Wednesday, April 09, 2008

April 9 : Garabato by Virgil Suarez

One of my favorite poets - someone who knows how to chill, get deep, laugh and make you think. I miss the way we used to hang whenever he came through San Anto.

In the beginning was the hook like instrument
used to cut grass & sugar cane, made from the wood
of the guava tree. Depending on the creativity
of the devotee, it was painted or adorned with beads
& cowries. Ritual instrument of Elegba, Holy Child
of Atocha, whose domain is the Crossroads.

In Los Angeles, at the public schools, I drew
Chinese characters, or what I thought were

Chinese characters). Sometimes I copied
them down from the backs of Chinese fortune

cookies, to keep the bullies who beat on me
at bay. I told them I knew different forms

of martial arts, mainly Kung Fu & Karate. They believed
me at first, then grew skeptical over time & cornered

me outside in the hallways. I stood dumbfounded
& overwhelmed by the fact that I was about to get

my ass kicked. I‚d pray to Elegba & all the Orishas
that I wouldn't get my ass kicked--as I did on many

occasions. The elementals didn't work. My mis-
fortune cookies always came through: You will

make no friends. You will always be an outsider.
Not knowing the price, you will pay much dues.

Nothing has helped heal the mental blows, except
for this poem now & for all who kicked my ass

because I didn't speak English right or dressed
with the wrong clothes, or didn't comb my hair right,

I say this: this poem is my garabato. Con Safos.

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