my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Inaugural poet



I suppose it is universal to look back to a special time in the past and want desperately to recall every detail, the expressions on faces, remember the fond voices, to bring back the unique smell, but alas, it is cannot be retrieved. This poem affords me that sweet frustration. This poem is from Richard Blanco, who was chosen to be the poet to deliver a poem at President Obama’s next inauguration. I was curious to read one of his poems. Won’t it be wonderful when the day comes when it does not occur to us to question the person’s race or sexual preference. Until then, let us celebrate the fact he is the first gay Latino.


Looking for The Gulf Motel

            Marco Island, Florida
 
There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

The Gulf Motel with mermaid lampposts
and ship's wheel in the lobby should still be
rising out of the sand like a cake decoration.
My brother and I should still be pretending
we don't know our parents, embarrassing us
as they roll the luggage cart past the front desk
loaded with our scruffy suitcases, two-dozen
loaves of Cuban bread, brown bags bulging
with enough mangos to last the entire week,
our espresso pot, the pressure cooker—and
a pork roast reeking garlic through the lobby.
All because we can't afford to eat out, not even
on vacation, only two hours from our home
in Miami, but far enough away to be thrilled
by whiter sands on the west coast of Florida,
where I should still be for the first time watching
the sun set instead of rise over the ocean.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My mother should still be in the kitchenette
of The Gulf Motel, her daisy sandals from Kmart
squeaking across the linoleum, still gorgeous
in her teal swimsuit and amber earrings
stirring a pot of arroz-con-pollo, adding sprinkles
of onion powder and dollops of tomato sauce.
My father should still be in a terrycloth jacket
smoking, clinking a glass of amber whiskey
in the sunset at the Gulf Motel, watching us
dive into the pool, two boys he'll never see
grow into men who will be proud of him.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My brother and I should still be playing Parcheesi,
my father should still be alive, slow dancing
with my mother on the sliding-glass balcony
of The Gulf Motel. No music, only the waves
keeping time, a song only their minds hear
ten-thousand nights back to their life in Cuba.
My mother's face should still be resting against
his bare chest like the moon resting on the sea,
the stars should still be turning around them.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My brother should still be thirteen, sneaking
rum in the bathroom, sculpting naked women
from sand. I should still be eight years old
dazzled by seashells and how many seconds
I hold my breath underwater—but I'm not.
I am thirty-eight, driving up Collier Boulevard,
looking for The Gulf Motel, for everything
that should still be, but isn't. I want to blame
the condos, their shadows for ruining the beach
and my past, I want to chase the snowbirds away
with their tacky mansions and yachts, I want
to turn the golf courses back into mangroves,
I want to find The Gulf Motel exactly as it was
and pretend for a moment, nothing lost is lost.

Looking for The Gulf Motel
University of Pittsburgh Press


2 comments:

marie-josé said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marie-josé said...

I find nothing extraordinary in this poem. Even if narrative poetry is not my thing, I should think transforming ordinary language into extra-ordinary vision should happen, at least in places. There are a couple of lovely moments, but that’s it. And for the inauguration of a president who wants to take energetic steps into the future, is a poem that wants to fossilize the past appropriate?