Feliz Migra Day to Me


From what my mother  told me, we landed in Florida around midnight on February 17th, 1991. What I remember was a car ride in a place I called “Nueva York”, because that was where I thought I was before I would learn that I was in fact in Nueva Jersey.  Luis and Claudia sat in the backseat. I sat on my mother’s lap, trying my best to see what was ahead of me past the snowfall. I was three years old, however, much too short to see anything even with her help.

The weather had not changed the entire ride to 290 Summer Avenue in Newark, where my grandmother Juana lived.  My gray jacket did almost nothing to protect me from the cold when I got out of the car. The first thing I noticed as I entered the house was the red carpet. My toy cars and I would get acquainted to the incredibly worn down quality of them later, but for the time being it looked royal.

We all walked into the small kitchen. That was were I met the other sponsor  for our residency in the United States — my step-grandfather George. He was a skinny little man from Pennsylvania that, despite his grumpy demeanor and two-packs-a-day voice, was very friendly to me.

Of all the memories from that day, the one that truly stuck to my mind was the family dog. He was a mixed German Shepard named Bobby. Everyone loved his excitement in meeting the four of  us, but I was terrified for his barking and size. I  wasn’t even as tall as he was, and I never really got used to him in the three years we lived in that house.

That was twenty-one years ago. My father was still tying up loose ends in Peru, so we didn’t get to see much of him in that first year. I picked up English, at least vocally, from watching episodes of Bonanza with George and music videos. While most of my memories of that time frame are almost purely fictitious at this point, I still remember that cold day, and my mother’s warm lap, and that goddamn scary dog.

I’m an immigrant, and even if I have been here almost all of my life, I don’t forget that. So today, I’m writing a story on Latinos in space, drinking chicha, and reading news in Spanish. In other words, what I do every other day. Feliz Migra Day to me.

Art, Links, Literature, Poetry, Sci Fi, Science

Afrocyberpunk to Genocide

It’s really cool to see sci-fi writers from other parts of the world getting some press, so let’s all give  Jonathan Dotse props for actively trying to bring the cyberpunk genre to Africa. Sci-fi fans should check it out regularly to see a different take on what has become a rather played-out genre.

Turing it back to just regular science (if you can call it that), a group of British scientists have found a way to transfer all the genetic material of one egg  without mitochondria. The reason this is interesting is in how this could save many people in the future from diseases caused by mitochondrial defects.

Here’s an eye-opener: approximately 600,000 workers in China die a year making the parts for the computer or mobile phone you’re reading this from. They even have a name for it: guolaosi, which is Mandarin for “worked to death”.  The Consumerist article got its info from this Johann Hari article. Hari also wrote the amazingly good article on horrible work conditions in Dubai that I mentioned a while back.

For all you conspiracy theorists, reading up on the mysterious mass poisoning at  Pont-Saint-Esprit has a pretty interesting theory: instead of the ergot poisoning that has mainly been seen as the main cause of the psychosis people felt, one Hank P. Albarelli Jr wrote a book claiming that the CIA used Pont-Saint-Esprit as a LSD testing groundLSD as part of that tin-foil hat favorite,  MKULTRA . Add Rennes-le-Château to it and you can start making a pretty weird road trip in southeast France.

Comic artist Cameron Stewart, who happens to have a blog for all his artwork, has won a Shuster and Eisner Award for his own webcomic,   Sin Titulo. It’s a good noir fantasy story about one man’s descent into some dangerous people and some of his own personal demons as well.

I just got into reading the poems written by Jeremy Prynne, and I seriously don’t know what to make of it. There’s this odd lyricism that exists in his almost stream-of-consciousness poems that works somehow. Check out this introduction into the man and his work, and here is a link for one of his pieces, ‘Rich in Vitamin C’ to learn more.

To cap it all off, here’s a video of  Carlos Andrés Gómez’s amazing spoken word poem, “What’s Genocide?” (here’s a link to the written version):