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.

Friday, December 16, 2016


All jewelers are bastards; they run after capital all day. They run after gold dust and forest green wax models. They chase and hunt, they root for loot, they sprinkle diamond milk onto rice krispy gold ingots. And in many ways, they get high on their own supply; they disburse bracelets, necklaces, all linked with chispitas de hielo, like some tiny bridge gone slack, some scintillating centipede getting it's stomach rubbed.

Bastards because they need to get their price of labor in there and probably a finder's fee or handler's tax, a mordida that says I was at this deal when it was jumping from one testicle to another. There's an if you-hurry-me-fee and a fee for if you tell me the wrong size or talle and I have to recast. Bastards with no price fix scruples, no threshold for graft, no subtle finagle. They have the product, handle the manufacture (even if they have to send it out) and give you a price that involves labor, parts, splendor, and awe.

But the annals are reserved for those especially unscrupulous puss-sacks that prowled the Seybold when Cocaine was king. I remember the jewelers all lined up outside the cafecito window in one enormous huddle of guayaberas, Tommy Bahama hats, and cigar cologne. All nationalities, all religious affiliations, huddling outside in the ninety-three degree afternoon sauna, sharpening their gouging knives and rubbing their sausage-link fingers together. The cafecito window is where the deals were sprung, where affiliations were launched, and where treachery reared it's fuck-ugly mug.

Werner was a Brazilian jeweler; his specialty was diamond-setting. He was a Black Belt but very delicate with setting diamonds. He was also extremely racist, but all the other jewelers liked him like that because going out on a limb like that gave them an opening, a weapon they might use on you in later transactions. His grandparents had been German, so the handlebar moustache Werner wore only needed liederhosen to compliment it; he was just below tall, bald, and passed for White. He could split a papaya in half with his katana while getting the pose right.

The smart jewelers had more work than they could possibly finish, so they outsourced a great deal of the work they did on their jewelry, but it's like this in most industries, que no? However, some of the jewelers outsourcing labor didn't want other jewelers to know for various reasons. So, work around the Seybold always had this spy code of reticence. If you pulled away from the cafecito window earlier than usual, the other jewelers already knew whose job you were rushing off to fulfill. You can imagine that some of the jewelers amassed outside the cafecito window were not really jewelers but fences.

There was one fence, Humbertico, that actually bought a used Crown Vic from the police because he wanted everyone to know who he was in cahoots with. Humbertico always wore Oakleys and had his hat backward; he looked like a man in his mid-forties that had been sequestered by his fraternity and kept in a dungeon for 15 years. Humbertico could get you whatever you needed, except drugs, drugs were someone else's dominion, but he did a swift trade in stolen laptops, video cameras, and televisions. He wasn't a jeweler, but they had given his honorary status because Humbertico was stupid busy come Christmas, and he could get you that thing your wife most needed in her life to shut the fuck up and let you be a scoundrel again.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Bro, my dad used to get his hair cut in the sotano of the Seybold Building. Sotano is Spanish for basement, bro, and if you can believe it, skyscrapers in Miami do have basements, dude. However, with Miami's liminal sea levels, i.e. most of Miami is three feet under sea level, most of the sotanos in South Florida are pool-side bars?

But, this was 1987, so te imaginas. Anyways, there used to be a barber shop in sotano of the Seybold, bro; tremendo barbershop with black diamond tiles on the floor and large windows, you know like a throwback barbershop except it wasn't throwback because this is the mid-80's. Anyways, my sister and I got into a fight, and that was the first time mi viejo threatened to make us drink each other's pee if we couldn't get along. Also, the barber my father had was gay because my father told me he was gay, but he seemed like all the other men in the sotano.

In Miami, siempre, the possibility of things is suuuuuuper finite, bro: por ejemplo, there is just so much pressure you can apply to a package of land in South Florida before it goes, kerplunk!, like a crisp particle board, dude, and you shoot to the other side. And, who knows if there is water under the water? Immense is the damp, te imaginas? Suuuper immense was the damp in that sotano, bro.

Musty, muddy, feral. The barbershop there was these three smells plus Barbicide, which sentineled the four stations in the basement barbershop. I probably got my hair cut there once or twice, but I bet the barber's been gone for more than 20 years. Ya hace tiempo, my Miami details, bro, are slurry and full of like opaque syrup, bro, things perhaps, that were never there, I am beginning to believe, are trying to be the forefront of an intense remembering?

Mi viejo dice the basement brota agua, it blossoms water at all times like some sacred Hindu river, or some Mesopotamian spring. Maybe, it's because there is a river under the sotano. Maybe, bro, the foundation has become so colloquial with the limestone that it has turned into petrified sand. Maybe, the Bay gets hungry after it moonlights as a nostalgist? Maybe, downtown Miami will finally just wash into the Atlantic like a spot of India ink bombarded by a droplet of green salt water?

Maybe the center won't hold for the residents of Seybold's sotano who have all recently been told that the city and administration are trying to figure out when they can re-open the sotano. They have been put on hold for close to 8 months, and no one is doing anything about it. My father says, bro, that the owners have every right to do what they want while the jewelers have the right to find other accommodations.

He also says that I should stop thinking with my heart--that my heart don't know shit about the world. And, he's right. Getting nostalgic about a place that the city has closed down for health reasons is just plain dumb, bro. But, this space, sooner than later will find itself being filled in with bureaucratic concrete and smoothed over.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


My pops had a taller on the sixth floor of the Seybold for, at least, the last ten years. Cuidado, I'm not calling his workshop a taller to make reference to atelier, the word in French for workshop, but calling it taller because that's what my dad, a Spanish-language speaker that spoke grammatical English with an accent, would call it as well. He didnt renew his lease after the Seybold administration came up with unfavorable lease terms, like for example, that he sign a lease for five years instead of the standard two.

He feels the owners are getting ready to make a move towards transforming the building into residential, instead of, commercial spaces. But, let's be clear: #651 wasn't his studio because he was a tinkerer or hobbyist. Like, it was his refuge because that's where he spent the majority of his day, but dad is an actual jeweler and caster of jewelry. And, his diamond-setting and wristwatch games were super strong; my pops can tell you the province in China where the knockoff Rolex you just bought emanates from. He put two kids through college with the work that he did, but was always very careful to avoid the moniker artisan, or implication that there was any type of duende in his work.

Maybe, this is why, while disagreing with their tactics, my father looks at their play as part of the deal that's dealt when you do business. But, is it? Is it wise to scrub the cultural detritus of a space simply because of commerce? Is it wise to, through inaction and misadministration, allow the tenants of a commercial space you rent to relent and release their leases? There is history in this building, regardless of if the Seybold prompts erasure. And, that history involved it being the building where common slobs went to buy jewelry for their girlfriends and wives, daughters and mistresses, baby dolls, sugar pies.

His work was commercial and soul-less, not snowflake-original and quixotically priced. #651 was just the last ten years of his working life, but he's been in the building for a good 30 years. The years clasp nicely into decades: a decade working with his brother-in-law (an irascible sidekick and nihlist); a decade working with Michael Patel (a PhD in Physics funded by a diamond mine); and about a decade or so working for himself (manufacture, repair, bullshiterio). Actually, because he works in cash, he's always sort of worked for himself, but he's had different masters and has been his own master for spells.