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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SEYBOLD BUILDING: INTERIOR: ARCADE

As you walk in to the Seybold, some of the first fronts are or were wrapped in black marble to give it an elegant sheen. Some of the fronts even have gold Art Deco accents, and dull, opaque siding that runs under and over the display windows.

The floor has a diamond checkerboard pattern, and all the fronts have enormous 1,000 gallon jewelry displays of their most valued pieces or watches or whatever pendant is in at the moment. I remember the displays for when spinning rings were popular had necks that jutted forward and back to give the tier on the ring some momentum. The jewelry displays in the arcade of the Seybold building could put you up for life and maybe send your kid to college in the future.

You will want to stray at this point and go down the rows of rings and watches and bracelets and take a look even though you have six dollars to your name. Why do you look? For the same reason that these jokers put their best, most expensive alajas just outside your reach: it is to make you want nothing more than to caress, and run your digits over these pieces, like some thief that can read Braille or denominations in paper money.

Look at those diamond-encrusted Rolexes, peep those Tags just sitting back in their ergonomic, velvety displays. The world is an oyster with overflowing pearls if you can figure out how to smash a three-inch plexiglass wall in under 15 seconds. The people milling about are wearing their Sunday best which makes no sense: when you go to buy jewelry, if the jeweler sees you rocking name brand he feels less of a sting when he charges you name brand, so from now on let's wear our rags to the jewelers so we can get basement barricks price.

Inevitably you come to the guard kiosk which is being guarded not by kiosks but by middle-aged men with flood pants, white socks, and athletic security guard booties. Their hand is reflexively on their holster, as if a memo had been issued by the administration that touching your peepee in public was now allowed. Who were they going to scare when they were always in their witches coven huddle, stroking their chins at all the viejas squeezed into spandex faldas, meng.

There's also an entrance on East Flagler with a narrower espalande, and the display windows are like unknown lodes of a couple of thousand dollars of trinkets and exotic doodads. The shops on the East Flagler side are smaller but somehow more compressed and thus packed. Like if people were going to go the Seybold to buy jewelry it was probably going to be done on the arcade because while access is not denied to strangers, the kiosk might get curious if they were to see you milling about, doing a close reading of the registry. It is here that my sister and I came to the least, the place we rarely trespassed, even when left to our devices. But, it is the place where we would have seen more a more normal Miami, than the rabble of fences, forgers, and pharaohs of smut.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

SEYBOLD DENIZENS: EXTERIOR: PANCHO MAN, PANCHO

I forget the guy's name but we called him Pancho. In Argentina, they call hot dogs, panchos. So, I don't know if we called him Pancho because that was his name (a variation of Frank) or if because he sold hot dogs. He was a hot dog vender with a bona fide aluminum shinning hot dog cart, and our pops would take my sister and I to lunch at his hot dog cart every day during the summers when we went to work with him. I remember his cart used to be across the street from the fancy looking bank on the corner of Flagler and First. That was his spot, and he worked it incredibly well. These were the days before the Miami-Dade CC expansion (back when it was still a CC) and reinvention of downtown Miami, back when the arena was still a stone throws from the Mason-Dixon between downtown and Overtown.

Pancho had thick set librarian glasses and wasn't very tall. If he was Argentine, he was a provincial because his asshole quotient was always low, not unlike my father and my uncle who were two Sudacas with enough soccer knowledge to make them helium egos. Pancho always wore his socks up to his knees but always wore expensive tennis court sneakers, as if slinging hot dogs was his side gig. He wore cargo pants in the mid-80's, back only when mercenary tacticians wore them, and a plain, green apron with two pockets down the front, from which a pair of rubber-gripped tongs hung near his nuts. He usually rocked Polo shirts but had exclusive license to ones that were stripped vertically. In essence, he dressed like a dad, he dressed like my dad dressed, which is probably why I remember at all what he looked like. Also, he was not my parents' only friends that made a living selling concession. Years later my folks would befriend and go halfsies with another Argentine couple that made a living with concessions during the 80's.

I used to take advantage of the situation while scarfing down my hot dog and throw crumbs at my sister's feet because she was terrified of pigeons. They would flock to her foot and she would bug out and ask my dad to reprimand me, and I would point to the ground and signal the lack of bread evidence. It was a game we'd play partly because my dad would be so busy talking to Pancho and Pinino that he wouldn't notice my sister having an aneurysm on the corner of Flagler and First. Also, Pancho's panchos now that I think of it were mostly the sauerkraut and relish we used to balance precariously on that hot dog. And, of course, there was the selection of the sodas which turned into a feat of bravery and pain for my sister and I. By the time we came down it was well past noon and Pancho had been sitting out in the sun under a parasol for a very long time. By the time we would come down the water in the little tank where Pancho kept the sodas was as cold and painful as arctic lemonade. My sister and I would see who could keep our hands in the icy water for longer and I would invariably always lose because I am a pussy and my sister developed the ability to snap the heads off pigeons with tiny incisor kicks.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

HINCHAS PRESS @ 2016 LOS ANGELES LITCRAWL IN NOHO

Hinchas Press was super honored this year to be a part of the 2016 Los Angeles LitCrawl. LitCrawl is a smorgasboard of readings that transpire in one night in North Hollywood. Hinchas presented a program called "Pushing Past Neruda," which challenged the readers to engage with a piece of Latin American Poetry. The focus of Hinchas de Poesia is certainly not Latin American Poetry, but the continent figures prominently in our aesthetic cache.

Regardless, Annette Cruz, Sara Borjas, Ryan Nance, William A Gonzalez, and Mike Sonksen all agreed to read and showed up to read in the Snyder Breezeway. I had never organized a reading in a breezeway, so you can imagine when I showed up and it was a simple callejon with bamboo accents. We did receive a battery operated amp and a mic which did enhance the experience of the reading quite a bit. I do think that LitCrawl Los Angeles, given their budget, did a stellar job of organizing the readings.

I can't thank the readers enough for bringing it on a Wednesday night to North Hollywood and for engaging with the city in a way few people know how to enjoy. Hinchas Press was super honored to be able to organize this on behalf of the amazing readers and their superior efforts.



Official LitCrawl slider





These are the flyers that we came up with to promote and publicize our efforts.



Sara Borjas y'all!



Sara Borjas y'all!



Sara Borjas y'all! (Dennis Cruz foreground)



William A. Gonzalez



William A. Gonzalez



Annette Cruz



Annette Cruz



Mike Sonksen



Mike Sonksen



Mike Sonksen

Monday, November 7, 2016

SEYBOLD DENIZENS: EXTERIOR: PAJARITO

I have been going to the Seybold since about the fifth grade. You see, my father, a jeweler in the building, would take my sister and I to the Seybold because it was cheaper than camp. We had tried the camp summer before and truth be told it was as harrowing as going to work with my father all day. Plus, it was always the same campers at summer camp whereas when we went with my father to work there was no telling who we were going to be forced to say hi to. And, my father let my sister and I play with as much boiling wax that our epidermises could withstand; we would sit at his "molds" table and push the nozzle on the kettle and out would come super hot wax, green or blue, dripping down our eager hands, and the first to say "ow" or any variation thereof would lose and have to hang their heads in shame the rest of the day. My sister always beat me at this game because she was as hard as seven-year-old-nails are straight.

On days we went to work with him, my father would drive to the Dadeland Mall or South Miami station and just take the MetroRail into Government Center. It's a two block walk from Government Center to the Seybold, and in those two blocks you will have to traverse several homeless encampments, the steps of the Federal Court House and several disgruntled parking lots. Right where we used to turn left on Flagler, we used to run into the homeless guy my dad called, Pajarito (little bird). Pajarito was or still is a homeless scamp in downtown Miami, so he wears the typical raiments of the homeless, like parkas in the dead of summer; his beard looked like a dirty asterisk, overgrown with blurriness, and I forget whether he ever wore shoes: it might have been he used to wear newspaper slippers but his pathology was not violent, his demeanor was kind of Chaplinesque. So, pajarito would be under a tree, chewing on a sprig or mulling an idea without the aid of his teeth, and this bald Latino man with two kids in tow would just appear out of nowhere and greet the man like a super distant cousin, talk to him for a minute, tops, and just keep pushing towards the Seybold.

Every morning my father lingered to talk to Pajarito, my sister and I, preternaturally frightened by a homeless dude, would walk ahead and wait, indecorously with arms akimbo (mostly my sister). Their body language displayed a negotiation or solemn entreat, where my dad would point his upturned hand at Pajarito and Pajarito would listen with his head half-cocked. My f ather always gave Pajarito money, the denominations unknown to us, as we were out of focus, but there was always an exchange, and as my father would catch up to us, Pajarito would be looking down Flagler toward Seybold, hidden by the corner but peeking on his tiptoes. According to my father, Pajarito has made deposits to my dad's business account. If I am not mistake these deposits were a way for my father to fuck with the bank's tellers. Could you imagine a homeless guy walking into your bank and making a deposit into a business account with less than ten grand in it? I am pretty sure this was my father's idea of practical joke. And, if you think about it, especially if you take into consideration that he probably gave him less than $50 to deposit, it at least seems plausible.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

SEYBOLD BASTION BLUES FOR NOSTALGIC BASTARDS & JEWELERS

Today was my father's last day as a jeweler in Miami's Seybold Building. He turned in his keys for #651, retired his two bathroom keys, and moved all his tools and machinery from his taller to his home garage. By all accounts, it was an uneventful day full of facile protocols of handing things in and receiving receipts and slips in security envelopes. If my memory serves me right and helps me recreate the ante, my father had been at Seybold working for himself, or for someone else, for almost 30 years.

Moms tells me mi viejo is exhausted from all the machinery he's been moving for the last couple of days; some of the tools in his shop were as dense as dying stars, and some of the grime had begun colonies of mugre. I suspect my father feels this is the end of an era for him, a sort of coup de grace of his identity as breadwinner. The way I see it: my father put two kids through college as a manufacturer of jewelry. There were periods when he worked for himself, and there were periods when he worked for other manufacturers, but there were always periods when he worked.

As early as 2011, CNN was reporting that Gold had reached a record high fetching $1900 for an ounce or a little over 28 grams. What this means is that less people buy jewelry and more people hoard gold during times when it is really high. But, by December of 2013 the Telegraph was reporting on gold's crash (as a commodity) and subsequent roller-coaster behavior throughout the year. Andrew Critchlow writes, "Gold has suffered its sharpest fall in 30 years, down almost 28pc over the past 12 months to close 2013 at about $1,200 (£725) an ounce."

Click Here: 100 Years of the Price of Gold

If you've never seen the Seybold, imagine an 10-story sandstone building with a half dome portico at the entrance. At the top, the corners of the building have square cornices that makes them look like bezels, or settings where a seminal stone might lie and let out a shine to attract shoppers. The columns between the mezzanine and the second floor are a darker sort of sandstone and make the Corinthian columns between the mezzanine and second floor kind of jut out, like tacky teeth. I have been looking at this building for almost fifteen of those years, and I have to recreate the image of it; so, there is also something very nonchalant, almost flippant, about the Seybold.
It was one of Miami's first skyscrapers, designed by the firm of Kiehnel and Elliott, an architecture firm from Pittsburgh responsible for many historical buildings in downtown Miami, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables.30 years seems like a lot, but given the iterations of what the Seybold Building is or was start in 1915, when John Seybold--a baker and confectioner--decides to build a dumpy "three-story building", I realize that the Seybold Building is merely 101 years old. By 1921, a rear annex two-story building was added, and by 1925, 8 additional floors were plopped on top of those tiers. The Seybold is on the register of historical sites (pg 9 of 40) in Miami, and it has several art deco flairs inside, like an exaggerated, sweeping staircase up to the mezzanine, and ornate, wooden banisters that look like they were plucked from the aquiline nose of a Gatsby.

According to my father, this move has been coming for a while. For a while, the new owners of Seybold have been quietly pushing out the jewelers, specifically the casters and other hazmat-Vulcans. I know you know this but it is standard operating procedure for jewelers to use cyanide as a cleaning agent and sparkler; furthermore, gold starts melting at a little below 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can imagine that it can get a little musty and toxic when the acetylene torch gets cooking. You don't even want to know what kind of noxious fumes circulate in the Seybold when it's close to Xmas. Mi viejo has no idea what they're going to do with the building, but he's astute enough to know that the new owners are going to try to maximize their equity by converting talleres into residential apartments, lofts, and luxury efficiencies and studios. Government Station in Downtown Miami, former repository of leagues of homeless, is set to welcome high-speed rail, the Brightline, a direct shot promising Orlando in three hours.

You do the math. And, yes, this kind of push is inevitable, pitiable, and yet people shrug their shoulders like I would be shrugging mine if this wasn't about my father. Your're right, you shouldn't give a shit, except my father raised my sister and I and put us through college with the jewelry he made and sold in Seybold, so yes, I feel like the final splinter of my tenure in Miami is being finally excreted from Miami's toe, a city I haven't lived in since 1999. But, progress can look different, and there are ways to honor the people who ensured you were hale and salient (I'm talking about the Seybold here) by being hale and salient entrepreneurs and ambassadors of hustle. My father is definitely an ambassador of hustle, and this isn't the last of his aesthetic stylings on the drill-bit mic because that guy can really speak with his hands.

Friday, October 14, 2016

CALLIGRAPHY (by Sully) OF "GHAZAL FOR HAMZA FOLEY" (by Yago Cura)

My favorite library patron is a biker named Sully. You might think that an Irish-American biker in South Central might be out of place but you would be wrong. Sully practices Calligraphy and has read widely on the art of living your life through Zen practices. Sully is definitely a standing member of a historic biker social club, and is definitely a letter writer. In the very near future, I hope to work with Sully to help him tell his life story and publish it through HINCHAS Press. Let's see what comes of that, but this calligraphy of a poem I wrote for my friend James Foley is just amazeballz!!!