GRITO

The Colony

 

We are in a half circle

Legs bent, backs down on beds

Pushing out babies that belong to others

 

They plan the cycle

Precisely, births happen on time

We are in a half circle

 

Food and supplements

Sit at our doors, waiting for ingestion

Our mouths take in the nutrition

 

The creatures grow

Squirming in our bellies, absorbing

Food and supplements

 

Touching is not allowed

When they are big and leave our wombs

The owners come and take them

 

Homes are provided for us

All surrogates live near each other but

Touching is not allowed

 

The sun sets on the colony

Then the cries begin

Every evening the new set is born

 

The clockwork cycle chimes

Life is given, then taken

The sun sets on the colony

 

We are in a half circle

*

 

 

Cubanita

 

Cubanita

Con tus memorias

Cubanita

De los ojos obscuros

No llores

Ay, mamita

Ya tendremos

Una vida de paz y lujo

 

Being Cuban is hot

Oh, yes

If you are Cuban right now, you are hot

You are assumed to represent

The genius of Afro-Cuban jazz records

The flavor of the finest cigars and coffee

The juice of puerco asado

The passion of revolution

The fire of mambo

And the talent for talking the most shit

Yes

Being Cuban is hot

Like Tony Montana hot

Like Miami hot

Like come on shake your body baby do that conga hot

Like Castro’s head under his army hat hot

And everyone eats it up like rice and beans

“Oh, Grisel, you’re Cuban?”

“You’ve never been there?”

“You have to go – IT’S SO MUCH FUN!”

“Grisel, you’re Cuban?”

“Let me tell you, Castro is a genius

And I hate all the propaganda about how bad it is over there.”

 

They love Cuba

Being Cuban is hot

Yeah, sure it’s hot

Hot like the burning words

My uncles would write to

My mother out of frustration

Because she wasn’t sending them

Enough money

And their excellent Cuban educations

Were useless

On a jobless island

 

Being Cuban is hot

Like the acid in my

Grandfather’s tears

When he saw me on videotape

Telling him I wanted to meet him

I still haven’t met him

He died in last year

Being Cuban is hot like the

Itchy skin my cousins must

Withstand because they have

No lotion

No soap

No vitamins

To keep their skin from developing disease

I am reminded of this every time I buy lotion

At the dollar store

 

Being Cuban is hot

Like the air under the blanket

My mother would cover herself with

Stuck in her bed by the weight

Of depression and conflict

Caused by both

Missing her family and country and

Fearing seeing them again

Because nothing she could do was

Ever enough

 

Being Cuban is hot

Like the liquor my uncles

Drink there

And the liquor

I drink here

While they drink to forget their lives

I drink because no one has given me a memory of Cuba

Mami never talked about it

My connection with this place

Is loosely held together by

Old black and white photographs and

New packages of unwanted clothes we

Send over

 

Yeah, being Cuban is hot

Hot like prostitution

Because there  is nothing hotter than

Using a mulatta’s body

Which is such a hot commodity

That it is advertised as “the best” throughout Europe

Being Cuban is hot like the racism

Between white and black Cubans

And the classism

Between the ones who left

And the ones who stayed

 

Being Cuban is hot

Like the mythologized view of the U.S.

So many Cubans living here must keep alive

Because if they don’t keep it alive

Then what was the point

Of giving up everything they ever had?

Being Cuban is hot

Like self-denial and self-hatred

Because I’m not just Cuban

I’m Colombian, too!

But nobody wants you be Colombian

They’re not as cool

Not as hot, rather

 

Being Cuban is hot

Like the sadness of unrealized dreams

Under the afternoon sun

Sadness which IS bought and sold

For you entertainment

So if I do not share

Your enthusiasm

Over the novelty

Of my mother’s motherland

Don’t freak out

It’s just that

I am a cold Cuban

Dead cold like the realization of the fact

That I have lived and breathed

The truths of Cuba

Since day one

And you have not, hot.

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

© GRITO

 

"...without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible...." - Frank Zappa