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 18, 2009
ARABIC BODEGA MAN WANTS ME TO WRITE HIM SCRIPT ABOUT BEING YEMENI IN HARLEM
If I were to write you a script, it would probably start at JFK.
You would play yourself, a Yemeni-American gaffer who owns oodles of kioskos.
You are there to pick up your cousin, an emigree cowpoke from Sana'a.
He is truly an arabic protagonist--surgically sliced side burns, feral eyebrows.
Your job is to hide the cables, stay out of the picture, and rig lighting.
His job is to embarrass his prosperous father, drag race his coupe into slow drifts, and slobber through bushels of khat.
I sense the tension already, so I start flattering the vantage,
an acute angle to frame your entrance. Because when you come to this country,
you have to distinguish yourself from a thousand other
yous willing to dirt for sport, to embarrass the balast.
Your cousin and you find a roadside diner in Far Rockaway: an old-school place
that has rice in the salt jars and translucent red cups with ice slivers for soda.
Your cousin asks why you are not married; he knows you are successful but not what a gaffer actually does; your reputation has been flung across the Atlantic; the mothers of Sana'a gush with the prospects of handing you their daughters.