On Tuesday, February 16th, www.imafricanamerican.com is hosting a panel, "It Starts with Art," at the Countee Cullen NYPL @ 6 PM. Bryan Hanley, proprietor of the website, commissioned a poem from me a couple of months ago to use on the website. On Tuesday, Bryan has asked me to read the poem, or the revision, or whatever I have. Bryan has also been nice enough to allow me to sell my Hinchas de Poesia press zines, especially Ruberrooom and Bestias Inberbes. I just wanted to thank Bryan for this opportunity...
WHEN I CAME TO HARLEM
I came to Harlem a piquant divorcee
with half my illegible sexistence
in Goya cardboard boxes begged at bodegas for
and spools of duct tape. (I don’t even member
closing the door on my old space in Yorkville.)
I came broken-hearted dullard, dragging my alone-home,
like some alien snail in a second-hand tome.
I came lugging packing peanuts quilt
& two fireproof boxes of Spinoza certificates.
I came with a retinue of pink slips and madcap contracts.
I came with a body unaccustomed to sore; I came lugging
no audio speakers.
In an expensive box of my tremulous unmaking
I became very conscience that I was now in the World
I came, how you say, come se dice, capice, an ellipses
of speak fortified with diodes of slang and the crucible
of many modern tongues.
I came to rent a flat from Canadian vixen teacher
& Haitian textile buyer for Macy’s. I came to live in a six by eight.
I came holding two pair, a coffer of crinkly dollar bills, a Styrofoam range
bean pies swaddled in cellophane, and a boulder of Shea butter.
I came asking, where the nearest Yemeni bodega gouger was?
Which Dominican chicken spot spares you a corra?
I came with security grates outside my window, Ashanti crescents—
hinges that groan like vuvusellas; I came concerned with my personal security
I came with a southern view of Adam Clayton, my very own Strivers' Row
Tarmac; I came with a proscenium the planners had designated
One Hundred Thirty-Seven Street.
I came not being black nor African-American. I came feeling like maybe
I don’t belong in Harlem throng.
I came to Harlem, black like it is, African-American as it is, pro-Black, over-Black, through-Black as it is, and I was embraced.
I came reminding Spanish speaking peoples that love to play amnesia,
there was a period when Berbers crossed ocean and conquered Spain.
I came wanting to be kissing blood cousins with the African continent;
I came wanting to learn Wolof, while at the same time knowing
Eddie Murphy is the real prince of Zamunda.
I came wanting to tease a treatise on what it means to be Black in the U.S.?
I came curious, studious, dubious of intention, asking questions, and calling
I came to moderate the Harlem Y Indoor Soccer League, borrow books
from the Countee Cullen, traffick my laundry past the 32nd precinct.
I came walking up the same stairs to City College that Langston used,
came seeking notes to be stuck in the crevices of the dilapidated stairs.
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.