FICTION

Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Guernica

We were coming closer to the orange mountains. There were huts made from scrap wood, tin, and old advertising signs climbing the slope of it, built, it looked, one over the other. The huts climbed the mountain like stairs. Everywhere there was orange dirt and the huts and houses blended with the ground like a sunset.

Ghost HouseGuernica

There were stories of how the kidnapped were never brought back. You gathered the money, you paid the ransom, you gave the guerrillas what they wanted; but the kidnapped never returned. 

 

ESSAYS

The Best Thing My Psychic Mom Taught Me Is No One Wants To Hear The Truth, Buzzfeed

The biggest thing I have learned in all these years,” she confided, “is that nobody wants the truth, but everyone wants a story.”

What The White Gaze Taught Me About Beauty, Nylon

Our black hairs made our already dark skin seem darker. The down covering our body made us seem like—but, no, we never finished that thought. It was ugly. That’s what we knew. 

Home Is What You Carry with You, Architectural Digest

In every apartment I’ve ever lived, I arrange three objects on the choicest shelf: a small red wooden rectangle, a bottle of blue ink, and a gray rock I picked from my grandmother’s backyard back in Colombia.

Donald Trump's denaturalization task force is a new way to threaten the American Dream, USA Today

The process of becoming an American is not only exacting, but invasive and at times humiliating. I have been tracked, scanned, recorded, photographed, and made to speak into the blinking red light of a camera more times than I can count.

I Became an American the Day Trump Made his "Shithole Countries" Comment, Huffington Post

I was one of the 1,123 immigrants at the Paramount theater in Oakland, standing in the auditorium, right hand raised, intently repeating the words through which we were to become Americans. At this moment, a news notification from the Washington Post popped up on cellphones: “Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries.”

A Snowy BogotáGuernica. Cities of the Future

When I go back to Bogotá, I like to share my knowledge of the car bombs that went off in the city in the ’80s and ’90s. I helpfully point out the gory details to cab drivers and friends. I press my finger on the window and point at corners, “That’s the spot where an ATM blew up, seven dead.”

On Not Writing for White PeoplePleaides

As a foreigner, you adopt many ways of speaking. Sometimes you adopt the voice of silence, hiding your difference. Other times you sound like an encyclopedia.

On Not Writing: An Illustrated Guide to My Anxieties, Electric Literature

I bought clock in and out cards. I made productivity charts. I kept track of facets of writing (journaling, plotting, editing, first drafts). I made x and y charts (X being time Y being output, X being moon cycles Y being creative satisfaction, X being exercise Y being quality of work). I made pie charts, venn diagrams.

 

MEMOIR

All Good Science Fiction Begins This Way, Los Angeles Review of Books

I stand still at the corner, mesmerized by the street signs — Madison, Halsted — because not only do I not recognize the names, it suddenly dawns on me: I have no idea where I came from or where I was going, what city I am in, what my name is, and I do not even know the year.

Buried in Our Stories is the Family Tree, Vitriol. Quiet Lightning

In the mountains in Santander, Colombia, the father passed down the secrets to the sons, who passed the secrets to the sons, who passed the secrets to the sons.

 

RADIO

Our ImmigrantsKQED. Perspectives 

Two WorldsThe Missouri Review. 2016 Miller Audio Prize in Prose

The City LightsKQED. Perspectives