Tag Archives: gringa

La Muchacha

15 Apr

Gisela la muchacha
called me Niña Lupita
though she was only
two years older than I

While she cooked and cleaned
I watched TV, after school
learning Spanish from telenovelas
Gisela, watching from the kitchen

Two teenaged girls, learning about life
the haves and the have nots
campesinas longing for joy in the big city
poor girl in love with the patrón, or his son

No one wants to explain
to a 13 year old gringa
why she’s not supposed to befriend
the 15 year-old maid

I knew Gisela had dreams
and they weren’t my laundry
she had no skills, and no money
her prospects were grim

How can you tell a girl like Gisela
get an education, when there’s none to be had?
And grow up in front of them
with a life laid before you?

I still remember Gisela’s shy smile
she’d hide it behind her hand
and after she left,
I tried to understand

to this day I still struggle
with the unfairness of it all
and it’s still hard to not be friendly
with the muchachas

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Guayaquil, a city of over a million people in Ecuador.

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La Gringa

13 Apr

Mirame a los ojos y dime de donde vengo
quienes son mis padres y cual es mi nombre

Lupita Maria, me dices, bella como tu madre
pero disculpame, como diablo se pronuncia

el apellido de tu padre? y cuando
abres la boca nadie te entiende

People look at me and ask
where do you come from?

and I know there will never be
a simple answer to that question

my face does not match
my name does not match

my voice does not match
it’s a trifecta of confusion

you must be Native American
I say I am of the tribe of New Jersey

But you don’t have an accent,
what exit? they smirk

105 and 109, I reply
with authority and pride

So where did Lupe come from?
It’s my mother’s name

Is she Mexican?
No, she is Ecuadorean

Oh, that explains it
the Incan connection

your English is so good
I’ve been speaking it since birth

but their eyes have glazed over
and they will never really know

who I am, and most importantly
where I come from

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