Darah  Zeledon, Hollywood   FL , “A Lucky Girl”

You don’t know what you’re made of until you are ripped apart. I should’ve suffered a nervous breakdown, or at the very least, divorce, years ago when my seemingly perfect world began to tumble to the ground. But that hasn’t happened. And despite five agonizing years battling adversity, like the Palm tree, I continue to bend, but break, I will not.

It all began in 2006 when suddenly, I was diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized brain tumor while pregnant with my 4th baby. What followed was the abrupt suicide of an adored younger brother and violent armed home invasion. Six months after the robbery, we lost our business overnight. And fell into financial ruin.

Our hopeless situation forced us to abandon our comfortable life in Panama. With nowhere to go and in spite of everyone’s discouragement, we returned to the US—-marching straight into the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression. Here we set out to start anew with nothing more than a will to survive and five young children to care for.

Through it all, I came out fighting and keep fighting my way out, in search of tranquility and stability for my family and me. I manage to keep everyone united and happy by living a philosophy that kept me and keeps me sane and resilient—-the Seven Universal Pearls of Wisdom. My theory was put into practice recently when once again, my life hung in the balance. A weekend road-biking excursion turned tragic when I unexpectedly lost control of the bike, went flying off and landed face-down in the middle of A1A. I suffered multiple facial fractures, skull injuries and lost teeth. Still recovering from three extensive reconstructive jaw surgeries, I “walk the talk” and do what it takes to keep my family strong, and press on like a warrior.


Amazing panelists at The Immigrant Stories Event. #npr #MichelMartin #RichardBlanco #EdwidgeDanticat #Etana #DianeGuerrero #NPRMichel #OrangeIsTheNewBlack #JaneTheVirgin #grammywinningartist #reggae #author #poet #writer #art #wlrn #Immigrants #Colombia #Haiti #Cuba #Jamaica #Miami #MiMeCrewAdventures #MiMe #Art #Culture (at Koubek Center - Miami Dade College)

Tomas Birriel, Ft. Lauderdale   FL, “Almost Home”

The Florida sun radiates above head and its light beams through my office window. The thick glass insulates me from the heat and I am enveloped by conditioned, recycled air. The blacktop of the parking lot absorbs the warmth that I want to feel on my skin and in my bones. A crow settles on the telephone wire and assumes an invariably vigilant stare—watching me, pitying me.

Two more hours and I’ll be out of here.

As I stroll through the halls I catch a glimpse of Frank at his desk, wide-eyed and kissing the rim of a steaming mug. In the kitchen I pick up the coffee pot and I hear the hollow sound of a thimble full of liquid hitting the walls of the steel thermal container. Apparently Frank did not read the memorandum sent from human resources relaying the importance o

 Erica Sklar, Wilmington, NC , “In Orbits”

It seems that we are in orbits that met for a time and are drifting away from each other, like the street between our buildings is the border of some undrafted territory that we are discovering now, separately.

"Neptune and Pluto have orbits that overlap, you know."

"You know that because you’re a scientist now, huh?" There is a half-smile there, and I feel an itch at the corner of my throat, in my fingertips. It floors me, how much we express with our pairs of eyebrows, the thin pallet of skin below them.

"Which would you be - Neptune or Pluto?"

"Pluto, I guess. Cold and distant, right? Uncommunicative?" We laugh, together, and then I say I ought to be going. Our kisses feel different now, now that I have an apartment fifty steps away. The dog goes insane when she sees me, and her insanity feels like my entrails, which have not been right for weeks now.

"So I’m Neptune? That’s the planet I can’t remember."

"That’s perfect. Now you’ll never forget." He looks, to me, like a cross between a duck and a bulldog. His smile is wide and his arms moved most of my furniture across the street. Later, he stopped by unannounced, and said, "I wanted to be your first houseguest."


TODAY is good because 

1. I just heard my voice on the radio reading my poem. I am so damn awkward but it really does make me happy that my poem was picked as a finalist with 25 poems out of 1,200+ submitted poems. 

2. Trader Joes has sold out of cookie butter every damn time I come home so I finally gave in and just bought Lotus brand Biscoff spread at Whole Foods and HOLY SHIT IT’S GOOD. Has anyone had both to know if they taste the same?

3. I had my Statistics final and I don’t know how I did but it couldn’t have been that bad and even if I get an 80% I’ll have a 96% average so I can deal. 

4. Which means, I am officially done with all but 2 classes this semester!!!! I have a final tomorrow and then by Monday, I need to write a 15-20 page short story. SOMEONE TEACH ME HOW TO FICTION! Anybody?

I-95 Has a Speed Limit!?

By Kenny Malone

I spent last Thursday, in the thick of afternoon rush hour, at the I-95 on-ramp just southwest of the Arsht Center. At around 4:30 p.m., the scene is one-half auto show, one-half salmon-spawning.

I walked from open window to open window hoping to confirm something I’ve always suspected: People don’t really know what the speed limit is on I-95. Even the people seconds away from driving on it.

In my completely unscientific survey, one driver answered 45 MPH. Two guessed 55 MPH. Two more said 65 MPH. And one young woman in a silver Audi most confidently responded: “75 MPH. Am I right?”

"You’re pretty far off," I told her.

"I’m talking about Broward."

Nope. (The highest any Florida speed limit can be is 70 MPH for now.)

Here’s a map of every speed limit change from the beginning/end of the road up to Sunrise Boulevard, where the northbound speed limit hits 65 MPH for the first time. Green pins indicate an increase in speed limit, red a decrease. Click on the pins to see specific limits and whether the change is for northbound or southbound traffic.

(More information below the map.)

Because of construction, there are currently sections of I-95 with 55 MPH limits that would typically be 60 MPH or 65 MPH. What’s on this map is accurate as of Jan. 21, 2014. I went sign-by-sign tracking the posted speed limit and marking the sign location with a GPS.

If you follow the posted speed limit signs heading north, I-95 starts at 45 MPH coming off US1, switches to 55 MPH just south of downtown Miami, increases to 60 MPH just north of the S.R. 112 and then drops back to 55 MPH around the Golden Glades. (An FDOT engineer told me they’re looking into doing away with the drop back down to 55 MPH in Miami-Dade County.)

Michelle Antelo was born and raised in Miami but has never lived anywhere else. After learning Spanish at home from her Cuban parents, she always thought

Part 2 of WLRN’s “Miami Accents” piece featuring #FIUTheatre alumna Michelle Antelo.
Michelle graced the Black Box stage as Miriam in A THOUSAND YEARS at this summer’s Alternative Theatre Festival.


Part 1 is available here. (Part 1)


I debated about whether to give you clean and pretty…or stripped down to the bare essentials…I am happy with my choice…accepted the week naration…

An Explanation of I-95's $17M 'Bridge to Nowhere'

(Above, a Google Street View of I-95’s bridge to nowhere.)

There cannot be a more baffling exit on I-95 in Miami-Dade County. As described by reporter Tristram Korten from the road:  

I’m driving north on 95, I see this exit for Miami Beach. I think, “great that’s were want to go.” I get on this exit, I go up in the air. I come back down. I’m back down 95! That’s not my exit for Miami Beach.

The actual exit, he adds, is not for another half a mile.

A few years ago Korten set out to find an explanation for Miami’s “Bridge to Nowhere.” He took a senior FDOT official along for the head-scratching ride.

"So were going on the flyover," explained Alice Bravo, then director of transportation systems development for FDOT in Miami. "We can see below a congested two-lane ramp. So we just probably crossed over at least a 3,000-vehicle-per-hour movement. But now we’re back on an identified mainline and we’re to the right of all those folks."

The flyover was completed in 1994 and cost roughly $17 million. As Korten reports, the idea behind the bridge to nowhere is to keep beach-bound traffic on the right while three different arteries merge with I-95.

"From the east: the MacArthur Causeway," writes Korten, "From the west: the Dolphin Expressway and the exit for Biscayne Boulevard."

"So you can imagine if you have 5 to 6,000 cars per hour weaving to the left," said Bravo, "with probably 2,000 vehicles per hour weaving to the right to exit Miami Beach. That’s a huge conflict point."

Here’s a link to Tristram Korten’s entire radio piece on the bridge to nowhere (including what Alice Bravo thinks of the nickname).