This is an excerpt from Jacobo the Turko, a novel in verse about an Ecuadorian of indigenous and Lebanese parentage who seeks the American Dream working a summer job on the beaches of Delaware only to be deported to Lebanon (where he has never been), abducted to Bagram, and ultimately confined at Gitmo.


“Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta.”
“Mother Earth Creatrix, witness how my enemies shed my blood.” last words of Túpac Amaru.


feed me bread stone with fire memory

moons of gold on Andean slate

taitacuna rooted in earth

bake earth that bore me

bore my squalling huahua

rash Jacobo growing hungry as rain on dusty streets

hungry for new a hungry new

a world like all the hungry few

Rome for Spain for America

Incaic Peru for septemtrional Ecuador


septemtrional said Latin maps

(before taita passed and Turko took me on

for laundry dust accounts his bed)

where seven polar stars hauled the heavens round

our peaceful Quito kingdom thick

volcanic earth bearing papas choclo


Huayna Cápac conquering Sapa Inca

taking for triumph my namesake Paccha

Cara queen and numbered wife bore him

Atahuallpa hungry son


news news news Andean clouds unfeeling

abducting sunlight drag

erasing shadows across the cordilleras

on whose waves condors once


news ten thousand works of wombs

by Paccha’s husband stripped disarmed wading

in shoals of blood yahuar

mountain crater Yahuarcocha clouds unfeeling


news Spanish poxes racing Inca stones

knotted khipus reading death

on empire highways rivers

yellow footpaths lacing landscape



news court-spoiled Huascar

bivouac-hardened Atahuallpa

orphaned brothers brawl for ruins

molting armies on the march


news Atahuallpa legion triumphant

Spanish Cajamarca royal square,

one day’s horse pikestaff musket

nuestra historia autóctona to a halt

Queen of Papas and Choclo

Now Queen of Dead

news news news Túpac Amaru remnant dragon

dragged from forests elephant foliage

liana fingers clinging failing


his queen parturient with revolutionary ghosts



the tostadas are fragrant

with grains homefires earth rooted stone

beware Jacobo the jaws of a hungry world