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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

POESIA POR LA RED LINE: NANCE, DE ANDA, AND HILL

Iris De Anda, Ryan Nance, and Sean Hill doing their thing on the Red Line of the L.A. Metro,


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CLUB ATLETICO BOCA JRS

ODE TO RIQUELME



Here I am reading "Ode to Riquelme" at the entrance to the Hollywood/Vine Red Line Metro stop to no one in particular and everyone in specific.

Monday, August 26, 2013

MY HAIR IS A FANATICAL QUILL


This is a little video I edited of myself reading a poem, "My Hair is a Fanatical Quill" on the Union Station platform of the Red Line of the Los Angeles Metro. I was reading my poems as Poesia para la Gente, a reading series curated by Jessica Ceballos and funded by Ave 50 Studios in Highland Park.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

INDIGENT KIT

If you have no money on your books in jail, the County gives you what they call an Indigent Kit. It has basic toiletries (one half toothbrush, one Maypo-colored hotel-size bar of soap, a tiny tube of nondescript toothpaste, and an overgrown vial of shampoo) and some instructions printed on green county paper in an industrial-size Ziploc.

I had seen the Indigent Kits previous to knowing they were called that; I had thought the Indigent Kits might have been some Standard Issue Hygiene Pittances you might purchase at store. I was learning new things every day teaching in jail, like the phrase, "catching the chain," an colloquial expression that means being transferred to state prison, or better yet a federal facility. I used the phrase on my vocabulary test, except I messed it up and put: taking the chain, which my students rightly imagined was a completely different experience. "Hey mister, can we get extra credit because you were wrong by putting taking the chain instead of catching the chain?," one of my inmates might radio to me from the far reaches of the last spider tables.

Even though I've never been the recipient of an Indigent Kit, I see how several of the inmates approach receiving an Indigent Kit: with the glum, indifferent embarrassment usually reserved for the super poor who frequent the buses and unincorporated jitneys. It must mark some rock bottom watermark, even for inmates in the County. Khrimyan, for example, has never had to receive an Indigent Kit because his Armenian peoples put money on his books. Living off your people, you can stay locked up a pretty long time. I did not know what he had done, or why he was there, but I could trust him a little more, in theory, than the rest of  my inmate-students because he was a trustee. The word trust was literally baked into my relation with the man.

And the man stood about five foot four, and was maybe 165 lbs, but tattoos encrusted his neck, hands, and slowly crept up the jawline into the mandible's hockey stick canvas. Khrimyan was also real bembon, meaning big-lipped, so all the anomalies competed for dominance on his face and manner. For example, he cocked his index finger to the side, like when he pointed or used his finger for illustrating tenor. Something told me he was a little Hollywood and a little south side, like possibly this person had fired a strafe of bullets into the illicit loam of an illegal target range and overseen various drug retail ventures and security exchanges.  Khrimyan moved like the day room was a monastery of sorts, a laboratory of manners.

But not everybody can be Khrimyan, and so for the people that do have to go that route, there is the choice of getting one and living off that until the next time you go to store. Store is where you use the money on your books to get you the stuff that you need like deodorant, shaving cream, and all your basic ointments and comfort salves. When I come in on Mondays, it's usually after store; so, on the first Mondays of each month, there is no body odor in the module, but imagine what it gets to be by the last, mellifluously musky Monday of the month. "Ripe!, Mister!, Ripe!," one of my inmates might scream out from the last spider table in the known galaxy on the last day of the month toward me like some wayward seal.

"Mister, I was hoping you could bring me a picture of Albert Einstein, sticking his tongue out," Khrimyan said one day completely out of the blue. I had always known him as Sam Jr. because he mirrored the most important trustee on the floor: Sick Sam. Sick Sam was the most trusted trustee on the floor; he knew how to work Excel spreadsheets, and plus he was a native, so he knew a lot about gangs although he was never affiliated, and he spoke the best broken Spanish on the floor; but, he was also mostly shameless, and never forgot to remind you that "gratitude can be shown in many ways, Sir." Then, Sick Sam would proceed to lean in close and tell me you how certain guards let them stay up late and watch DVDs, etc. Now, this was very vorbotten but as long as it was kept All in the Family , it was acceptable.

If Sick Sam was always clammoring for tips like some grubby major domo, then Khrimyan was like some elder statesman of restrain. He walked across the day room with a jump in his step but there was no clamor in his heart; Sick Sam was constantly treading or forcing other's to tread, but  Khrimyan was more accustomed to leading people to their grave. Sick Sam seemed destined to walk himself into his grave on the D.E.R.'s dime. The D.E.R. (Department of Educational Rehabilitation) ran the sickest floor in the jail. And by sick, I mean, free from racial racketeering and racial baiting and simultaneous reverse xenophobia mongers and all the sick shit the jail is famous for fomenting and being a victim of and suffering from, et al.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

DIFUNTA CORREA

My mom, the one they call Negra, lit candles to la Difunta Correa, a popular saint from the province of San Juan in Argentina. La Difunta lost her life to the elements, but her infant son was still able to nourish himself for three days, thus saving his life.

I might wake at night and use the walls to find the kitchen, which would be bathed in this hemoglobin-red, Catholic-red, lugubrious candle light. And, propped on the candle: a devotion circle with the image of Deolinda Correa, leaning on the glass candleholder tenuously.

To be honest, at first, I was probably more titillated by the image of la Difunta Correa. Imagine my adolescent-ass ogling her supple, plump breast, which was exposed to the elements in the midnight of my kitchen. Half-asleep, half-aroused, with the refrigerator's headlights T-boned on the wall, I drank from the bottle of whatever's cold.

I wondered what type of nutrients might be in breasts; obviously, they were for more than show, breasts actually did things: they saved infants, they fed infants, they made my eyeballs feel like quicksand, they possessed super, super secret things like bras, clasps, and silky, skin-colored straps.

The important thing was that the candle not go out, and not burn the house down. I've never understand why religious people mess around with candles so much, or why religion protects the unprepared by making them na├»ve? But, somehow, I understand why truckers are superstitious, why their rigs are guided by Biblical passages.

While Deolinda's infant son breastfeeds the nutrients from his mother's dead body, a celestial beam of galactic halogen bathes that infant. Is the miracle that Deolinda's infant son is given the intelligence to understand how he can survive off his mother's breast milk until carriers find him? Or, is the miracle that Deolinda was carrying three days of breast milk?

Who was my mother invoking la Difunta for, who was my mother helping with prayer and a candle made of langorous, Catholic blood? I remember being old enough to understand there was something behind the candle, understanding the lit candle was just a pretense, a symbolic gesture, a futile rememberance.



Sunday, August 11, 2013

NEW M.S. TITLE, "DETECTIVE PROJECTIONIST"

So since 2004 I have been seriously peddling my manuscript, which has gone through an countless iteration of titles. I have gone from Spicaresque, which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and a finalist at the University of Notre Dame, to Slow-Ass Bronze Medalist, which is probably the most frustrated, or cynical, title one might give a manuscript. The important thing is that the work is still not completed and depending on what I read and interact with in the world the title is going to change, and keep changing.

I just finished reading Steve Erickson's Zeroville and that book has lodged loose a piece of the puzzle that I was always carrying. In grad school, I wrote a narrative poem that recounts the harrowing robbery of a movie theater that I worked at in 1992 called Kendall Nine (Kendall is a Miami suburb, nine movie theaters, etc.). Two masked men came into the movie and stole all the night's proceedings and all of the concession money; I've never been able to establish how much they made away with but I it was a summer of blockbusters, so you figure it out (probably pretty close to 100 grand, give or take a thousands). This poem was one of the first poems where I talk about writing, or the writing life, in my writing (I know, I know).

Toward the end of the poem, I also use the phrase "detective projectionist" to suggest that while I write the event, I have to screen, or show or project, the movie of what happened that night in my brain to my writer self. I have to screen it for the "detective projectionist," or something to that effect.
But, after finishing Erickson's book, it triggered this phrase loose from all the phrases that I carry in my head, that you carry in your head, and it has made me wise to the possibilities inherit in this little sliver of title, Detective Projectionist. This title not only leads one to assume a narrative, it literally describes the process of recreating an episode, scene, or actual, personal, historical occurrence. The visual synapse screening the scenes of movies of my life for the cynical, worldly wordsmith, critical of all tricks, and yet reliant on the alchemy of the tricks of literature.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

POEM FOR WHEN I BEGIN TO FEEL LIKE A STRUMPET

REJOICE! The things of little value
people proudly discard.

PRAISE! Impacted molars, most
airborne pathogens, tantrums, doldrums
boss-on-boss sex, putrefecation compounds
like Putrescine and Cadaverine.

REJOICE! Oleanders in the garbage
disposal, processions of the dead;
in fact, the cadence of cadavers Progress
puts in front of Highway Ten, intercourse
slumps and Duck L'Orange in Mushroom
Syrup.

LET US PRAY! The physics of hair
in advertisements is identical to
the improbability of ingredients
in delirious food spots.

It's the crown of impetuous thoughts
that makes my burnished hair so devious,
so ill.

REJOICE! Learn to thrive in toxic workplaces,
positions where you take on too much or do too
little; beware vindictive memos or thespian ire
of self-important meanies.

LET US PRAY! You can neither bury an email
or erase a letter in the heather. Much like my great
grandfather's (Pedro) Truco-knife, once it became
unsheathed, it had to taste blood.

PITY! The Deans of Discipline, Supra Rectors, and the
mediocre fauna they rustle in the August parking lot
while a lemon of a Ford Explorer misfires pistons.

REJOICE! We are all strumpets in tiny, red rooms
vying for space, strumpets on display in window booths,
strumpets on live feeds, and strumpets on feral physical,
strumpets on cable boxes, strumpets in the White House,
strumpets on webcams and silver screens, strumpets
in the Senate and in the House, strumpets with keys
to unlock all the channels, with frequencies they
ain't even invented yet.