|Edited by Olga García (Garden Oak Press, 2015)|
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The underpinning of the neighborhood is an organic response to fundamental needs for survival, escape, settlement (planting roots), raising families, and creating a collective identity in a foreign land. At the age of 17 I did not realize the commonalties I shared with many of the friends in the neighborhood, nor my personal need for survival, escape, settlement, and a collective identity. La Carpio and its people were enriching my identity, deconstructing it and restructuring it. My preconceived notions of existence and life as I knew it were befuddled much to the breach found in language and privilege.
La Carpio's presence in San Jose subversively began, has grown, and now thrives. Shook has astutely taken a form, deconstructed it and restructured it, and possibly echoed this sequence. His sonnet has been molded into the flow and rhythm of life in La Carpio. His poetics bring a closeness to the investment of putting money towards a fighting cock in hopes for entertainment, winnings, and pride. It represents individuals identifying with risk, importance, and success while being battered daily by monotony, shallow pockets, and marginalization. Gruesome like a cock fight, David tears apart the traditional Sonnet and transfigures it with precision– fitting it like a glove on the milieu of La Carpio. The poem calls for a plummet into the opulent exposure found in La Carpio and its microcosm. I am grateful to have translated this poem, grateful to see her in print in a bilingual edition, grateful for David's ode to Amenaza, and grateful to a neighborhood and individuals that marked me deeply, much like the iron talons that continue to mark and slit a more recent generation of cocks in La Cueva del Sapo.