People in puerto rico play drums, an erasure by Nicole Arocho Hernández

An excerpt from “Sotheby’s Says My Country is a Tax Incentive”

October 26, 2021

An excerpt from "Sotheby's Says My Country is a Tax Incentive" by Nicole Arocho Hernández

Website erasure poem
Erasure poem puerto rico
Erasure poem puerto rico


























Erasure poem web page
Puerto rico COVID erasure poem
Puerto Rico art erasure
erasure poem puerto rico
Sotheby's Puerto Rico Erasure Poem

Artist Statement:

This poem began as an erasure of, a website created by multinational real estate and auction company Sotheby's to break down tax incentives for rich Americans in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans living on the island do not have access to these incentives, nor do the great majority of Puerto Ricans in the diaspora. Puerto Rico has been in a recession for well past a decade, and now we live with a US Congress-imposed fiscal control board whose only purpose is to pay off the astronomical debt to hedge and vulture funds with sweeping austerity measures. Out of my anger, grief, despair, and the utter violence of colonialism and its language, I took this legal exploitation device and tried to show how its jargon was a sword puncturing right through my nation's heart: its people, poor and disenfranchised, abandoned by their government. From the erasure, the poem blossomed to include other forms, like concrete poetry, image-text, prose poems, and erasure on erasure. It also brings to the conversation the toxic tourism industry, the pandemic expectations of my country as "paradise," and language dynamics in a colonized society still resisting English.





Nicole Arocho Hernández Writer

Nicole Arocho Hernández is from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in The Acentos Review, The Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. Her first chapbook (I Have No Ocean, 2021) was published by Sundress Publications. Her second chapbook (How can colonized see light—) was selected for the 2021-22 Glass Poetry Chapbook Series. She is the recipient of the 2021 Katherine C. Turner Prize. She is a Tin House Summer Workshop alum, Translations Editor at Hayden's Ferry Review, and an MFA candidate at Arizona State University. You can find her on social media: @nimaarhe





Read more image-text hybrid work, nonfiction about borders, erasure poems on The Waking.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up. We don't allow comments that are disrespectful or personally attack our blog writers.

Also in The Waking


November 23, 2021

For my own boots, I’d sit on the floor, pull and heave until my boots came off, contorting my legs in ways that tired adults could not, or would not. 

Read More

Waiting - Ruminate Magazine

November 16, 2021 2 Comments

I think about my mother in the garden hilling green beans, and I asked her if I could go on birth control, and she didn’t say anything, which meant “yes,” which meant “no,” which meant, “I’m hilling beans right now.

Read More

Ett tyst år / A silent year
Ett tyst år / A silent year

November 15, 2021

When we dream, the contours of our memories are rarely sharp. 

Read More