Spanish

Marque Dos

I heard a word

on TV:

one Latina called another a coconut,

un coco,

because she couldn't speak Spanish:

"brown on the outside,

white on the inside."

 

I couldn't help but laugh

at the imagery.

It made me realize

that I must be a marshmallow,

un malvavisco:

white all around,

but hoping to walk through the fire of language

just long enough to brown around the edges,

a tostarme un poco,

to distance myself from the hegemony, and

excuse myself from the party

that's headed for the same token American bar

as last week.

 

Snow White, naïve Blancanieve

 

Looking to blend in more than to stand out.

To disappear, a desaparecerme, somewhere.

 

In Lisbon someone asked if I was Spanish.

In Madrid, Portuguese.

Both times I said no, but thank you so much.

 

Still forgetting words left and right,

asking to repeat.

Years later I'm out of practice.

Always minding the difference between

mente & menta

entre menta y mente

una mente de menta mentirosa y sabrosa...

 

The masochistic pursuit of

sideways elevator glances,

supermarket suspicion,

and accusations of having a fondness for underdogs.

 

America says, “Speak English!”

Everyone else says, “America, try speaking anything but.”

 

We've got the net

so we can connect:

fiber optic

cables intersect.

Fast cars and highways,

we've got flash mobs and

we've got the bomb.

 

We view immigrants

---the newer ones, not us---

as software that's outdated

and needs to be upgraded.

 

This is not my land and this is not your land.

Imaginary lines tend to cost a lot of lives.

 

Keeping up appearances:

take French in high school.

The state says you should;

it makes your transcript look good...

nothing to do with any actual aspirations of

global citizenship.

 

Everyone's all up in arms over

Por favor, marque dos para español.

Don't like it? Then don't marque dos, asshole.

 

Meanwhile, we sell steaks and beer using Australians,

perfume and bras with Italians,

and your GPS comes out of the box speaking British English so you're more likely to trust it.

 

But anything we don't understand at home

is perceived as a threat:

una amenaza.

I had to look that word up,

cuz it's one I forget.

 

Much of what we call inclusion

is an illusion:

do we really want to reach out,

or continue in seclusion

con esta confusion que nos separa?

con esta realidad que nunca para?

 

I heard a word

on TV,

because that's where we hear things.

 

 

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[feliz]

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Un poquito aquí
Un poquito allá
Es todoloquemefalta
Para ser feliz

No como en las canciones
Ni en los poemas

En una forma
Que es solamentemía
Y que solamenteyo
Podré conseguir
O alcanzar
O como se diga.

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Pácifico

El Pácifico
Me pacifica.
En las olas se ven montañas;
Olas allá arriba.
Olas en tus líneas,
Y olas
Hermosas
De tus sonrisas,
Y pelo de hebras...

Y con la inevitabilidad de la marea,
Las olas conmueven mi vida.

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