This poem began as an erasure of puertoricotaxincentives.com, 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 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
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