Sergio Troncoso Quotes

Quotes tagged as "sergio-troncoso" (showing 1-21 of 21)
Sergio Troncoso
“Rich people don’t have to have a life-and-death relationship with the truth and its questions; they can ignore the truth and still thrive materially. I am not surprised many of them understand literature only as an ornament. Life is an ornament to them, relationships are ornaments, their 'work' is but a flimsy, pretty ornament meant to momentarily thrill and capture attention.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“I am in between. Trying to write to be understood by those who matter to me, yet also trying to push my mind with ideas beyond the everyday. It is another borderland I inhabit. Not quite here nor there. On good days I feel I am a bridge. On bad days I just feel alone.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“I held Angie Luna in that room for hours, and I remember the different times we made love like epochs in a civilization, each movement and every touch, apex upon abyss. In the luxury of our bed, we tried every position and every angle. I explored the curves on her body and delighted in seeing the freedom of her ecstasy. Her desperate whispers and pleas. I told her I loved her, and she said she loved me too. We lay in bed with our limbs entangled, in a pacific silence that reminded me of existing on a beach just for the sake of such an existence. I couldn't imagine the world ever becoming better, and for some strange reason the thought slipped into my head that I had suddenly grown to be an old man because I could only hope to repeat, but never improve on, a night like this. I finally took her home sometime when the interstate was empty, and the bridges seemed to lead to nowhere, for they were desolate too.”
Sergio Troncoso, The Last Tortilla: and Other Stories

Sergio Troncoso
“It’s a great honor, m’ijo. We know that. I’m sure everyone in Ysleta is proud of you. But this is who you are," she said, for a moment scanning the dark night air and the empty street. A cricket chirped in the darkness. "God help you when you go to this ‘Havid.’ You will be so far away from us, from everything you know. You will be alone. What if something happens to you? Who’s going to help you? But you always wanted to be alone; you were always so independent, so stubborn."

"Like you.”
Sergio Troncoso, From This Wicked Patch of Dust

Sergio Troncoso
“I exercised my mental muscles in the library, and lo and behold, I transformed myself from a casual reader into a focused one. So it was more than just free books, but also free space and a culture that reinforced settling down, deep reading, thinking, imagining, and exploring with my mind. I am no doubt a writer today because I had a place to go as a kid, where I knew stories were essential, and where everybody also reveled in the wonder within books.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“So the Juárez/El Paso area before the recent drug violence was not a bilingual, bi-national, bicultural Zion, but it was one world. One entity. One place. One city where you could live in between worlds, and have the hope of creating something new. A third way to be, not along the border, but on the border.

That is what the violence has destroyed, that unity, however tenuous it ever was. It has destroyed the idea of that unity and the reality of living so uniquely astride an international border. This ‘real idea’ was always a work-in-progress, and for the moment it is lost. Yet that real idea of unity had great value.”
Sergio Troncoso, Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence

Sergio Troncoso
“I hated seeing these spasmodic upside-down chicken heads stretching to puncture my flesh. I imagined once that they reached my groin and pecked out my penis and my huevos and kept pecking until they got to my gut and my eyes and my brain, until I was just a pecked-out piece of human meat surrounded by thousands of nervous, dirty white chickens. I think that was about the time I fucked up a pair of chicken heads against a warehouse wall when no one was looking. Well, almost no one. Rueben was right behind me, and that's when he grinned his stupid grin. Maybe he hated the chickens as much as I did. Maybe he just knew que ya me iba también a la chingada. Maybe I was going on my first joy ride to hell and back, and it was fun to watch.”
Sergio Troncoso, The Last Tortilla: and Other Stories

Sergio Troncoso
“We are not ‘censored’ in the traditional way in the United States: writers are not beaten or killed because of their words, and no Ministry of Truth enforces an official version of what can be printed and thought. But in this culture of images, we are censoring ourselves. That may be more insidious and long-lasting. What I mean is that we disparage long-term complexity, and extol superficiality. We ignore reading, and lavish time on images. To read, in my mind, is to consider and to think. To see an image is to react. What happens when we start believing the world and what is important in it are only these reactions and prejudices? What have you become when the most expected of you is simply to press a ‘Like’ button? What kind of gulag is it when its inhabitants are too stupid to understand they are its prisoners?”
Sergio Troncoso

Sergio Troncoso
“There's still too much energy leftover at this tomb-desk, on Broadway, when I am semi-asleep at night in our bedroom, struggling to get a good night's rest. There's an overflow of loin energy. It spills out from my pores as if I were a cracked drum of reacting chemicals. I need to work to expend this excess energy in words, stories and books....My mind is a body that's a mind.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“Again, this week as I walked on Broadway, in front of giant photographs of voluptuous supermodels at a Victoria Secret mega-store, who was rebuilding the sidewalks? With sweaty headbands, ripped-up jeans, and dust on their brown faces? Their muscled hands quivered as they worked the jack-hammers and lugged the concrete chunks into dump trucks. Two men from Guanajuato. Undocumented workers. They both shook my hand vigorously, as if they were relieved I wasn’t an INS officer.

I imagined how much money Victoria Secret was making off these poor bastards. I wondered why passersby didn’t see what was in front of their faces. We use these workers. We profit from them. In the shadows, they work to the bone, for pennies. And it’s so easy to blame them for everything and nothing simply because they are powerless, and dark-skinned,and speak with funny accents. Illegal is illegal. It is a phrase, shallow and cruel, that should prompt any decent American to burn with anger.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“At Harvard, the strong and savvy and confident thrived, while the nice or shy or quaintly moral were just bit players. In Ysleta, you believed in God because you were poor and needed something to hold on to. At Harvard, you believed in your good luck or bad luck, in all-nighters, in your political savvy.”
Sergio Troncoso, From This Wicked Patch of Dust

Sergio Troncoso
“A group of ten prisoners from Dachau, I was with them, we hid in the forest to wait for the Americans. The Germans had already left everything behind. We had food but no weapons. For days we could hear bombs exploding around us. We just wanted to survive long enough for the Americans to control the territory. We didn’t want to die. At that point, our prison uniforms were the only things to keep us from being shot on the spot by the Americans. That was all we had. Who would the Americans believe? Real prisoners or guards dressed as prisoners? Those devils might even say we were the Germans. This was our nightmare.”
Sergio Troncoso, The Nature of Truth

Sergio Troncoso
“But Anja. I hear Anja's voice. Maybe I am insane. I hear her crying. I see her alone in the trees. I remember being alone and humiliated. I remember, too, the fat little boy hiding in the bathroom. And I see this man, Ariane. I see this evil man, Ariane. He laughs everyday still. He has had years of laughter. He has triumphed over the screams of others, he has triumphed with blood on his hands. And he laughs still. God has cursed us! He has either cursed us or He was never here to begin with. We've pretended God was here for our own sanity! That's the truth! We've pretended evil is punished and good is rewarded. A perfect scheme!”
Sergio Troncoso, The Nature of Truth

Sergio Troncoso
“Words are the residue that I was there, that I loved my wife, that I kissed my children goodnight, that I sacrificed my life for them. Words are a curse. Life is a curse. Words escape life. Life escapes words. What in God's name am I? How does someone name a God? What is it to name yourself?”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“Julia, is everything all right?” her father said in a raspy voice. “It’s three in the morning, m’ija.”

“I’m sorry. I have to talk to you; it’s something very important. Papá, Mamá, I’ve made a decision, and I wanted to share it with you. I’ve decided to convert to the Muslim religion.”

“What?” Pilar screamed. “Are you out of your mind?”

“Julia, what are you saying?”

“I want to be a Muslim. I’ve even chosen a new Muslim name, Aliyah.”

“Julia, are you drunk?”

“No, Papá, I’m not drunk. I’ve thought about this for a very long time. I think it’s the right thing for me, a way to follow God.”
Sergio Troncoso, From This Wicked Patch of Dust

Sergio Troncoso
“Two weeks ago, Aaron and Isaac, I learned your mother Laura has breast cancer. My heart feels impaled. These words, so useless and feeble. Laura is only thirty-five years old. Her next birthday will be in only three days. I write this letter to you, my sons, with the hope that one day in the future you will read it and understand what happened to our family.

Together, your mother and I have created and nurtured an unbreakable bond that has transformed us into an unlikely team. A Chicano from El Paso, Texas. A Jew from Concord, Massachusetts. I want you to know your mother. She has given me hope when I have felt none; she has offered me kindness when I have been consumed by bitterness. I believe I have taught her how to be tough and savvy and how to achieve what you want around obstacles and naysayers.

Our hope is that the therapies we are discussing with her doctors will defeat her cancer. But a great and ominous void has suddenly engulfed us at the beginning of our life as a family. This void suffocates me.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“I believe we have reached a point where those of us who belong to this culture of la frontera in Ysleta and El Paso are not content to sit back and watch others tell us who we are. We know who we are, and we ourselves can tell others about what we love and what we fear and what we hate and what can save us. I believe our community has developed that confidence to step forward and start taking responsibility for the many images that are projected in the name of Ysleta and El Paso.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Sergio Troncoso
“A narcissist with power will attempt to prove in the world only what is already in his head. He can't 'see' otherwise. For him, the 'outside world' is not beyond him and does not question or challenge him and his ideas. He is the world. Others will assent to his distorted worldview, because he is powerful, not because he is believable. If he possesses any reflection, that will be exactly what will gnaw at the narcissist with power most of all: his 'truths' are inauthentic, and he is a human being without integrity. The very narcissism and power he possesses prevent him from an ongoing relationship with the truth, which begins with self-humility and the curiosity this can create in a person.”
Sergio Troncoso

Sergio Troncoso
“What happens when we start believing the world and what is important in it are only these reactions and prejudices? What kind of gulag is it when its inhabitants are too stupid to understand they are its prisoners?”
Sergio Troncoso

Sergio Troncoso
“There is a certain pride in work and in your body throbbing beyond any boundaries you imagined you could endure. You identify with those who come home with pieces of pork fat wedged into their boots, with gashes on their arms and legs from their tools and machines, and with black grime etched into the folds of their dark skin.

Too often this country has turned its back on the working class and the working poor, not to mention the undocumented workers who harvest the food for American tables and build our houses.”
Sergio Troncoso

Sergio Troncoso
“What finished destroying any 'we' the old country possessed—now that I think about it—was when we, too, became the media. When we sold ourselves for nothing. When we became anonymous online. When the vilest could be heard and amplified. When any fame, or infamy, meant we were alive. Split-second reactions with a Love ping, or quick condemnations with a Hate ding, these became our identities. We reduced thought to three sentences. We stopped talking to each other except through our media; we stopped wasting and creating time as selves alone; our media selves became our only selves. At first I imagined it a new culture. Amusing stupidities, I thought.

But these reactions, did they damage our thinking forever? These games, over years, did they reprogram our interactions with each other, becoming our reasons, arguments, even moral beliefs?...

What saved me, what gave me a sense of perspective, was also what had condemned me: I had been born at the edge of the edge of a crumbling world.

Library Island, by Sergio Troncoso, Michigan Quarterly Review, 2017”
Sergio Troncoso