Raquel Salas Rivera

The products of labor

A review of 'lo terciario/the tertiary'

The Spanish and English texts are rotated 180° relative to one another, such that the bilingual reader, halfway in, would rotate the book upside down to read the collection in its entirety. Or — if you are an anglophone reader, like myself — you are made literally aware that you are reading only one half of the book.

los productos del trabajo tienen sus residuos.
a estos residuos les llamamos objetividad espectral. 
a esta objetividad espectral le llamamos mera gelatina. 
a esta mera gelatina le llamamos
cristalizaciones de la sustancia social común.

a estas cristalizaciones les llamamos valor.[1]

So begins “todas sus propiedades sensibles se han esfumado,” the opening poem of lo terciario/the tertiary, the newest collection released in May by Puerto Rican poet and translator Raquel Salas Rivera. Or it begins:

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