Spicaresque:

A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

SOUTH CENTRAL LIBRARIAN MANUAL: CUSTOMER SERVICE SCENARIO INVOLVING DOLLAR TREE MOTHERS

Jamila throttles into the lobby of the library; there is blood in her eyes, which forces her to squint deep.
She wants the name of the motherfucker that told her mother the only place she can work is Dollar Tree.
She wants his name, his motherfucking badge number, and the FICO score of his old lady.

I tell her I am the motherfucker she is looking for, which comes out all wrong (I don't clinch the emphasis).
But, that I never would have told her mother the only place she can work is Dollar Tree. I tell her, I told her.
I told her that the only place that might accept papers applications in this neighborhood is Dollar Tree or Family Farms.

Jamila in a NY JETS jersey and sparkly sandals; Jamila, tough customer on a vendetta query, looking through motherfuckers.
Jamila, all employers force applicants to pilot their websites, so they can assess their protocol-pulse and proclivities.
Jamila, I would like nothing more than to be the motherfucker that helped your mother get a job, but I can't.

Bring her to my computer class on Wednesdays so she can learn some new skills and come hang out in the air conditioning with us.
Jamila, libraries love your mother, libraries love mothers in general, libraries are full of motherfucking mother-lovers, Jamila.

Monday, June 12, 2017

JESUS ALDANA-ALBA REVIEWS CAVITY'S "AFTER DEATH"

Cavity, After Death, 2017
by Jesús Aldana-Alba


This is ugly music for ugly people with ugly friends who like it that way. Now, I’d never heard of Cavity before being asked to review this album, so, I’m not going to be comparing it to any of their past efforts.

I’ll start by saying that, “After Death” is reminiscent of so many other records that have done that sound well. Nonetheless, it is far from a mediocre endeavor. Whereas Sleep is heavier; Neurosis more intellectual; Boneworm, more psychedelic; and, Sub Rosa and Pallbearer, more elegant, Cavity’s latest is as reliable as winter rust.

By the 3rd track “Fangs On Beyond” the album begins to sound exactly like what you might guess it sounds like from the title: a couple of bare, mid-paced, super-aggressive tracks that pound away on heavy, dirty distortion-drenched guitars and vocals, exemplified on side 1, for example, by tracks like “Scalpel A.D. and Neanderthal.”

The vocals are captivating throughout though; they do have a very scratch-your-eyes-out sort-of feel to them. And the lyrics - what I could make out of them, anyways - are thoughtful


The cymbal work on the first track gives it a bit of Industrial flavor, at first; then, the track gives way to a slow, bluesy churn that makes one want to get ink. “Neanderthal” starts to feel like an unfolding, of sorts. Maybe, it’s the slight wobble between the instruments, as if the time signature is just a suggestion, but, this unmooring ends up working in Cavity’s favor.

I imagine that if you could slow time down to a crawl, and be a fly on the wall inside of an Internal Combustion Engine, you’d hear the sounds of After Death’s side 1. After that roar, naturally, follows the paranormal rust and blues of side 2. If you’ve ever heard Neurosis’ Sovereign, (Cavity’s track) “Fangs” will sound familiar. It’s noisy and jarring and tribal--a bit Sci-Fi, too. The track scrapes across the sky like nails on a chalkboard (but we, that is my ugly friends and I, like a little pain here).

The album’s closer, is gold. “Collision” is so sparse, at first, that it feels quiet, despite it being loud, as loud as an unexpected thrah-rattling while walking alone in the desert. The percussion is adroit. And the vocals - THE VOCALS!!! - they go from sweet and delicate to reckless, ebullient hooting, like Michael Jackson at a Mr. Bungle hostage situation.

All in all, After Death is a very satisfying record, perfect for drowning out unruly neighbors while you solder cables or cycling through your yoga routine. Personally, After Death has a meditative quality you might want to blast while you slap some glue on some art, which if you think about it might be the highest compliment one could pay to a band.

Buy the album, here: https://www.secretserpents.com/products/cavity-after-death

Friday, February 3, 2017

QU'EST-CE QUE C'EST, "BAD WEEK"

Was about to drive to Fatburger for pick-up lethargy (well-done)
when me steed clonks out and refuses to turn over, which
makes me think battery, but could also be alternator not
keeping the charge, or even the fecund distributor on that
grassy knoll of toil.

was about to call the cops when the madmad woman come in crying
blubbering about people laughing at her, so much so that my colleagues
cloistered her at a table to see if they could calm her down from
peal upon peal of laughter that kept zinging from her maw.

was asking administration buffoons to peter out and hold dome
for four solar lowrides past our immense Pelagic Blue marble
and now they want to hand revolvers out at pill call and skull
fuck orphans and collateral parcels from our illicit corporate darning.

was asking law school Augustines and loot-filled philistines
to sit down on the airport carpet and commandeer all the sockets
to R.P.G. motions down the gullets of our most scary platforms
and dockets and comprobantes and the sweat of fire hydrants.

was asking nationalists and Leninists to stop colluding
over the fiber(fiver)-optic cable dot com Rasputin.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SEYBOLD BUILDING: LORE

Jewelers have lots of friends because some are naturally gregarious, but all jewelers have lots of friend because they expect discounts. Discounts from their middlemen, discounts from their priests and rabbis, discounts from the children garden or synthetic oil club. Jewelers need you to cut from the top because they are always the one left holding the cup; they buff and sparkle the fuck out of that bauble before wrapping it in tissue and laying it in its silky, plastic zip-lock sheath.

Just like the Phoenicians invented written language for commercial reasons, every sale, alteration, or consultation that jewelers make are based on a story, a narrative, un hilo or thread that carries the transaction from need to want to satiation. Jewelers are hubs from which emanate legions of anecdotes, cuentos, jokes, practicums and symposia. In our rush for k-pod singularity and 3D print articulations, jewelers might be some of the only remaining samurai artisan businessmen. Forget the retail chains or diamond wholesalers, many of those proprietors are just as privileged as your common portfolio manager; I'm talking about a hunger you can't teach in the U.S.

I am talking specifically about the jeweler that puts food on the table with their craft and their neck. These women and men can associate a story with every point of purchase, and as we continue to accelerate the loss of our physical memory to make way for the android memory server, let no one say I was not at the helm shouting down from the oxygen tanks that jewelers are repositories of stages in the life of an artifact, and that objects and artifacts used to matter. Maybe, I am being a nostalgic dick, a petulant post-millennial, or a gigantic mamon. Truth be told, I am heavily all three, but that does not preclude me from seeing the importance of jewelers.

But, I will never forget the tale of Eduardo and his loose wedding ring. Eduardo had recently gotten married; purely by mistake, he makes his ring a little looser than his fiance's. Because he was pressed for time, he decided to wear it loose and alter it the second he had a minute. Two months later, Eduardo is coming out of the Seybold, and while walking to Government Center, two dudes approach seemingly out nowhere and snatch his men's leather satchel, which the dudes probably mistaked for a bank deposit bag. While giving chase, the two dudes jumped over a fence with abundant ease; Eduardo gives chase, and manages to scamper up the fence with little difficulty.


But, as Eduardo nears the crest of the fence, he manages to slip a tine of the fence between his finger and the ring. At the same time, Eduardo looses footing as he throws his weight over, and the actual wedding ring ends up severing his finger. It pulls through the flesh, bone, and tears. The subsequent screaming that Eduardo looses upon the cold edifices of downtown Miami makes the santeros leaving dead chickens on the steps of the court house think twice about how they exit. Even though gold is considered a soft metal, it can still cut through skin and bone without much hesitation.

We need to see the serrated edge to know it cuts, but given enough weight and pressure, a ring of gold can act as a plasma slice of coin and cut through bone and plastic to yell its historical theater. .

Friday, January 20, 2017

SEYBOLD BUILDING: INTERIOR: FIRST STREET ENTRANCE

Come through all breeze on North West First Street, then straightaway the grey and dark grey diamond tiles patterning sieve of dark grey diamond tiles (or perhaps the sieve is light grey?). 20 feet to your left, the stairs for the mezzanine, which you won't want to take unless you need dull gems from Italy or like a horse mane brush with corral inlay.

Prime storefronts jut out and blaze the lucre in their windows; their displays: their most valuable, encrusted, gleaming champaigne soap bubbles on headless, velvet displays. House of Byzantine horrors, half-limbs and sample shoulders, half-conceived but for their flank wheren lay a whopping piece of metal exuberance.

The first stores on your sides as you come in are Aaron's Jewelery & Diamonds and Aruba Gold Jewelers, but I remember a time in the early 90's when a whiz kid from Italy had an expensive glass shop at the entrance that sold fragile oil and vinegar glass dispensers that held both liquids simultaneously in the glass dispenser at the same time, but separated them by a clever bladder or some shit.

And, this dude was there for a couple of months before his fragile glass outpost crumbled; he grew dependent on pain pills and turned into a pillhead and nearly lost his monthly allowance from some castle in Tuscany.

Immediately after, a mosaic on the tile floor that must take up just about 30 feet, in which a topaz frame is festooned in a beige background so that two brown tile X's fasten the ends of the mosaic to the (dark-grey/light-grey) sieve-expanse.

Straight ahead, jutting out of the ground, a parapet that holds the staircase for the sotano, and about 30 feet beyond that, the security guard Octagon-kiosk, an embattlement manned at all times by at least two security guards that are also weekend pilots for Hermanos al Rescate.

Inside the Octagon-kiosk, just below chest level, the panels all closed-circuit television screens, maybe 4 inches by 6 inches, with very little actual counterspace to let's say write notes or enter security log data. On the netherside of the Octagon-kiosk, an alphabetical index of all the DBA's, LLC's, and Proprietorships that can be found inside.

The slope of the entrance drains towards the sotano stairwell, but at such a small grade that it's hard to tell if it's slanted at all. In between the Octagon-kiosk and the sunken sotano stairwell lay a hole in the wall cafeteria for the more discerning bastards and mistresses.

We almost never went to eat there, and not because the food was bad. We almost never went to eat there because the air was no different than in the taller, in the tin can office on the sixth floor at the far end of the floor, by that cluster of Brazilian castiadores.


Friday, January 13, 2017

INTRODUCTION TO "LIBRARIANS WITH SPINES"

In May it will be two years that I have been an Adult Librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library; I am very happy with my position, and the branch I work at is a branch with over 100 years of service, and a small Black History Collection (4,208 titles). My side hustles are as a poet and writer, blogger, teacher, interpreter, rabbi (non denominational), sanitation functionary, and publisher, etc. I pay the bills for an online journal called Hinchas de Poesia (www.hinchasdepoesia.com) while one talented designer puts it together and one talented editor edits the shit out of every issue. We don't make any money and we don't ask for any money, so a lot of people do not know how to process our existence, and that's fine as it is equally hard for us to sometimes process our existence as well.

HINCHAS Press came into existence in 2016 to publish an anthology of ghazals (an Arabic poetry form) for James Foley, Ghazals for Foley. If you don't know James Foley, look him up. He and I were close friends in the Poets and Writers Program at UMASS-Amherst. A few years later he actually ends up lending me the money to buy server space to display the first issue of Hinchas de Poesia. So, this anthology of essays, Librarians with Spines, is a big deal because it is the next step in the evolution of HINCHAS Press and Jim's Legacy. What started out as an online journal has evolved into a venue that would like to tackle the lack of color in the publishing industry one ISBN at a time. It is my firm belief that at no other time in the history of the world has it been so easy to edit, publish and distribute a book solely under your influence and care.

When I was a a kid and had recently moved to Miami from Brooklyn, what is now the Kendall Branch Library used to be called the Snapper Creek Library. My parents were customers at the Executive National Bank on the corner of 97th and Kendall Drive, and every Saturday after my mom made her deposits she took my sister and I to the Snapper Creek Library to hang out and read, peer into the lives of things we had not yet conceived of. As an eleven year old transitioning into a mature twelve year old, I found refuge in those stacks, especially the Choose Your Own Adventure series and their extensive juvenile non-fiction. I can not underestimate the importance of libraries in my life, and what a joy they are to visit, and what joys have I experienced simply from a book.

Those Saturdays add up and I see myself older and becoming a more confident patron in 1986, but those first years were a little scary. As a kid, I remember approaching the reference desk as if the librarian behind it were a descendant of G'mork. Eventually, I figured out the order on the shelves and stopped asking for help; getting lost was just another way of figuring out how to find the subjects that most interested me, but I knew there was an order; it was there if you cared to pay attention. So, you can understand how weird it might be to be behind the desk you feared as a kid, to be the first person, perhaps, a kid sees when he or she come to the library.

There's something that happens when you come into a building and realize it's full of books, a weird kind of wattage that accompanies the agglutinated wisdom in ink of forty thousand spines. I do not feel the same way walking into a server closet, or taking a stroll through the air conditioned nightmare of a server farm. While I know I can highlight text on my e-device, I prefer the ball-point chicken scratch of my personal annotations, many of which are anachronistic inside jokes and offer zero insight. There's a sensory threshold I can't seem to get past using e-devices, and my books in no small part represent the parameters of my knowledge, the bricks that fill the foundation, the inconsistencies in the parapets, and the bleed through on the over-re-enforced portions.

I have never met Max Macias in real life, that is, in person. I know he is a person and I know he lives in Oregon and I know he works for Portland Community College and I know he can Smith Grind minipipe coping and loves to teach people about technology. Max and I are anomalies in the Library World because the professional library world is largely white and female. I make the distinction between professional and clerical because in most systems in our country that division is solely predicated on race, meaning in our large library systems, people of color do most of the clerical work at a library, and most of the professional work gets done by Caucasians. There is nothing wrong per se with this except when you change your shirt and start playing for the other team.

Max and I do professional librarian work as men of color (and politically vociferous men at that). But, this is a personal work of scholarship and we are publishing without our respective affiliations; Max and I are publishing this book as private citizens. We started out as Face Book friends and then we realized we both grew up skateboarding, we both were at the inception of Hip Hop and Punk Rock, and we both loved the dreamers, that category of people that constantly look at the world with an enormous sense of what if.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

POEM AFTER RENE LALOUX'S "FANTASTIC PLANET"

A Traag murdered by an Om is unbelievable
but Terr is a resourceful Om and he's learned
tested Traag tenets sobre food cubes and color powder.

Terr's hooked up with a wild Om, a serpentine
witch naturalist guide proxy leotard Om.

Terr's been forthcoming with his knowledge of Traag tenets
but of course the wild Oms stand resolute at not widening
their circle of influence and poor Terr

well poor Terr has to strap on the raptor worm and joust
with the naysayers, nitwits, and feral not necessarily wild Oms
just to prove he was simultaneously understanding the Traag tenets

Terr's Traag was learning from their cognitive grape diadems
how to be compassionate giants in snug spandex cuneiform uniforms.