STORIES OF WRITING
I write poems, prose, scripts, essays, short stories, you name it.
Here’s a small sample.
/ˈôdō/ tranzˈlāSH(ə)n/ ::
The chance to translate self-meaning into narration.
RUBIA, WHITE, CUBANITA:
My Latinx & Hispanic Heritage
As many of you know already or may struggle to remember because of my blonde hair and my very non-Hispanic last name, I am a Cuban American.
My mother exiled from Cuba shortly after the Socialist Revolution in 1959, and, after many years of struggle to rebuild their lives in the US, nearly all of my Cuban family lived the rest of their lives between Miami, New York, and various parts of the Southeast. My grandfather was a key figure in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and his capture in Cuba and eventual return to the US is only one of many, many mysterious details of his life. My grandmother, her sisters and cousins were relentless political activists and organizers of MAR por Cuba (Mujeres Anti-Represión), and have lobbied and protested around the world for the release of pro-democracy political prisoners in Cuba. My family continues to dedicate extraordinary efforts to write, remember, speak, live, and pass on our Cuban heritage as times are changing and we've all been living in the US for decades now.
I spent my childhood in Atlanta, Georgia where I was in a household where both English and Spanish were spoken. When my abuela was with us, I remember the earthy-sweet smell of cuban espresso and cane sugar twice a day. I also remember the massive batches of pressure-cooked Cuban black beans smelling up the whole house, but that meant good eating for the foreseeable future.
In Miami, I remember the first time I touched a record was when I was putting on a Beny Moré vinyl at my Abuela's house. The phone would ring off the hook constantly as a steady stream of family came throughout the afternoon and evening for a cafecito, talking and gossiping loudly with a newspaper on the table, and to play a game of dominos. I remember the sky-high palm trees and warm salty air every time I climbed out of an air-conditioned car that smelled like sunscreen. I remember thinking that it was probably like Cuba, but I've still never been.
My personal journey with my identity as a Latina who is also visibly white and anglophone is one that's full of privilege, and I've suffered very little discrimination in my life.
I do, however, have some interesting memories of ignorance that I needed to overcome.
I marked my "race" as "Hispanic, White" on a standardized test in 3rd grade. The teacher called me up in front of the class and told me that I needed to mark "White" instead. I explained that my mom told me to mark Hispanic, and that I speak Spanish at home.
She replied bluntly,
"Oh yeah? PROVE IT."
She made me speak 3 or 4 sentences in Spanish in front of 20 other kids to make sure I wasn't lying. I found that humiliating, and wondered if the teacher could be able to tell the difference of my Spanish or some other language anyway.
Years later, when I began taking Spanish classes in middle school, I knew all the answers and aced all the tests. In class, however, I dumbed down my accent and my knowledge so as not to appear as a "know-it-all."
I accepted that I should pass as an anglophone white woman rather than be multiple identities. It was easier for people to read me, so I just went with that.
In high school and college, I realized that my obsession with writing, reading, music & film could be doubled or even tripled as I added more languages into my repertoire. I started watching movies and reading in Spanish, and more worlds opened up to me. I started reading other authors who were Latinx like Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Rudolfo Anaya, Juno Diaz, Achy Obejas, Josefina Baez. I saw myself in some cases, and then learned a LOT about what other Latinx folks with darker skin tones and less fortunate circumstances go through.
I realized that my experience is just a tiny, tiny fraction of what it means to be Latinx & Hispanic, but it's still very much valid.
My years as a Spanish teacher and professor allowed me the opportunity to share my heritage and languages with others. For years, I told my beginning Spanish students that the goal of the first semester is not to speak and read and write flawlessly, but to be able to make a friend in Spanish and to let that relationship be the doorway to compassion and authentic cultural experiences. It's still the goal to bridge that gap ❤.
Thanks for witnessing my Latinidad today !
"Don't get too lonely because I'll visit"
Lonely old technology
Sits in library basements
They need admirers from time to time
I am that admirer today
This friend has a god face
I can see a timeless reassurance
The deeper I look
There are no buttons, no instructions
I just know
Looking deep into you
This one – a shiny face with a matte tongue
I can take my earrings out
And rest them there
And you’ll keep them safe
Warm metal couched in light, time, surface
This brain has no wifi
And that’s okay with me,
I still find you worthwhile
I turn the dial, and I select your suggestions
Off line, I make secret confessions
Into your hardware
I can’t admit to taking any microfilm
Or returning it
But I did take that rubber band
To braid my hair
There was probably a camera that watched me do it
And it made a microfilm that was not worth watching
How many people have sat here
And gotten too lonely to think?
It’s not lonely at all
Because it’s where a chair and a table got married
It’s the lonely people that come between them
This is a box that overcame the resilience of brick
Bricolage all day long
We don’t need windows down here when we have wires
Full of air
In the basement archives there are stars
Star signs that mean something
They fold, collide, fade, collect dust
Stardust in the archives
Tucked away in space
I use a handle to open empty space
And then I see your god face
Don't get too lonely because I'll visit.
“On Modesty and Luxury”
“Go and get my nails done?” I recoiled when my mother casually suggested an activity together.
I was back in town after a long trip to South America. My two pairs of hiking boots with mud stains were still drying in the air-conditioned laundry room at my parents house. I was stopping through town, and the Georgia spring was in full effect - pollen dusting the hot and humid air, the stink of dogwood trees, the sweet smell of early-blooming azaleas.
I checked my reflection in the side mirror of the car. My honey blonde hair was shaggy and short, my front-button plaid shirt was fastened all the way to the top, my nails looked plain and well-enough as they adjusted my small gold earring. I was a tomboy, and therefore had no need for a manicure in suburbia.
“Oh it’s fine. I’ve got a good place. Let’s go, my treat,” my mom insisted, clicking on the car blinker and preparing to turn into the shopping center. It was one of those shopping centers that looks just as anyone imagines it - bare, concrete, a few small twigs that will one day be a narrow patch of shade for seasonal planters. I reluctantly agreed, knowing i would never win the argument and simultaneously convincing myself to stay open-minded.
The bell chimed as we walked in. Immediately, I smelled alcohol and cleaner. It made me gag slightly, but I busied myself with the endless color spectrum of nail polish to choose. After a few seconds, I chose a shade that matched with my pants, which was labeled “Arizona sunset.” My mother got her usual, a milky hue called “French white.”
The manicurists were Vietnamese men and women, wearing masks and a blank expression. They spoke as if reciting a thesaurus, and their clients were suburban white ladies with monogrammed cloth purses and matching wallets. Suddenly, I remembered the woven wallets for sale in the crowded marketplaces of southern Peru. So much noise, dust, and clinking of coins. I was a long way from that, which I realized when the man took my hand and examined my fingers with bored disappointment.
First, the moisturizer in a plastic bag around my hands, then the heat, a cool towel, a sharp tool to pick the edges of my cuticles, and then to the paint. First, a stripe in the middle, then a delicate filling on the sides. Occasionally, a swipe to clean the excess paint off the edges. It was mesmerizing to watch. I felt strange for not speaking with the man painting my nails and massaging my hands. Everyone else seemed fine with it, and checked their phones with their other hand or watched the TV set across the room.
The man touched the translucent hairs on my knuckles and asked loudly, “why you have this?”
I frowned before I giggled with embarrassment, “it’s my hair.”
He said “oh, you can take that off.” He looked up at my eyes with more surprise, “Also your eyebrows, they are too thick!” The other nail techs looked up and nodded and grunted with agreement.
My mother looked over from the chair beside me, and I felt like she may have seen something in me then. My deliberate neglect for body-hair removal, my short haircut, the collard shirt buttoned all the way up, my gaze with no makeup, my purple suede boots, my hand-woven wallet.
“No, it’s okay,” I smiled politely and dropped my gaze back to my nails that were now drying before a tiny fan that was whirring like a whisper.
They were beautiful. Glowing and shimmery against my pearly skin tone. The clay-pink color was earthy and feminine. I pictured my fingers gliding across piano keys elegantly, shielding my eyes from the sunlight and catching a beam, turning the page of a book silently. It was an ordinary luxury, and I allowed my modesty to hang behind for that brief moment in the spotlight.
I opened the car door carefully and felt the delicacy with which I pulled the seatbelt over my waist. My mother started the engine, and looked over at me with a grin. Checking my reflection again in the side mirror, I tucked a small lock of hair behind my ear. The brightness of the reflection caught my eye. I squinted and took note of the color spots in the darkness: the color of Arizona sunset.
"Giacometti, the icon, and the feeling of going nowhere"
[I wrote this piece of prose after visiting the Thyssen Museum in Madrid, Spain. I spent a summer there being somewhat of a flaneuse, since my plans fell through and I found myself as a creative wanderer for several weeks. I made it my task to do all of the free things in the city, and it was all more inspiration than I could have bargained for.]
Today I went to a free museum (it's Sunday morning, afterall). Got handed some pamphlet that featured on the cover nothing but an emaciated sculpture en route and the name Giacometti. Sculpture is one of these areas of art that I never took much time to ponder or saw as something realistic for me to do. I found myself opening up several angles as I sauntered between the outreaching figures, at first quite surrealist and then finding some sort of calling of their own as years go by. And after rooms and rooms of this progression the aim finally struck gong ... allowing a movement to reach stillness, for a while.
(Grande Femme iii)
I stood before her, this new madonna of sorts. She made me question my own body, suddenly feeling both large and small. She also made me look for my role models, and finding none, start to wonder why? Her towering sillouhette(s) cast a shadow of future shadows, because I once again felt that familiar strain ... that longing to be soft and loved grinding uncomfortably along that iron determination to be free and untouchable and metallic. It's an icon that stands for the perceived passiveness of feminimity, and also bronze-casted and launched into a distorted size and shape: she is now untouchable. Who dares touch the icon? I suddently became aware of how far away I chose to stand away from her, enough to let her entire size fit within the frames of my eyelids, also aware peripherally of the museum docent watching me closely, out of boredom. My thoughts continued about the large female figure before me: How did we earn this position of stoic passivity? An icon to be looked at? Are we intimidating or desireable? Constantly wavering between these states, landing in gray goo, like Moby says in that movie.
On the other hand, The Walking Man makes his way into some sort of progression to who-knows-where? He is smaller, concentrated, determined, slightly doubting his steps, but too late to look back. Where is he going? Is he walking towards the woman or away from her? Does he see her? Is he leaving his mother/sister/lover behind? I felt abandoned, and also appointed a responsibility that I was equally unsure of. I wanted to walk ahead of the walking man, to tie his shoes together and lay underneath him as he fell on top of me. Then I would leave him there, facing up towards the sun, and then hours later the night sky. That is the position of existential wandering. Gravity holds us down so that we can look up.
(Image: by his sculptures. By: Cartier Bresson)
WRESTLING, WRITING, PERFORMANCE:
Amazona Prime vs. Dr. Marie Fury
---- I should begin by contextualing WHY I’m writing Wrestling Scripts in the first place.
In 2018, I was a founding member of a Feminist Wrestling Collective in Athens, Georgia - South East Women’s Wrestling (SEWW). In short, this was an incredible group of women-identified, trans and gender-fluid performers who sought to play, create, and express new ideas of wrestling performance right in the heart of hyper-masculine wrestling territory -- the Deep South.
Here’s the back story of the wrestling persona that I created for myself:
...So, when I moved to Montreal, I had to “kill off” Amazona Prime.
This was an epic three-way title match (+ a ghost wrestler) that led to my brutal defeat by Joan of Snark (see pic). Deprogrammed and de-wired, Dr. Marie Fury (my longtime companion and scientific creator) “dumped me” in the trash and scrapped me for parts.
(Pic: Dr. Fury and Amazona Prime as a power duo; Joan of Snark dismantling Amazona Prime)
When I planned a visit to Athens, Georgia the following year,
Katie and I worked out a surprise revenge match between Dr. Marie Fury and Amazona Prime.
This was basically the Dr. Frankenstein vs. Frankenstein we had both been waiting for.
Here’s the script that I wrote from a cafe in Montreal in Spring of 2019.
Prologue: Dr. Marie Fury vs. Janet from Finance (feat. Amazona Prime)
This is a “money in the bank” (briefcase) +
Hardcore match (no refs)
>>> Enter Janet from Finance
(JF): (Double Ferrari
entrance music) There is a makeshift cardboard desk in the corner of the
ring. Janet from Finance enters slowly and mundanely as if it’s just “another
day in the office,” but she’s talking on two cellphones and fussing over the
ring boys who escort her with the “Money in the bank” briefcase. Once in the
ring, one of the ring boys gets in a tabletop position and acts as Janet’s
chair as she takes a phone call at her desk with her back to Fury, checking her
nails and yawning.
we all know it’s been a corporate war on Science, but House of Fury is really
strapped for cash, y’all. Even worse, it seems like Janet’s been skimming from
the last of Dr. Fury’s funding. It’s becoming hand to mouth for Fury, but she’s
ready to bite the hand that feeds and GET THAT MONEY IN THE BANK.
>>>> Enter Dr. Marie Fury
(MF): (Lazer Wulf entrance music) Dr.
Fury storms in, pissed and slightly desperate for that suitcase. She might
shame the crowd for being climate change deniers or anti-vaxers or the “Earth
is Flat” believers, and circles the ring and finally enters it, tapping Janet
on the shoulder (she has not noticed this whole time), and throws her phone
into the crowd and confronts her about the skimmed funds.
JF finally stands up and goes into her
corner, pointing at the briefcase tauntingly. MF takes her corner as they
square off for an initial hold/sparring sequence.
Announcer:Folks, no refs and no rules. It’s a hardcore match and a MONEY IN THE BANK
match, y’all. The first wrestler to unhook that briefcase is the declared
winner, and they’re both hungry for it. And they’re off -- !
….. Janet from Finance and Dr. Fury start their match and reach a
critical point in which MF and JF are wrestling on top of tons of paperclips in
the ring (a gag on tacks in the ring). MF and JF act as if these paperclips are
as painful as real tacks, yet keep slipping on them.
THE FUCK DID YOU GET ALL THESE PAPERCLIPS ANYWAY… AMAZON.COM?!”
---- bands strike a ominous chord, and suddenly the trashcan lid starts to move… One of the ring boys
gets startled and hesitates to open the lid and see what’s inside….
decides to open the lid fearfully… and a fist punches through the trash. --- The lid suddenly flies off, the band plays a menacing intro song // Amazona’s
hand punches through the trash … copper, exposed … trash flying everywhere.
This is a dramatic moment… as if to say: “I’m back from the dead, bitch.”
MF throws up her hands in shock: “No, no you didn’t. She’s dangerous.
She was dismantled, de-programmed. WHY?!!! HOW?!!!”
Amazona Prime emerges from the can, tosses it behind her or to the side, and
slowly and robotically walks toward Katie --- this is sort of a zombie/cyborg
moment --- a gothic nightmare in which Dr. Frankenstein must face their own
death. Dr. Fury paces back and forth, not taking her eyes off of Amazona Prime
and her rage. She looks around for help but realizes that she must face her
alone. Janet from Finance hops down from the ring and into the audience
cowardly … This is not her fight.
Announcer: Holy moly! This is a comeback that I didn’t expect!
Amazona Prime is WALKING into the ring to face her creator and former manager,
Dr. Fury. These two have history, folks, and it’s not all fun and games. I
guess Amazona Prime lost too many times and got tossed aside after her defeat
in last year’s Wrestle Womania, and Dr. Fury cast her aside and scrapped her
for parts. Amazona Prime looks like she’s been to the DUMP and back. I wouldn’t
want to be Dr. Fury right now, I’ll say that much.
Dr. Fury v. Amazona Prime
Entering Ring: AP stalks fury AROUND the ring… Fury won’t turn her back to AP as she pleads and explains and scrambles for
mercy …. Desperate, Marie Fury tumbles back into the ring like a lab rat, and
AP finally enters the ring calmly yet full of revenge.
Opening Sequence: Now in the ring, Amazona Prime circles Dr. Fury, eyes wide and full
of rage. Amazona “spooks” Dr. Fury by making sudden movements as if to attack
her, but Dr. Fury manages to dodge these false alarms. Cocky and full of rage,
Amazona Prime stalks Dr. Fury into the corner and pulls her up by the hair...
MF Down 1: Amazona Prime walks her into the center of the ring and throws
her into the ropes for a clothesline and a
stomp on the stomach to add insult to injury. Dr. Fury rolls around and suffers as Amazona Prime riles up the
Dr. Fury manages to get up and tries to grab Amazona Prime’s leg,
but is unable to move her. Amazona Prime laughs at this attempt, and pulls
up Dr. Fury by the hair again… and throws her into a face bump into the center
of the ring.
Clearly, AP is out for blood, and Dr. Fury realizes
this and tries anything she can think of as she scurries over to the briefcase
corner, points up to it (still in pain) and offers AP to split the money.
MF: We can work together again! Look! This money? I can use it to
repair you. To update you to be BETTER than EVER. Just like old times, huh? The
two of us against the world? Remember?
AP laughs in
disbelief and shakes her head… they’re too far gone, and she cannot forget MF’s
betrayal. To soak up the moment,
AP walks around and taunts the crowd
sarcastically:, “Should I take the money? Can I
really trust her again? She’s all alone and NOW she wants me back. OK, OK.
MF realizes that this was a ridiculous
antic, and approaches AP from behind and puts her into a waistlock and pulls
her down into a school
boy pin. Now that AP is pinned, MF attempts to push different
buttons on AP … on the leg, on the arm, AP kicks her off, and MF scurries
around to access wires on the nape of her neck… looking for a manual “off”
When MF attempts to turn her
“off,” AP activates and bites MF’s hand. MF backs away and nurses her
hand, realizing that dragon juice (old school AP inside antics) is the last
resort to sway AP into submission.
Announcer: OH WOW, it’s the DRAGON
JUICE! This is a top-secret formula that powers up Amazona Prime. Made from
stem cells, it’s known to drive Amazona Prime wild with thirst. Will she go for
it? Is this enough to tame Amazona Prime’s rage?
Marie Fury taunts AP
with the dragon juice, shaking it back and forth while AP seems tantalized.
She approaches MF slowly, reaching out for the dragon juice. MF feels like she
can relax and open her arms, ready to embrace AP again and team up.
Suddenly, AP, swats
the dragon juice away, knees MF in the stomach, forearms her in the back, and
puts her foot on MF’s head as if she’s preparing to stomp on her head. AP
soaks up this moment, turning to the crowd and sneering, meanwhile MF is
begging her not to do it. AP moves her body as if she’s going to stomp on her
head, but finally does not. She backs off and shrugs as if to say, “I’m better
than this. I don’t have to. I’m the bigger person.”
Finally, in a change of
heart, AP bounces off the ropes and leg drops
dramatically on MF. On top of MF, AP sticks out
her tongue and flicks off the crowd and the announcers and everyone as if to
say, “FUCK THIS. FUCK THE MONEY. FUCK WINNING. FUCK SEWW.” AP gets up slowly and takes one
last disgusted look at MF before picking up the dragon juice, exiting the ring
slowly and dramatically as the band plays exit music.
folks, there you have it. Amazona Prime has LEFT the PREMESIS. You know what
they say: “Revenge is a dish best served cold, and Marie Fury is OUT COLD.” But
wait, here comes Janet from Finance again! She hasn’t kept her eye off that
briefcase! Can Marie Fury stay in this for the funding?
------------- End of Amazona Prime and
Marie Fury revenge spat -------------
Janet and Dr. Fury continue their match
--- Dr. Fury eventually wins and powerbombs Janet through the cardboard desk,
grabbing the cash victoriously.
Amazona Prime (AP) v. Dr. Marie Fury (MF) - Short form action sequence:
1. AP enters… Stalking MF around
the ring, enters ring … doesn’t slip on paperclips …
2. In the ring --- gets MF in the
corner, brings her to the center for either lock up + AP arm drag MF, stomp on
the stomach OR throw into the ropes for a clothesline … MF down … AP celebrates
3. MF Attempt to take out AP
leg(s) … unsuccessful … AP pulls up MF
by the hair… with EITHER snap mare or one handed slam into MF facebump
4. MF offers AP the Offer the
briefcase … offer to fix AP … work together again … update her …
5. After AP denies this … MF comes
up behind AP and puts her into a waistlock and into a school boy pin … MF
starts pushing buttons… AP kicks out, but MF comes behind her and starts
messing with wires in AP neck …
6. MF looks for a switch on the
back of AP’s neck … AP bites her hand… MF backs away
7. MF grabs some dragon juice and
offer it to AP … AP hesitates and approaches MF for the dragon juice … a moment
8. AP knees MF in the gut, forearm
to the back, down MF flips over… AP holds down MF with her foot for dramatic
effect … MF begs for mercy
9. Finisher: AP comes off the
ropes and leg drops on MF … flicks off the crowd – exits dramatically with
 _Logistics: Amazona Prime will be inside a lidded trashcan with a thin layer of paper and “trash” on top (with the bottom of the plastic can cut out). This will be brought out discreetly by an assistant or a ring boy. Inside, Amazona Prime will wait. Her costume has changed. She’s Com-Post-Amazona Prime now – copper, rusted, mossy, green hair, covered with trash, banana peels, etc.|
 This is so the ring boys can sweep the paper clips out of the ring. This is also a hardcore match so there is no count for “out of the ring” action.