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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


As a people, the strongest opposition that we encounter comes from people that look just like ourselves and act just like ourselves (if by "ourselves" we mean "Latinos"). They may eat the same things we eat, but don't make the mistake of thinking that we get nourished in the same ways.

The fact of the matter is that the term Latino incorporates all the Spanish-speaking peoples of North and South America. Therefore, the Afro-Dominican, who would never agree to be called that is just as much a Latino as the Afro-Ecuadorian, who can not escape the pigment in his skin or that label. In the Autumn 2001 issues of Comparative Literature, Roman de la Campa says that the terms Latino is "rather a recognition of an unusual and persistent duality, nurtured by the constant flow of capital--human, symbolic, and financial--between the Americas. In that sense the Latino presence unsettles the civilization models discussed earlier, be they of northern or southern provenance." (pg. 377)

Even though the presence of Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S goes back to the eighteenth century (2001, 377), "Even today many academic disciplines continue to acknowledge Latinos only to the degree that their most visible communities demand it." (2001, 377) So, what does that mean for us, for the individual sitting there in the shadow of his ethnicity, trying to figure it all out. In 2001 it was estimated that there were between "30 to 35 million Latinos in the United States...and that their presence now engenders a $30 billion a year economy from consumer products advertised in Spanish in the United States." (2001, 377) Again, what does this mean for the person sitting in darkness trying to figure it all out. Well, for the first part it means that you do not have to worry about feeling alone and that you don't have to hovel in the shadow of your ethnicity. There is an industry out there, ready and riled to go, that is desperately going to try to make a buck off you. That is, if the Academy does not recognize you then maybe you can play Advertisers off the Academy and watch them fight each other for the rights to make money off you. In other words, your identity has become a commodity, and the only way to ensure you don't get ripped off is by actively participating in the dialogue that is palpable.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


One time after having gone home to Miami, my parents decided to take my girlfriend (now wife) and I to eat at this one Mexican place they love in Homestead. Homestead is mostly agricultural so it is predominated by migrant workers, most of whom are Mexican, El Salvadorian, or Honduran. Their restaurants, eateries, and watering holes look nothing like the ones in Miami. Even the franchises are more agricultural as the amount of Arby's per capita are higher in Homestead than they are in Miami. Homestead is like what Miami should have remained: a grover's dust bowl with intermittent flashes of cowboy opulence and rawhide Caucasian women with flax-colored hair and uncomfortable bikinis. I don't even know if Homestead is part of Dade County? It seems that Homestead might share in the jurisdiction of the state and city governments (that municipal gauze) that constitutes the Keys.

We are eating and of course get on the subject of politics, which (because my wife is Chicana and muy social justice like myself)inevitably degenerates into racial politics and/or identity politics. I tell my Dad that I am Latino, like it's some iron-on badge that I have just bought in a five and dime. This is a word that I have learned in grad school and which has taken on much resonance since I have been living in New York. So my father asks whether my cousins kids are Latino. My cousin lives in an affluent suburb of Chicago and has six kids; his wife is Irish-American and Catholic, and has striven to include Spanish as one of the tongues her kids will speak. My father says he is not Latino, but white. And this sets off a whole sequence of events that leads to indigestion and juvenile remonstrances (from both sides). You see, my father and I have never learned to argue; to this day, we do not know how to respectfully disagree.

But in reading Juan Flores and George Yudice's article titled, "Living Borders/Buscando America: Languages of Latin Self-Formation" that appeared in Social Text in 1990, being able to call yourself something, to "deploy" a moniker to describe the thing that you are is a pretty important part of Identity. On page 60 they write that, "Latino affirmation is first of all a fending off of schizophrenia, of that pathological duality born of contending cultural worlds and, perhaps more significantly, of the conflicting pressures toward both exclusion and forced incorporation".

Monday, December 29, 2008


She said it again, and he kicked her Asian wave poster(the same poster she said they were going to use to line the cabinets, etc.).
He thinks, fat chance, getting me to flip the script with fait accompli ducats; I have what I have for the moment and then I have to scrape again.
They were in this together, but it felt like irreversible scramble, a jumble of minors in a delivery truck, something inconsequential given then a gambit orbit.
He just wanted to say, damn! Can't we just hold this pattern of weather, there
is something comforting in knowing there is an account that we can pilfer,
A trust fund that waters the house plants, A butler that takes Masters to the park,
A decimal, smack dab in the middle of your ventricle.

There is that job opening up, my paperwork in the hands of languid secretaries.
My documentation is in your coat pockets, she said, and it sounded like a threat.
Like, take your hands out of your pockets, slowly, or I will consider extreme prejudice when I exterminate the jargon. You are all talk, and it shows, it shows.
He thinks if aspects are so sticking-out obvious, then why grow criteria for toil.
He thinks I am a student and this does not apply to me.
She thinks that when she is pregnant there will be a dance to the finish.
There is so much filtration that accompanies the speech of triggers;
the indigent know the accent, and I can explain it tuto.

Friday, December 19, 2008


undress for me, Miami, even though
you haven't bought new panties in weeks

your expressways are gams,
your mangroves are negligees

homesteads in Perrine, the outstanding bills
and final notices annihilated on the lawn

your tinder for the cauldron of mascara
your raincheeks and monsoon jumpsuit

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The fandango of Crockett and Tubbs gives rise to pastel proselytes
at the Altar of the Undercover

Every week el same racket: los cops chasing dealers on speedboats they call cigarettes.

And mamahuevo de Phil Collins singing, I can feel it coming in the air tonight,
ay Dios

In this dirigible economy you can sanitize scalpels for Dr. Hidalgo, plastic surgeon
to the estrellas (los strumpets de dictators), and Cenicientas of the small house

Or you can open shop in Seybold alongside the jewelers, estafadores and hammerheads
selling Lazarus pendants (the dogs, with rubies for eyes), diamond encrusted anchors
24 K grenades and platinum Uzis

Selling replica pendants of implements
used to ply their plows of polvora

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Primero, los Tequestas

Pero antes, bastante antes, the Spanish
slicing trophy tongues, bumbling gore fountains
feeding succulent Indians to their dogs

Despues, los Seminoles (esos renegade nostalgists)
cabroncitos de cobre, cria de los Creeks

Ahora, para los Industrialistas. Let there be Industrialists!

Luego, much luego, Flagler hustling Tuttle for half her homestead grove
(the only grove que sobrevivio!) on the Eve of the Apocafrostlypsis of 1896

Tuttle calling Flagler’s bluff with an orange blossom in a box

Despues, suave flight instructors with silk throats dogging nurses
in bivouacs on bases

Y we can’t forget los slews of Jews that pensioned
into loungers to be ravaged by solar tsunamis

(que melanoma ardiente!)

Los leagues upon leagues of Pan Am brethren left to fend
for the scraps of a graphic bankruptcy. (The Pan Am tag sale was bananas.)

Or the interminable Azafranistas, shoguns, balseros, Ninja mechanics
sodomites, moles, bomberos, embezzlers, bankers, and bodegueros

Fleeing the fever of Communism, halitosis of Peronism,
the death-squad smelling salts.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I am constantly waiting for the women in my life; I have always had to wait for the women in my life. Is it that I am just that much more efficient at grooming myself, or sadly, is it that I have never really groomed myself very well.

Women are always getting ready in my presence. Even when they are taking stuff off they are getting ready to take off. I have seen women in winner-mode slap across the face of a competitor.

Women should sell tickets to their existence, or encourage a Typhoid type of voyeurism. I hear the bellows of History declaim the novelties of Man in banshee voltage.

Something, anything, is better than waiting for women. Is it that really
they might take so much time to effuse their octane?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So, tomorrow I have an interview at BCC. Relax, it is not for a librarian position, although I would be working alongside a librarian or several librarians. Therefore, of course, the night before I am prepping and/or freaking out. I mean I really would like to work at an academic library after getting my degree (hopefully, after Spring 2009) so this job will make some great resume fodder.
Particularly, I am drawn to the fact that the school I am interviewing at is a community college in the inner-city so that means for the most part that I will be (if I get the damn job of course) interacting with students from the inner-city, a demographic or population (both terms sound so pejorative) I am quite familiar with. Also, the site is not far from my home in Harlem so this too is a plus; I commute like an hour and a half to Queens College, so the prospects of a half hour commute is like a wet dream wrapped in an electric blanket (titillatingly electrifying).
So, ultimately, the best thing is to do some snooping on the school website before the interview and try to second guess some of the questions that I will probably be asked tomorrow by my interlocutors. My strategy should include coming up with at least five questions, but at the same time involve trying to get a reading on the type of patrons/students that I would be assisting. This is not always an easy task, especially since I have never really been on campus.
What I know is that the school is in the inner-city and is part of the City University of New York system; therefore, the type of students that attend the school varies in terms of socio-economic status, educational background, and skill level. There are many bright students that form part of the C.U.N.Y. student body and then again there are some not so smart students that form part of the student body. From having taught at Kingsborough Comm College from 2003-2004 I can tell you that the variance between student levels is probably the only thing that the students have in common. Their skill level is also dependent on mainly one thing: their high schools. If they went to high school in the Bronx, then chances are the students are going to need a lot of help because I feel that many of the high schools in the Bronx are basically baby-sitting prisons.
Let me get the five basic questions out of the way. #1: What is the hourly wage that the school is offering? #2: How many hours will you need my services a week? #3: Are there any benefits associated with the position (i.e. tuition reduction, health benefits, etc.)#4: What exactly would the responsibilities of the job entail? #5: Does the library/learning center have a mission statement that I am supposed to abide by? What is the ethos of the library in relation to learning and/or acquisition of knowledge (i.e. how far are facilitators supposed to guide students along?) And then let me get five basic observations about the layout of the school's library website as well.
#1: The school library's website is layed out for maximum student convenience. What I mean is that the website has a subject guideline which means that there is considerable hand holding that goes on. Not that there is not considerable hand holding at Queens College's library mind you, but the subject guides are not prominently displayed and kind of hidden in a drop down menu. At the interviewing school, the subject guides are prominently displayed which means that students are expected not to hunt for information; it is mostly presented to them with little interference or reliance on their part.
#2: In addition, inside the subject guides, the guides are broken down into three categories: specific databases, inter-disciplinary databases, and electronic journals. This means again, that the designer of the websites had maximum student interfacing in consideration when they built this website. They did not want students getting too distracted. However, it also means that students don't really have an excuse. In other words, no student can say, "I went to the library but didn't understand how to use the materials, etc." There really is no excuse except the student's own fear and lack of confidence if they don't engage effectively with the databases or materials, etc.
#3: The electronic reserves is east to access and there are no frills; it is basically a drop-down menu and students must pick their class by class code and course number. There is very little chance for mistakes, but what if there are more than one instructor a particular class in the drop down menu. Also, the instructions are clearly stated (the instructions directing students on how to access the password protected pages) and there are examples to accompany the instructions, etc.
#4: The library's home page is simple but extremely user friendly; therefore, I don't think that students have problems navigating it which means that if students are directed to the page, chances are they will use it effectively. This is a blessing because the Queens college home page for the library is not very intuitive and most of the phone calls we get at the reference desk concern students not being able to access materials because they haven't been told about the little, tiny tips that will help them navigate the pages more effectively. For example,no where on the Queens site does it say that students need to get their i.d.'s "activated" to connect from home to the databases. This is a big oversight on the part of Queens College and one that could be easily fixed.
#5: There is no mention of what plagiarism is or how it can be avoided. Any student that has trouble determining what is plagiarism and what is not is going to have to go way out of their way to get that information. I really like what Baruch college has on their website because it clearly states what plagiarism is, how it can be avoided, and more importantly, why it should be avoided.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Ruben Pulidor pulled up to the curb a little south of Fordham on the Concourse. His onyx Town Car was spewing wisps of marble cumulous from under the hood; beneath the car, the chassis spewed toxic green mouthwash, which seemed to steam in the crisp morning air. Needless to say, Ruben was not pleased, but his optimistic demeanor disallowed him from taking this to heart. However, the street sweeper was about two blocks away and the Sanitation department was ticketing vehicles that were stationed in the curb precluding the giant, amphibous broom from dispersing the grime, dirt, and noxious water that had collected in the gutters of the curb.
Ruben was probably going to get a ticket, and while this did not necessarily please him, it would only be the second ticket he had ever received (including moving violations). If the Sanitation guy was not a complete dick, he would wait for Ruben to start his Town Car and skedaddle up the street and out of the way of the street sweeper. But, chances were that the Sanitation guy had a quota of tickets to give out and Ruben was not going to escape his municipal clutches. The car actually belonged to Di Que Car Service, meaning that they were responsible for licensing, registration, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission medallion. Ruben had worked for Di Que Car Service since he came over from Punta Cana in 2002 and got along fairly well with Sampson Gancho, the owner of Di Que.
Sampson knew Ruben from Punta Cana. Punta Cana is a cape on the easternmost part of the island. The resorts there are mostly owned by Spaniards and Europeans but they rule by proxy and leave Dominicans to run the resorts for them. So from the age of fifteen on, Ruben was in charge of the jet ski rentals at the Madrileno, a 2-star hotel on Playa de Arena Gorda. He liked being in the sun all day and staring at the jevitas in their bikinis, especially las Americanitas that came to escape their boyfriends and the older jovatas that came to escape their boyfriends. It was like this that Ruben came into his optimistic persona. Working in the sun, hitting on women, and making enough money to bring home to his parents gave him a sense of pride and wonder that many men of his age in the D.R. did not know.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Jon Funmaker was a serious-ass Indian. Poor you if you participated in one of his sweats and farted around. Jon saw sweats as one of the last ways that you could communicate with your dead people. Poor you if you were in charge of heating the stones or splitting the wood into manageable wedges or pitchforking them into the hole in the makeshift tent and fell short because of a lack of solemnity.

Chances were you weren't ever going to be invited to another Jon Funmaker sweat. And that was that, so you can imagine the white people that primarily attended the sweats actually enjoyed the mystical pomp and acted as if they were entering a portal to a netherworld. What they were actually entering was an almost perfect semi-circle rigged with sturdy branches and twine. Covering that rigged semi-circle were multiple blankets, sheets, and canvas swaths of no discriminate pattern, no dominate color, completely and utterly chromatically improvised. The color of the covering was motley and the blankets that comprised it smelled of dreads of smoke and soot. Or, like horses, smoldering horses.

Funmaker freelanced for the Mt. Morris Ski Lodge as a spiritualist and sweat lodge consultant. What were his credentials, you ask? Well, for one thing his name was Jon Funmaker, a truly Indian moniker, through and through. Jon's mother had been a Hopi Indian and his father had been Lakota. Usually this type of union would bring scorn and the basest feelings out of Indians, but Funmaker's parents were hippie vagrants that had hitched from their respective reservations to meet by chance in Woodstock. That's right, Funmakers parents had been at Woodstock, but they never actually went to the festival. On the day that they met (in a Woodstock petrol station), Jon Funmaker's parents decided that they would live and work in Woodstock and spent the festival week trying to find work and a place to live. They ended up at the Aleghany Mobile Home Court after finding work as a waitress and cook at the Blue Hippo Diner.

Most sweats go through five distinct stages. One should say either grandfather or Tunkasila when addressing the Indian deity. One should ask for blessings for themselves but show discretion because blessings are not wishes. The first invocation goes to Tunkasila because without him we would be another rock without a clue. The second invocation goes to your ancestors, dead progenitors, and extinguished lineages. The third invocation, the selfish invocation, goes to oneself and the projects, angles, hustles one may be presently pressing. The fourth invocation is an extension of the third, namely, that of adding umph to your third invocation. Also, all sweaters must recite Tunkashila's name as they enter and leave the rigged hut.