shockingly repellent; inspiring horror
It had been a
gruesome display of hate and anger and Sapo, as only Sapo could, presented it with showmanship.
a person lacking intelligence or common sense
I’ll tell you why: because the people in this district are
simpletons, that’s why.
drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity
Blessington then went to the board and wrote, “
Analogies Between Frost’s Poems and New York City.”
a ghostly appearing figure
As I stepped out I spotted a tall man in an Italian suit, standing in the bright spring sun glowing like an
cut off from a whole
sever all ties to Bodega.
surpassing the ordinary or normal
He had the
uncanny ability to be stoically cold under pressure and extremely warm with the people.
a comedy characterized by broad satire
It was a silent agreement in which each party knew what proper respects to pay, a polite
farce created to ease the strain of acknowledging who owed who and what.
send away towards a designated goal
Bodega would then
dispatch Nazario to talk with this person’s neighbors, depending on what he heard (whether this person was “good people” being honorable and trustworthy or some cheap-ass who would rip off the neighborhood).
unhappy about being away and longing for familiar things
For the first time I thought I had seen in his eyes some sort of
nostalgic sentiment, a weakness maybe.
restore to a previous or better condition
So now I knew why he was
renovating all those buildings.
a symbol of disgrace or infamy
Nazario would lead, leaving Bodega to take all the hits, absorb the
stigma, because of what he was.
collect or gather
But if we build a strong professional class and
accumulate property, we can counter that effect.
crafty artfulness, especially in deception
Even Bodega with his street smarts and
cunning lacked what Nazario had.
tending to betray
He was what we all wanted to be like, the Latin professional whom the Anglos feared because he was just as
treacherous, just as devious, and he understood power.
having or showing feelings of unwarranted importance
A pompous pigeon, his
arrogant chest stuck out like a banker’s, sat on top of the flagpole.
a swaggering show of courage
He looked at me with
bravado, took a third drag, put out the cigarette.
provide physical relief, as from pain
He then went on about something else, something that only makes sense when you are afraid of death or desperately in love and will say anything to
alleviate the terror.
subtly skillful handling of a situation
And because his everyday speech didn’t have any
diplomacy, he defended his case the way he always did.
marked by refinement in taste and manners
Her gestures, her voice, her social graces had been so well studied and
cultivated that she could have fooled anyone who wasn’t familiar with her past.
dwell on with satisfaction
She was returning to her old neighborhood to
gloat, to show her family what she had made of herself.
remove from a position or office
The rich Cuban family Vera had married into still kept the pink slips of their nationalized lands in Cuba, along with high hopes of reclaiming them once Castro was
ousted or finally, finally died.
a minor short-term fight
He must have believed that if he kept winning these tiny
skirmishes, victory would eventually be his.
Her liberator who was first going to free her from her mother, then free Puerto Rico, and later they would both sail back to America like
conquistadors in reverse.
a final peremptory demand
I pictured her telling all this to her friends until they were so sick and tired of it that Veronica herself began to question her liberator until finally the day arrived when she gave Bodega the
ultimatum, the Young Lords or her.
a feeling of thoughtful sadness
They stood there facing each other and for a second I thought they had reached that stage of intoxication where silliness gives way to
melancholy and self-pity.
wicked, evil, or dishonorable
Afterward, after the yelling, the apartment took on a
bitter conflict; heated often violent dissension
They will soon fly with angel wings and He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, nor will mourning or
strife or pain.
fill or soak totally
The congregation was growing angry because Roberto had
imbued them with outrage.
the trait of remaining calm and seeming not to care
You never think it will be your own home that’s on fire, but when it is, all the toughness, the calloused
nonchalance of watching fires and hearing sirens falls away.
understanding and entering into another's feelings
A tall, elegant man came into focus with his arms outstretched and a face of pure
the lack of knowledge or education
She was still not completely sold on my claims of
ignorance about that reporter’s death, and as soon as she heard Nazario mention Bodega I sensed she was sure he was one of Bodega’s pawns.
malicious burning to destroy property
Not with the fire department, which would know right away it was
arson and dismiss it as another case of pyromania in a neighborhood crawling with firebugs.
move away from each other
I was about to ask something else when we heard the tenants say Amen in a chorus of hope and then begin to
act physically on
The windows facing the street were covered with plywood and only the first floor was renovated so it looked as if the fire that emptied the building hadn’t
affected that floor.
providing no shelter or sustenance
It was an ugly,
desolate store, with posters of Marvel superheroes taped to the wall, where all you heard were stories of things that might have happened.
liable to sudden unpredictable change
I mean, on good days, what I was learning in college excited me in ways the street and its
erratic and petty rules never could.
conform oneself to new or different conditions
You couldn’t have change without evolution and some people would get hurt and become extinct in the process because they couldn’t
an act of delaying or interrupting the continuity
What bothered Blanca was the
disruption this would bring to the spiritual peace of the congregation.
the act of expelling a person from their native land
Roberto’s mother had sent the eldest into
exile and put all her hopes in the youngest.
determine one's position once again
It was as if he had forgotten where he stood in the universe and only those words coming from Vera could
reorient him to his place in the cosmos.
an unbroken period of time during which you do something
I was enjoying hearing his saga of being thrown out of his home, living on the streets, and doing short
stints in jail for petty theft.
His shirt, tie, and shoes were color-
coordinated, evidence that Vera had dressed him for the occasion.
suggesting war or military life
The following day El Barrio resembled a country under
address with continuously, as if with a barrage
Instead of salsa music, police walkie-talkies were on full blast,
bombarding the streets with what sounded like a nest of hissing snakes.
harming someone in retaliation for something they have done
Nazario was too practical for