crucé la avenida en la página diez y luego miré el horizonte de la página tres y borré la noche.  Estoy en el día de la página cinco.  El encuentro con el olvido fue gratuito.  No esperaba encontrarte en el camino.  Creía que tu visita llegaría en la página treinta.  Pero te has adelantado.  Estoy sentado a la izquierda de este libro.  Conversamos.



Sí, es cierto.  Las preguntas no cambian la verdad.  Pero le dan movimiento.  Hacen que se enfoque mi verdad desde otro ángulo.  Y tú dijiste:  estamos lavando la verdad.  Hay que aclarar asuntos.

No dices la verdad y al cabo tu chaqueta vuelve hecha de otro material, y tus zapatos dicen que sí, y regresan a ti diciendo mi verdad.  Aunque ahora llueva puede que adentro tu verdad sea que no llueve como llueve afuera.  Aunque calle puede que hables lo que pienso cuando te callabas.  Pero no me hagas caso y vuelve a comenzar a decirme ven cuando dijiste vete.  No esperes entonces que te escuche cuando me digas ven.  Vendrás con tu palabra fuera y se abrirá la puerta.  Escucho esa palabra y se entorna la puerta.  Vendrás entonces y ya sabré decirte: fuera.




Behind the word is silence.  Behind what sounds is the door.  There is a back and a fold hiding in everything. And what was approaching fell and stopped far away in proximity.  An expression falls asleep and rises.  And what was over there returns.  It’s a way to put the world back in its place.  And something comes back when it should remain remembering.  

But if I ring the bell, water jumps and a river falls out of the water again.  And the body rises and shakes.  And the rock wakes and says I sing.  And a hand turns into a kerchief.  And twilight and wind are companions.  And this twilight appears amid lightning.  Outside there is a bird and a branch and a tree and that lightning.  Above all, there is noon without form.  And suddenly everything acquires movement.  Two travelers meet and their shoes dance.  And breeze and morning clash.  And the seagull runs and the rabbit flies.  And runs and runs, and the current ran.  Behind what runs is life.  Behind that silence is the door.



Hello.  Since you came back late I forgot that I’d written you a line, but I remembered that the line from the book had picked up a paper you sent me so that I’d jot down a memory for the book.  You’ve forgotten the commas again.  No, I haven’t.  They forgot to end memory with a period.  I remembered memory when I could no longer write to her.  But then I was afraid to insist.  She hasn’t come back yet.  If she doesn’t come back, I’ll have to erase page five.  Memory was on the guest list.  But I forgot her telephone number.  Then I walked to eighth avenue of page thee and suddenly met forgetfulness.  I crossed the avenue on page ten and saw the horizon of page three and erased the night.  Now I’m on the day of page five.  Forgetfulness dropped by unannounced.  I wasn’t expecting to find you on the way.  I thought you would stop by on page thirty.  But you’re early.  I’m sitting to the left of this book.  We talk.



Sure, it’s true.  Questions don’t change the truth.  But they give it motion.  They focus my truth from another angle.  And you said: we’re cleaning up the truth.  We must clarify certain things.

 You don’t tell the truth and your jacket eventually comes back made of another material, and your shoes say sure! and run back to you telling my truth.  Even if it’s raining now, your truth may be that it’s not raining inside like it’s raining outside.  Though silent you may be saying what I’m thinking when you weren’t talking.  Don’t pay attention to me and keep saying come when you said go.  Then don’t expect me to listen when you say come.  You’ll come with your words get out and the door will open.  I hear those words and the door opens halfway.  Then you’ll come and I’ll know how to say: get out.



Summer reads: brilliant takes on Nuyoricans, random murder and narco-literatura

Down the Rabbit Hole, , , , , , , , , , , ,


by Claudio Iván Remeseira, @HispanicNewYork 

12:48 pm on 08/25/2013

Puerto Rican poet, novelist, and essayist Giannina Braschi is a true force of nature. Born in 1953 into an affluent San Juan family, by the age of 14 she was the youngest female tennis champion in Puerto Rico’s history. Before turning 18 she had left home to study literature in Madrid, Rome, London, and Paris. After four years in Europe, she established herself in New York, where she later earned a PhD in Spanish literature from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. An expert in Cervantes, Garcilaso, Lorca, Machado, Vallejo, and Bécquer, she taught for many years at Rutgers, Colgate, and other prestigious universities.

A writer in three languages –Spanish, English, and Spanglish—her own literary work has been considered cutting-edge and revolutionary by the critics, as well as recognized with several awards by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, PEN American Center, Ford Foundation, and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, among other organizations.

In 1988 she turned out “El Imperio de los Sueños,” widely regarded as a classic of Latin American Postmodernism, which at times, in the words of one critic, sounded uncannily like a female, tropical version of Samuel Beckett. Braschi’s production blends fiction, drama, essays, poetry, philosophy, and performance art. In 1998 she published “Yo-Yo Boing!” a novel written in Spanglish that dramatized the linguistic clash between “Anglos” and Latinos in New York City. Both “Yo-Yo Boing!” and “Empire of Dreams” have been masterfully translated into English by Tess O’Dwyer.


Braschi’s latest book is also the first one that she wrote entirely in English, “United States of Banana.”  In a post-9/11 world, she explores the cultural experience of Latinos in the U.S. and the three political alternatives for Puerto Rico: nation, colony, and statehood—or in the author’s words, Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy.

“Revolutionary in subject and form, UNITED STATES OF BANANA [sic] is a beautifully written declaration of personal independence,” declared The Evergreen Review. On September 26, Braschi is scheduled to appear on September 26 at the American Voces series organized by The John Hopkins University, Baltimore, where she will discuss her work with the audience.


Javier Marías’s 12th novel, “The Infatuations,” translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa, is a mesmerizing, disturbing novel. At the center of the story, there is an apparently random murder.  All we know about this murder we know from the perspective of a woman of a rather uncontrolled imagination. This woman, Maria, is also the one who tells the story.

This is the first time that the award-winning Marías, born in Madrid in 1951 and considered one of the greatest Spanish-language novelists alive, employs a female narrator. As the storyline progresses, the murder mystery turns into a metaphysical inquiry into love and death, guilt and obsession, chance and coincidence—in sum, on the elusive nature of truth and of our ability to find it.


On the surface, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” Juan Pablo Villalobos’s miniature novel, is just another example of “narco-literatura,” the genre inspired by the Mexican drug wars. More deeply, it is a brilliant experiment on perspective and the account of a delirious journey to grant a child’s wish.

Short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, “Down the Rabbit Hole” is the promising debut of a post-boom generation writer (Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973).

ClaudioRemeseiraClaudio Iván Remeseira is a New York-based award-winning journalist, writer, and critic. Translator of the Spanish-language on-line section of The Nation and editor of Hispanic New York, an online portal and blog on current events and culture. Editor of Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2010), an anthology of essays on the city’s Latino, Latin American & Iberian cultural heritage, and winner of the Latino International Book Award in the category of Best Reference Book in English (2011).

With Gladness Comes Generosity

52 Weeks / 52 Interviews: Week 34: Giannina Braschi




Born in San Juan and based in New York, Giannina Braschi is a cutting-edge poet, essayist, and novelist. She was a tennis champion, singer, and fashion model before she discovered writing. She holds a PhD in the Spanish Golden Age and has taught at Rutgers, Colgate, and City University. She has written on Cervantes, Garcilaso, Lorca, Machado, Vallejo, and Bécquer. Author of the euphoric poetry collection Empire of Dreams, the Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! and the philosophical new work of fiction United States of Banana, Braschi has received grants and awards from National Endowment for the Arts, NY Foundation for the Arts, El Diario la prensa, PEN American Center, Ford Foundation, Reed Foundation, Rutgers University, Danforth Scholarship, and Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. Her collected poems inaugurated the Yale Library for World Literature in Translation. She writes in three languages—Spanish, Spanglish, and English—to express the enculturation process of millions of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S.—and to explore the three political options of Puerto Rico—nation, colony, or state. Braschi dedicates her life’s work to inspiring personal and political liberation.


When the government proclaims war against terrorism—it proclaims war against the awakening of the masses

Monkeybicycle: The United States of Banana is a conversation between yourself, contemporary and historical world figures, as well as literary characters about Puerto Rico’s current political climate. Why did you choose to dialogue with Hamlet and Zarathustra?

Giannina Braschi: Because I always write about my friends. And Hamlet and Zarathustra are my friends. Because we are prophetic, apocalyptic, and revolutionary. What we have in common is our brotherly love—we carry dead bodies on our backs—and we never give birth, although I am in labor most of my life. I knew Hamlet would give me the poetry, Zarathustra would give me the philosophy, Segismundo would give me the plot, and I would handle the politics. Together we would liberate Segismundo from the dungeon beneath the Statue of Liberty and liberate Puerto Rico from the United States of Banana.

Mb: The language used is extraordinary and has a very musical quality to it. This is also your first novel written wholly in English. What is the role of language in your work?

GB: I’ve studied music all my life. I’ve sung songs in foreign languages and learned those languages through those songs. I memorized T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land from tapes before I (mis)spoke English and discovered in Eliot’s dramatic shifts my own music—the anonymity of the voices that come from no where—the Greek chorus that captures the conscience of the people. Zarathustra said poets have not discovered the tones. But I have discovered the tones—I speak in tones—in tongues–and from different cultural registers. I mix languages. I mix genres. I mix myself with eccentrics.

Mb: Philosophy, literature, and politics collide through the monologues and dialogues that make up the book. Can you talk about the confluence of these three in your work. Does one inform the others, or are they, like the characters, in a constant dialogue?

GB: The characters Zarathustra, Hamlet, and Giannina exemplify the unity of philosophy, literature, and politics. They encounter each other in the streets of contemporary New York, recognize each other, and don’t stop walking, talking, and contradicting each other—but all dealing at the same level—no one thinking he is superior to the other. We see how the powers of the world are shifting and we shift with those shifting powers. We watch the collapse of the Twin Towers as the fall of the American Empire, and we rise into a new world of multiple possibilities where we meet prisoners of war, terrorists, ambassadors, kings, queens, and presidents. It’s a world in which philosophers, poets, and lovers are in power.

Mb: This is perhaps the funniest and most enjoyable postcolonial novel I’ve ever read. Though it deals with very serious and heavy events, such as the destruction of the World Trade Center, the immigrant experience, and revolution, it never loses sight of its humor. What does humor do for us in the face of tragedy?

GB: Tragedy is all about losing. And humor is all about gaining perspective. Humor returns our gladness. And with gladness comes generosity. Humor returns us to the light and makes us light—it kills grudges, buries bodies–buries revenge—buries blame and guilt—fear and dread. Laughter, like hiccups and sneezes and farts and burps, relieves us of severity.


Colonize your colonizers–they say–learn from those bloody bastards. Which bastards–I ask. The American bastards–they colonized your colonizers–Spain and England–and look how phony they look–like prairie dogs–following the Bushes in the oil fields of Iraq.


Mb: The novel deals a great deal with the american empire and the future of Puerto Rico. You describe its options as Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy. What do you believe the future holds for Puerto Rico?

GB: Puerto Rico will be Wishy. Some people you will never discover, unless you create them first. Like Cervantes created Don Quixote and now we meet Don Quixotes in the street. Or like Tirso de Molina created Don Juan and now we say that guy over there is a Don Juan. Likewise, some countries you will not discover unless you create them first. I liberated myself from the eternal dilemma of Wishy, Wishy-Washy, or Washy. The United States of Banana is a declaration of independence.


Read more from / about Giannina Braschi here. Buy a copy of United States of Banana here.


Edward J. Rathke is the author of several books, one of them published [Ash Cinema, KUBOA Press 2012], two more coming out soon, as well as various short stories online and in print. He writes criticism and cultural essays for Manarchy Magazine and regularly contributes to The Lit Pub where he also edits. More of his life and words may be found at

Giannina Braschi: storie dalle macerie delle Torri Gemelle


Vedute da Ground Zero

Ho visto un tronco cadere dalla torre – niente gambe – niente testa – solo un tronco. Sono ridondante perché non posso credere a quello che ho visto. Ho visto un tronco cadere – niente gambe – niente testa – solo un tronco – precipitare nell’aria – vestito con una camicia bianca bianca – la camicia dei manager – infilata – per bene – sotto la cintura – allacciata stretta – che gli tiene su i calzoni, senza gambe. Aveva urtato una trave d’acciaio – ed era morto – un ducato che è morto, morto! – sul pavimento del negozio Krispy Cream – con ciambelle inzuccherate al posto della testa – appena sfornate, croccanti e rotonde – calde e gustose – e questo manager – a terra stringeva in mano una ventiquattrore – e all’anulare, la fede nuziale. Immagino che abbia pensato che la ventiquattrore fosse la sua sorte – o la sua consorte – o che fossero un tutt’uno – perché la valigia era stretta con forza come la fede di nozze.

Ho visto la moglie di questo manager entrare nel negozio di Stanley il Calzolaio, con un biglietto rosa in mano. Era andata a ritirare le scarpe del manager. Dopotutto avevano trovato i piedi, e lei voleva seppellire i piedi con le scarpe. Ero lì, a parlare con Stanley il Calzolaio, perché anch’io dovevo lasciare le mie scarpe, un paio di stivali rosa, al negozio di Stanley. Mi disse – non crederai a quello che ho visto. Ho visto Charlie, il proprietario del Bar e Grill Saint Charlie, assistere al funerale del ventesimo secolo. Va fuori ad appendere il cartello cessata attività, guarda in alto, e il carburante dell’aereo brucia e fonde Charlie. E lo sai come, come è arrivato a terra il tronco, come è atterrato? Quello che ho visto arrivare a terra era una piccola bolla di sangue, uno splash quasi impercettibile, silenzioso, che si scioglie nel cemento, e si disfa senza rumore.

Ho visto un passeggero sospeso sull’orlo di un ponte – con i piedi all’aria – le gambe scalcianti – e tutte e due le mani aggrappate a una trave d’acciaio che penzolava staccata dal ponte – prossimo a cedere – con il passeggero – che scalciava con le gambe – come se potesse farsi largo a destra e a manca fino dall’altra parte – dove c’è sabbia lieve e acqua – acqua profonda – come se potesse nuotare fino alla riva e rimanere vivo. L’epoca del cammello è tornata, e della sabbia. L’epoca della difficoltà. Ora devi scalare dune sabbiose di mattoni e calce. Le strade non sono piane, ma fitte di barricate, tunnel e solchi, e devi camminare in mezzo alla confusione, e a volte ti sentirai perso dentro, senza vedere la fine – né un’uscita – e cadrai nella disperazione – ma vedrai un velato fascio di luce – che appare e scompare – e quando svanirà – la tua speranza svanirà – e ti scoprirai sorpreso – perché sarà la tua andatura a cambiare. E penserai – ero sempre Lepre Elegantona e ora sono Tartaruga Compagnona – non che io abbia smarrito la strada – solo l’andatura – per via del corpo morto che mi porto sulla schiena – sulla gobba del cammello – nella tempesta del deserto – senza oasi in vista – se non la luce sorridente della terra promessa.

Ho visto un bellissimo dagherrotipo di un poeta, nella vetrina di un negozio. Non ho la certezza se fosse Baudelaire o Artaud – aveva gli occhi di Baudelaire – il naso e la bocca di Artaud – era un miscuglio – ero divertita e perplessa. Cosa ci fanno i miei maestri nella vetrina di A La Vieille Russie? Sono entrata e con mia sorpresa dietro il bancone c’era Vasily Vasilich Gurevich, proprietario dell’Optik di New York, fra la Madison e Park Avenue, sulla 58esima strada. Avevo acquistato da lui una collezione di occhiali antichi provenienti dalla Russia, dalla Francia e dalla Cina. L’ho riconosciuto subito, e gli ho detto:

“Gurevich, che ci fai qui? Gli affari ti devono andare bene. Congratulazioni! Ora hai due delle migliori boutique ”.

“Non proprio, Brasky. Il mio Optik ho dovuto chiuderlo”.

“Oh, no, il mio Optik”.

“L’economia, Brasky. Dopo l’11 settembre, in tre mesi non ho venduto un paio di occhiali. Se non è made in USA, non si muove. Non potevo più pagare l’affitto. Ho dovuto chiudere e trovarmi un lavoro qui. Guarda questo armadietto. Ci ho messo gli occhiali del mio Optik. Prova questi”.

“No, quello che adoravo era il posto. L’esperienza teatrale. Non è solo per gli occhiali, è dove li appendevi. All’orbita di un teschio, quello era speciale”.

“Brasky, se ti dicessi che era di Sarah Bernhardt, ci crederesti?”

“Quel paio di occhiali?”

“Il teschio. Guarda, c’è un’iscrizione dietro. Squelette, qu’astu fait de l’ame [1]. Fu un regalo di Victor Hugo a Sarah Bernhard. Faceva parte dell’arredo scenico per la sua leggendaria messa in scena dell’Amleto. Lo sai, Brasky, gli inglesi criticarono la Bernhardt perché era troppo bianco e pulito – e non era credibile che questo teschio bianco potesse essere stato sottoterra per più di ventitré anni. E lei guardava il teschio con adorazione mentre, in base alle indicazioni sceniche, avrebbe dovuto lasciarlo cadere disgustata”.

“Ma dimmi tu che idee! Logico che fosse affascinata. Vedere il suo futuro condensato nel passato. Perché il bello di contemplare un teschio è che, mentre lo guardi, quello è il momento in cui il passato e il futuro si uniscono nel presente – solo un teschio può farti vedere quello che eri e quello che sarai. Alessandro morì, Alessandro fu sepolto, Alessandro tornò polvere, la polvere è la terra, con la terra facciamo i nostri pagamenti a cottimo e le nostre smorfie per tenere il conto dei nostri lamenti – e questo è tutto – l’autoritario Cesare morto, morto e di nuovo polvere. Guarda, quando i miei amici hanno saputo del crollo – alcuni hanno sorriso e mi hanno augurato la morte. Erano felici. Uno di loro ha detto:

“Alla fine, l’Impero sta crollando. È l’inizio del rovesciamento. E che disfatta”.

“Se loro sono caduti, non per questo tu ti alzerai. Perché sei così felice?”

“Perché dalla caduta si alzeranno altre torri”.

“Bene. Bene”, gli ho detto. “Ma le torri che si alzeranno non saranno quelle che ridevano quando cadevano le nostre. Non è la risata ad alzarsi. Quello che si alza è il sipario”.

“È la fine del mondo. Ero esaltato da tutta la situazione. Ebbene, se stiamo tutti per morire, venderemo cara la pelle, merda, ma io che ne so? È una bomba atomica – la fine del mondo – la fine del millennio? Fine della paura di essere licenziati – per refusi o lentezze – digressioni o recessioni – e che modo di essere licenziati – scoppiare fra le fiamme – senza un preavviso di due settimane – e senza sei mesi di disoccupazione – e senza aspettativa, ferie o riposi compensativi – senza una parola su cosa sarebbe accaduto – in una gloriosa mattina – mentre la natura continuava il suo corso indifferente all’uomo – allora giunse il momento in cui quel cielo limpido diventò un nero, disgustoso buco dell’inferno – di una notte – con valigie, un pneumatico, carte, computer, scrivanie, e corpi che cadono – e persone che corrono e urlano”.

“Fanculo! Tieniti il tuo lavoro. Tieniti le tue strisce. Voglio la mia vita indipendentista. Sto entrando in affari. Sto per mettermi in proprio. Ma poi guardo il conto in banca e vedo uno zero rosicchiato. Non posso andarmene. Non ancora, almeno. Mi guardo allo specchio. Vedo che sto invecchiando, ma non faccio passi avanti. In teoria ero il capo di me stesso – sono un buon capo – e il mio capo – lo sa – ecco perché sta sempre a controllarmi, mi opprime, controlla i miei orari. In giro fino a tardi ieri sera? Perché ero ancora in ritardo stamattina e non sono pettinato e sono stressato e non so cosa fare. Cosa dovrei fare – prendere una pistola e spararmi – o prendere un tranquillante e dormire? Perché dimostrargli che hanno ragione? Capisci, che persona complicata, che agitatore? Sempre in guardia. Perché devi stare così sulla difensiva – mi dicono sempre – nessuno ti sta assalendo. Perciò cosa gli dico – sono stato sfruttato e maltrattato – sottovalutato – sottopagato – dato per scontato, non ascoltato, non preso sul serio, rifiutato e deprivato. Stiamo meglio adesso di vent’anni fa? È quello che chiedono sempre i politici quando si mettono le mani in tasca – e tirano fuori qualche moneta nel pugno e la fanno suonare come un campanello. E ti fanno l’occhiolino, come se tu fossi complice di un crimine: ‘Perché stiamo insieme in quest’affare’. O sopravviviamo, o inondiamo il palcoscenico di lacrime, soltanto per un guscio d’uovo. Lo sanno, e noi lo sappiamo meglio – non che le cose non siano migliori. Chi sono io per giudicare? E non mi interessa se siamo migliori o peggiori. Sono più cinico di così. So cosa devo aspettarmi, e anche io faccio l’occhiolino – come un complice in un crimine. Ma non mi si dicano bugie. Non strizzate l’occhio e non dite che le cose sono migliori, mentre non lo sono. O che erano meglio mentre non lo erano. Vedo quello che vedo con i miei occhi – non con i vostri – e questo non vuol dire che non approvo i vostri occhiolini. Strizzo l’occhio quando lo strizzate a me – e se piangete – piangerò con voi – ma non mentirò a me stesso. Quello che vedo è quello che vedo – ma permettetemi di non essere d’accordo. Mi piacciono le vostre bugie – e il modo in cui le dite ancora di più – perché amo l’industria dello spettacolo”.

[1] Scheletro, cosa ne hai fatto dell’amore [NdT].

“Vedute da Ground Zero” è tratto da Storie 55/2005 traduzione di Laura Petruccioli


“Vedute da Ground Zero” è tratto da Storie 55/2005
traduzione di Laura Petruccioli

“Banks are the temples of America. This is a holy war. Our economy is our religion.” Giannina Braschi.

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. = The Economist Book of Business Quotations, edited by Bill Ridgers, compiles the wit and wisdom of great thinkers such as Cicero, Confucius, and Aristotle to cartoon characters such as Homer Simpson and Dilbert. This collection features brilliant, zany, serious and pithy quotes on money, management, business, gambling, banking, economics, debt, capitalism, jobs, and wealth from a colorful cast of characters in politics, business, music, arts, sports, literature, philosophy and entertainment, including Benjamin Franklin, Vaclav Havel, Winston Churchill, Warren Buffet,  Lloyd Blankfein, John Cleese, Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, Giannina Braschi, Albert Einstein, Arthur Miller, Brian Eno, Vince Lombardi, Jay Leno, Bob Dylan, PT Barnum, Oscar Wilde, and Vincent Van Gogh. Editor Bill Ridgers is a business writer and business education editor at The Economist.


The quote “BANKS ARE THE TEMPLES OF AMERICA. THIS IS A HOLY WAR. OUR ECONOMY IS OUR RELIGION” comes from the following scene in United States of Banana by Giannina Braschi

“I saw the hand of man holding the hand of woman. They were running to escape the inferno—and just when the man thought he had saved the woman—a chunk of ceiling fell—and what he had in his hand—was just her hand—dismembered from her body. Now we no longer have the Renaissance concept of the Creation of Man—those two hands reaching out to each other on the Sistine Chapel—the hand of God and the hand of man—their fingers almost touching—in unity of body and soul. What we have here is a war—the war of matter and spirit. In the classical era, spirit was in harmony with matter. Matter used to condense spirit. What was unseen—the ghost of Hamlet’s father—was seen—in the conscience of the king. The spirit was trapped in the matter of theater. The theater made the unseen, seen. In the Romantic era, spirit overwhelms matter. The glass of champagne can’t contain the bubbles. But never in the history of humanity has spirit been at war with matter. And that is what we have today. The war of banks and religion. It’s what I wrote in Prayers of the Dawn, that in New York City, banks tower over cathedrals. Banks are the temples of America. This is a holy war. Our economy is our religion. When I came back to midtown a week after the attack—I mourned—but not in a personal way—it was a cosmic mourning—something that I could not specify because I didn’t know any of the dead. I felt grief without knowing its origin. Maybe it was the grief of being an immigrant and of not having roots. Not being able to participate in the whole affair as a family member but as a foreigner, as a stranger—estranged in myself and confused—I saw the windows of Bergdorf and Saks—what a theater of the unexpected—my mother would have cried—there were only black curtains, black drapes—showing the mourning of the stores—no mannequins, just veils—black veils. When the mannequins appeared again weeks later—none of them had blond hair. I don’t know if it was because of the mourning rituals or whether the mannequins were afraid to be blond—targets of terrorists. Even they didn’t want to look American. They were out of fashion after the TwinTowers fell. To the point, that even though I had just dyed my hair blond because I was writing Hamlet and Hamlet is blond, I went back to my coiffeur immediately and told him—dye my hair black. It was a matter of life and death, why look like an American. When naturally I look like an Arab and walk like an Egyptian.”

Caras Special Edition: Most Influential Puerto Ricans of 2012

  1. Reblogged from Latin Culture Today:  Here are the highlights of “CARAS 2012:  Los grandes protagonistas de Puerto Rico“.   Patricia de la Torre, Editorial Director.  Jaime RIvera, Photography Director .  

    Topping the List of the Most Influential and Exciting Puerto Ricans Today are…

    Turning heads with their own eclectic spin on reggaetonCALLE 13 is the hottest band to emerge from Puerto Rico in decades, with 19 Latin Grammy Awards and 2 Grammy Awards. As hot as their sound is their political fire; these musicians are avid supporters of the Puerto Rican independence movement, both a source of controversy and a musical inspiration.

     GIANNINA BRASCHI, one of the most imaginative and funny writers to emerge from Latin America in the past 25 years, is the radical author of the new book UNITED STATES OF BANANA and the best-selling Spanglish novel YO-YO BOING!  The Associated Press calls Braschi’s writing “fearless” and her imagination “limitless”.  Whether her award-winning books are written in Spanish, Spanglish or English, Braschi is a festival favorite at headlining events such as the National Book Festival, The Modern Language Association Convention, and the PEN World Voices Festival.

    JENNIFER LOPEZ, the global performing arts sensation, is one of the most multi-talented artists and entrepeneurs today.  J Lo is an actress, dancer, film producer, philanthropist, and singer. In 2012, she was ranked at number one on business magazine Forbes‘s Celebrity 100 list, which named her the most powerful celebrity, with earnings of $52 million that year.

    ALEJANDRO GARCIA PADILLA is the new GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO as of January 2013.  Prior, he was a member of the 24th Senate of Puerto Rico and President of the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico.

    CARLOS BELTRAN plays outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Beltrán is known for being one of the best all-time statistical hitters in Major League Baseball postseason games, which has earned him nicknames such as “Señor Octubre” and “the real Mr.October” .



    MARC ANTHONY is a two-time Grammy and three-time Latin Grammy–award winning singer and actor who has sold more than 12 million salsa and ballad albums worldwide.

TONY RAMOS, OLYMPIC GYMNAST FROM PUERTO RICO, placed in the finals at the London Olympics in 2012. May he bring home the gold from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. 

RICKY MARTIN currently stars as Che in the Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita.  In addition to being a POP SINGER AND BROADWAY ACTOR, he is a philanthropist whose foundation is dedicated to eliminating human trafficking.

MONICA PUIG, TENNIS PLAYER, won the ITF tournament in Joué-lès-Tours in 2012, which included a first round win against Alexandra Panova.  Her star is on the rise.

BENICIO DEL TORO, ACTOR and FILM PRODUCER, has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award.

RICHARD CARRION is not only the CEO and Chairman of BANCO POPULAR, but he also runs the Finance Committee for the International Olympics.  He is one of Puerto Rico’s most successful businessmen in addition to being a philanthropist dedicated to providing underprivileged children with education and sports opportunities.

*For more complete bios see CARAS 2012 SPECIAL EDITION: Los grandes protagonistas de Puerto Rico.


Drömmarnas imperium


Stockholms StadBibliotek

Drömmarnas imperium – möt Giannina Braschi Den puertoricanska poeten Giannina Braschi, boende i New York, och hennes bok Drömmarnas imperium, står i centrum för en kväll om världens och poesins tillstånd efter 11 september. Läsning och samtal med poeterna och översättarna Hanna Nordenhök och Helena Erikkson. 2012-10-08   (18:00 – 20:00)

Video from Gothenburg Book Fair: