Your land is named after & runs through
the halfway point of two hemispheres,
which is only fitting, because I myself
traverse two sides of multiple worlds.
One foot on each side, straddling the line
between Latin anf American, queer and
not. It only makes sense that the equator
runs through my veins. I was never meant
to be part of just one world, always two, like
God saw fit to give me symmetry. Sometimes
it’s worth the trouble, for views like this, and
moments like these.
Winding dirt paths that turn
into rocky roads lead the way to
hidden routes that few tourists find.
We make our way through into
people’s homes, communities, and
lives, and this time, we’re the colonizers.
I like to think we’re benevolent
though, as we mean no harm
and only want to eat their food
and take pictures of what to them
is mundane. I get it. I’m from Miami.
I know the type. But we’re different
because we know the surrounding
culture outside the edges of these towns.
Hidden roads only to us. Known
and already discovered by the natives
of the land. Isn’t that always how the story goes?
You sit scrawling across
The pages of a spiral notebook
With a mysterious hard cover
By your side. Your eyes dart
Side to side on the occasion
When you stop writing to look up.
Your mouth forms silent words
In what I assume is your method
Of deciphering the text that comes
Next. Two teenage girls sit in front
Of you, giggling at their phones.
I can see their Instagram feeds.
You cannot. They catch sight
Of your momentary soundless muttering
And exchange looks with one another
Setting off another bout of giggles, never
For a second noticing your own lowered grin as you caught them in their own
Catch. I’m writing about you wondering
If in your observations are you
Writing about me?
It’s a muffled call over the speaker
But everyone gathers their luggage
And snacks and pillows
A migration over dirty blue carpets.
One by one, trudge by trudge
We march staccato, weighed down
And imbalanced by heavy bags in varied
States of wear. Start with the back
Of the plane and fill it up to the front.
Just another waiting room until the next one. It almost feels like there is no
I’m not entirely sure why I chose Spain as the first European country I visited, but that’s where my parents and I went in the summer of 2015. It was more of a whim really, or maybe my brain though it’d be best to start somewhere where at least I speak the language (other than English, of course).
This trip was a truly spectacular adventure, as for the first time, instead of depending on friends or family to help us out, we traversed the land all on our own, renting a car and everything. In Madrid, we used public transportation to get around the city, visiting museums, gardens, and castles. We got to spend one day hitting up Barrio de las Letras, which is a neighborhood where famous writers of the past, like Miguel de Cervantes and Lope de Vega, resided when they lived. The storyteller in me couldn’t resist the call of those narrow alleys and old apartments, seeing how my ancestors once lived.
Night 2 in Madrid was spent being sent to a speak easy performance of a flamenco show. We didn’t know it was a speak easy/secret until we got there. We’d been sent tickets by a local restaurant owner who’d taken a liking to us as we patroned his place the first 2 nights in the country because it was right around the corner from our hotel. Going up to the hidden vendor inside the venue to be shown a secret entrance made me feel like I’d gone back in time to the prohibition era. The show was spectacular, as we all sat together in the dark, the only light coming from the halo around the dancer.
On day 3 we packed up our suitcases and took our rental out to the Spain highways, where we couldn’t quite read all the signs and made a bit of an error getting off our exit. Thankfully traffic in the area was nothing like it is here in Miami, and my dad had the chance to hit reverse and go the right way.
The next stop was Segovia, where we marveled at the aqueducts the people living there had made so long ago still holding up. We didn’t do anything to touristy here, as it was a pause on our way to visit an old friend of my dad’s who lived in Jaen. But that didn’t stop us from taking in the scenery and just walking the city’s streets, playing the part of the local even though we were foreigners.
We then doubled back to Toledo, where my alma mater followed me, as there were knights galore. Suits of armor decorated almost every establishment we entered. My favorite though was the cobbled streets and box alleys. Everything about Spain’s architecture and infrastructure was narrow and confined, but we never felt imprisoned (though we did nearly crash with a local driver later on). My dad and I took a ghost tour of the streets of Toledo, hearing the legends and lore that are the lifeblood of any town.
I can’t even count how many times we got lost on our adventures in Spain, but each wrong turn took us to new wonders. We found an old monastery up a hill that looked like we’d drop over the edge at any moment before finally leveling out. I picked grapes from the building’s vines, hoping no one was around to see my minor sin of theft.
In need of a place to stay the night during one of our lost moments, we found a beautiful hideaway, called La Casa de los Siete Cielos (The House of 7 Skies). Set inside a mountain cavern system and with a rooftop pool and garden, we truly couldn’t have asked for a better place to get lost.
In our search for the famous windmills of Campo de Criptana we accidentally wandered into La Mancha instead, a land best known from Cervante’s work of Don Quixote. We visited the Don’s windmills and then wound our way through the tiny streets of the town below to spend the night among the author’s people. Winding down on our last days, we found a museum dedicated to Dulcinea, Don Quixote’s love interest in the story.
Truth be told, it’s hard to remember every single thing that happened, because Spain was not a followed itinerary adventure. It was truly a trip filled with unexpected findings and wandering an unknown land, discovering it without constraints.
Where have you all traveled unplanned? Let me know in the comments!
Another steep climb over slick gray rocks, but at least
that day the sun was shining. Short on breath, once again
but I paid no mind as I drank it all deep.
Another cliff side looking down to a fall into crashing blue
waves, but this time I faced the height. With cautious steps
and shaking hands, I lowered myself into a sitting
position and swung my feet over the edge.
Boots still muddy from the day before shone dusty against
sapphire waters, far, far below. I leaned low, facing the fall
with a lurch in my stomach and my heart. Oh, I fell.
I wrote this piece when I traveled to Ireland for the first time last year. Been missing it like crazy. I need to go back! It’s been a busy year, and a busy month, but I wanted to make at least one contribution to National Poetry Month.
One part whiskey, two parts hot brew poured slowly
into that fancy ass glass, and topped off with a frothy
cream. Liquor at 9 a.m. is when I knew I’d embraced
the Emerald Isle.
The first sip was bracing, like cold fire spreading
from my throat down my chest into my belly
and suddenly 41 degrees Fahrenheit wasn’t freezing
for this Florida Girl.
The second gulp went down smooth, and the third
I knocked back like a pro. Before the final chug, my
new friends and I raised the last of the rich, brown
concoction, clinking glass. To our newfound Irish health.