On Tuesday, When the Homeless Disappeared
Villatoro is a writer with a keen political sensibility and a sense of humor besides. After confronting the reader with weighty issues, he pauses to have an encounter with a curandera in a cornfield; to speculate on a visit from extraterrestrials; and to pay tribute to his free-spirited, loose-living Uncle Jack, who "chewed forest mushrooms like a rabbit, / Then howled at a California night / While whispering querida above open thighs." Combining Borgean logic, the grit of Neruda, and a heady dose of Zen, Villatoro offers a primer on how to integrate a history of brutality and injustice with the privilege and comfort of life in America. A final section of poems is presented in Spanish only—a statement of ascendance, a strategy for identity preservation, a gift to the cognoscenti.
Reading On Tuesday, When the Homeless Disappeared may make you shift in your seat—perhaps even toss in your sleep—as you encounter a poignant human voice that is unafraid to speak from the heart.