On a recent trip to Mexico, I decided to take with me three books by authors of Latin American heritage, including two of Mexican background, and one Cuban. All were women. Aside from eating the most delicious chimichangas, learning about the ancient Mayan ruins, and climbing up the Ixmoja part of the Nohoch Mul, I spent a lot of my time reading these authors by the sea with a strawberry daiquiri. Within just one week I had nearly consumed them all and discovered a new love of Latin American writing.
I don’t know where I go
but boy, do I go.
traps of dead thistle.
Manholes for ditches.
You’ve been ditched. Remember?
I watched you cough dust and wipe
sand from your eyes. You said
you’d seen me in a past life.
We were here, on this dirt road.
by Rebecca Tamás
This man is an angel
he is not a man
I reject the penis as my chosen ontology
even when his penis is in my hand
even when his mouth is open like a sodden
I need you to know I am hungover I need you to know
I went out and got alcohol poisoning I am in bed eating
pizza I am the real deal I need you to know I am the god
of all your comedy give me what I need I need you to
know I am jealous of you but I cannot say it properly
This article is inspired by the bizarre reaction I have encountered as a reasonably dressed British-Asian travelling through the less diverse, major cities in Western Europe. At first I thought I was being paranoid – after all it is hard not to be aware of your starkly contrasting skin-colour in a sea of predominantly white faces. But this particular behaviour became undeniable in places of public transit – such as the queues at passport control and the underground – where you would need to cut the tension with a laser from a high-quality diamond factory. People weren’t just looking, they were gawking.
And the most interesting part was that it wasn’t malicious. There was no sneering or narrowing of eyes, but rather lingering looks of astonishment and intrigue. Eventually I began to wonder, and do excuse my ‘French’ when I say this, could it be that these dear people were not used to seeing a person of ethnic minority actually looking good?
by Alex Valente.
Original Italian by Patrizia Valduga (1953-), ‘Vieni, entra e coglimi’
Come, come in and pluck me, pick me, try me…
squeeze me free me tease me…
stoke me code me renew me.
Increase… decrease… lose me.