Raul Chuletas (1952 - 2001)

Mr. Chuletas was born in the small town of Culo Cagao, Puerto Rico. His family eventually moved to the U.S., where he matured on the tough streets of New York City. He took the publishing world by storm with his best-selling novel, I Know Why the Caged Puerto Rican Sings (Little, Brown, 2000). Chuletas first got the idea for his book from witnessing the encroaching gentrification in his beloved neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. ''It pains me deeply to see my people pushed out of their slums'' (Stuff, 1998). In the late '70s he began performing spoken-word poetry in coffee houses, bars, and the unemployment office as Las Chuletas Que Hablan. He endured 11 years of prison, 21 years of drug addiction, and seven seasons of Star Trek Voyager, only to be die an even more brutal death. While trying to clean the area behind his toilet bowl, Chuletas got stuck and could not reach his cell phone to call 911. Neighbors heard his cries for help, but could not understand his accent. While he had plenty of water to drink, he eventually died of boredom. He is survived by 17 illegitimate children, all of them named after George Foreman. NB: In 2003 Chuletas resurfaced at the slam-poetry portion of a Shriner's convention in Dallas. He said at the time, ''I was only dead for tax purposes.''

Poems

Prose