The Writings of Gabriela Garcia Medina

January 30, 2009

At Least I’m a Good Poet!

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , , , — gabriela @ 8:39 pm
Helloooooooooooooooooo friends!
As you know I’m doing the AIDS/Life Cycle this year. It is a 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles (6 days) where I will be raising money to this cause.
My very first sponsor was Cesar Gonzalez who donated $100 towards my goal.
Because he was the first, I decided that I wanted to do something nice as a Thank You for his kind gesture of support. So I invited him over to my house for a “special” date…where I would make a “special” dinner…i was going to Cook Cuban food…(adapted to our eating habits of course)…so it was actually almost-Cuban, almost-Vegan food….and well…the experience left me somewhat traumatized so i decided to write a poem about it!
The poem is entitled “At Least Im a good poet” because those were the first words that came out of my mouth when Cesar stepped through the door.

My only disclaimer is as follows:  Please understand that this poem is an exaggeration of the truth…i’m actually not that bad of a cook, so you do not need to be afraid to accept an invitation should i even invite you over for dinner!

yours truly!

At Least I’m a Good Poet!

At least im a good poet!
Smoke seeps through the walls of my kitchen
Aromas of garlic mixed, with burnt caramel and old Teflon sink into my hands and hair
Im barefoot and wearing an apron with Frida Kahlo drawings all over it
It’s frills make me feel sexy
If only I could pull this off….
Kettle boiling
My stomach turning cause I’ve tasted everything from the undercooked flan
To the overcooked caramel
To the burnt tomato paste
And three week old wine I threw into the vegan picadillo.
Im trying to impress my boyfriend tonight
Well, at least im a good poet
At least im a good poet
I repeat to make myself feel better
Batter all over the kitchen table
Floor is sprinkled unintentionally with sugar
Tomato seeds and chopped onion squares have been diving off the cutting board for the last 2 hours.
It’s a mess in here!
Looks like the giant sitting atop his beanstalk
Ate too much of a lot of things and threw up all over the linoleum
Kinda smells like it too
Well, at least im a good poet
Pan is sizzling,
Windows are wide open
The birds outside aren’t brave enough to fly within 10 feet of the house
And my favorite plant has started sweating garlic and is slowly wilting
As the heat permeates through its stems, I think it’s trying to tell me something
I should really turn off the stove, throw everything away and order Chinese food,
Or thai food…he likes thai food…I could say I made it!
The thought has crossed my mind a few times, but lying isn’t my strong suit
Ok, I can pull this off, and if it doesn’t work out….
Well, at least im a good poet
Cant be good at EVERYTHING!
This is like my second time trying to cook something other than salad
I can sure hook up a great salad!
Though im not sure that would really impress his mother
A cloud of smoke hovers over my pots
Looks like a forest fire
Like the apocalypse is coming and all the veggies are going to hell
Good thing I took the batteries out of the fire alarms last time I tried doing this!

At least im a good poet!
Been following grandmother’s recipes
Though nothing’s turned out according to plan
See, it all started with the flan
I made it three times!
In that time, I could have written him a love poem and a couple of rhymes
That would have been a whole lot more productive than this cooking thing!
It would have served the same purpose,
To do a nice, thoughtful deed for someone I love,
But no, I wanted to challenge myself, so here I am
Stubborn, and stuck in this kitchen like dried egg-white on the table.
And how I thought I could cook 2 main dishes, 3 sides and a dessert with only two functionally challenged pots and one and a half pans?
And yes, I said one and a half pans
The half is missing a handle which, I accidentally burnt
When I tried to make pancakes once
And the Teflon is scratched from when I tried to fry an egg
And because I didn’t have a wooden spoon I used a metal fork instead
How was I supposed to know that the Teflon would shed?
I should have thrown it away, but since I almost never used it, why bother
Well, now im trying to cook beans in this pan
Organic-Cuban-Style Black Beans!
At least that’s what the can said
Yes, I used beans from a can
And No, that’s not cheating, I still added my grandma’s famous sofrito,
Which I made from scratch
And no, of course I wont tell him they are from a can!
Because technically I still “cooked” them.

At least im a good poet
At least im a good poet
And then, there was the rice…
You would think that it would be easy to make rice
Especially already cooked, organic brown rice from Trader Joes
All I had to do, was take the rice out of the plastic pouch and warm it up
A one-armed, blind man with a congested nose and burnt taste buds could pull this off
So why wouldn’t a creative and enthusiastic young woman with fully functioning senses manage to do the same?
Trying to juggle to many pots at once,
Before I finished pouring the mojo on the yucca,
Checking on the beans and tasting the flan
My already cooked, organic brown rice was burnt, black, stuck to the bottom of the pot, like old gum under school desks
So I quickly poured half a cup of water into the mix thinking that would make it better,

NOTE TO SELF: (for future reference): Adding water to already cooked burnt brown rice, Gives you exactly that:
watery-cooked-burnt-brown rice.
So I threw it out and started again,
This time I didn’t even blink.
Focused. All eyes on the prize! stir, stir, done!
And to make it look pretty I molded the rice like little mountains on our plates using a teacup!
Like I said…creativity points for the POET!

Doorbell rings
I anxiously let my boyfriend in
The moment of truth
I bring each plate into the living room like a Dead Man Walking
Awaiting execution for pre-meditated cooking and accidental poisoning
I can already picture myself crying over my boyfriend’s body,
Forgive me, Forgive me
At least I’m a good poet!
I place each dish on my living room coffee table,
Nope, I don’t have a dining room, or table….or chairs
So here we are,
Sitting on the floor,
Candles lit all around us (to create a diversion)
He might like the food a little better if he can’t actually SEE what it looks like.
You go in for the first bite,
I bite my lip and pretend to close my eyes, but secretly look to catch your first reaction
You swallow
I exhale
You say that it’s delicious
I say “you’re being too nice, It’s ok, At least im a good poet”
You compliment the flavors
You are impressed that I actually pulled off an almost-Cuban vegan menu.
Isn’t that like an oxymoron? Like defying gravity? Like magic?
“Well, I Am the world’s greatest magician” I reply
A smile now growing deeper and deeper into my cheeks
You look into my eyes:
“Gaby, this meal is an exact representation of your life,
Of your struggle to be Cuban and fit in with the pork fat, chicharrones, deep fried plantains and lots of tocino in the black beans culture while committing to being yourself: a vegetarian, mostly vegan, often raw, Michael Pollan-reading, always-smiling- feminist poet.”
Yes, it’s hard I know! I respond
You say I balanced it beautifully
You take another bite,
I’m so nervous I kinda lost my appetite
“You make me wanna learn to cook”, I say
You ask me if I put any of the cheese that’s coming out of my mouth into the food
And then you comment that a man cant technically “make” a feminist “DO” anything
I rephrase myself…
“I mean…that being with you inspires me to want to learn new skills, acquire new gifts, like cooking and I apologize in advance that you get to be my test subject,
But like I said, at least im a good poet!”

He puts his silver-wear down for a minute
Finishes swallows the forkful of my concuction,
And placing his soft hand over mine, he says:
Well, you weren’t always a good Poet
When you started writing, I bet your poems
Were not always simmered quite right,
There must have been times when your words were slightly overcooked
And didn’t emulsify into savory poetry
Im sure you’ve had your fair share of salty metaphors
And thoughts that drowned in their natural flavors from ideas that were not well seasoned
A vocabulary once too bitter or too sweet
And a style a little bland
And now, look how far you have come
You are a chef of words,
A recipe for innovative rhyming
A taste for meaning
A perfect blend of creativity and wisdom
Marinating spirit into life
And peeling layers of truth with every word
You are indeed a good poet
And so with your cuisine,
You may also one day be able to cook like you write.

he didn’t exactly say those things;
He’s an engineer,
But that’s how this poet,
soon-to-be kitchen guru
remembers it!)

December 5, 2008


Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , , — gabriela @ 6:01 pm


I read my horoscope every Thursday to get insight on my week
You laugh at my superstitions and accept me as “unique”
You wake up at six in the morning to get more time out of your week
But I see it as too much effort and I laugh at your teqnique.

I believe nothing’s impossible
And all can be attained with creativity
You believe in Reason
And look at life with objectivity

I’m outspoken and extroverted, overly emotional and highly political
You are quiet and introverted, perceptive and analytical
I believe in chance, you in probability
And while you see strength in consistency
I see strength in vulnerability

You live in a world of numbers and accurate solutions
I live in a world of magic and Illusion
Your mind tries to rationalize confusion
While my heart blindly trusts the spirits that guide its path
I read books on self-love, feminism and Revolution
And you read about Science, Computers and Math

To you, the world is logic
To me, it looks abstract
I search for truth in Intuition
And you search for truth in Fact
But one thing we both agree on,
Is that opposites attract;
Whether it’s random, or sequential
Metaphysical or Existential
The world is full of infinite potential
When our spirits interact.

Bailar Contigo.

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , , , , — gabriela @ 6:00 pm

Bailar Contigo.

La Charanga empieza a tocar
Y de repente
Se me pone la sangre caliente
Cada vez que me sacas a bailar
Mis caderas como el mar
Se mueven con tus brisas
Y tu linda sonrisa
Me empieza a enamorar.

Mis pies quieren caminar
Hasta el fin del mundo con tus pasos
Y mis manos atrapadas entre tus brazos
No te quieren soltar.

Admito que me resulta dificil evitar
Querer comerte con la Mirada
Con tu cuerpo sudando
Mi boca te esta deseando
Y me falta el aire al respirar
Y asi aun seguimos bailando
Con la musica gozando
Me das vueltas y vueltas
Y aunque a veces me sueltas
Siempre me vuelves a agarrar.

Y cuando me coges de la mano
Se me derriten los dedos
Y se evaporan todos mis miedos
De volverme a enamorar.

Y entre congas y claves te susurro al oido
Que me gustas!
Tanto como me gusta bailar,
Pero mas, me gusta bailar contigo

Porque cuando te veo bailando
Es como ver a un religioso resando
Es ver a un nino jugando
O a un sonador sonando
Es ver al sol en el cielo
O ver la espuma en el mar
Es ver paz en la tierra
O ver a un cometa estrellar

Y es contagioso tu bienestar
Que con sabor me captura
Y me consume por dentro
Sacandome el alma del centro
Que con la musica se quiere expresar.

Y como una estrella en la noche que alumbra aun durante el dia
Tu forma de bailar se ha inmortalizado en mis versos,
Y por siempre brillara, y vivira
A traves de mi poesia!

The Gift.

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , , , , , , — gabriela @ 5:53 pm

The Gift.

Life is a timba song
And it’s heart is the clave.
Clap – Clap- Clap - ClapClap
The clave;
It beats strong
And it beats steady throughout the song
Steady and conscious of itself
For it is the foundation
It is essential to the music
The root that holds everything together
Without it, nothing else makes sense
We are the claves
Clap-Clap-Clap- ClapClap
Our mothers are the claves
Clap-Clap-Clap- ClapClap
Our fathers are the claves
Clap – Clap – Clap – ClapClap
This beat is the gift of our ancestors
It is our birthmark
Branded onto our hips like tattoos
We carry the clave in our bones
And speak, like we move, in rhythm
Everywhere there is breath, there is salsa
You can find our music
Behind barrio alleys
On Hialeah street corners
In Brooklyn basements
Zabumba on Sundays
Santeria celebrations
Little cousin’s quinceaneras
And family reunions
Yes our music is everywhere we are.
There are Rueda classes in Chicago,
Cuban Festivals in Montana,
And of course there is always a reason to party in Little Havana
We have left our legacy in Alaska, Mexico, Canada, Beijing, Peru
And I bet even the esquimos in Antarctica know how to shake it inside their igloos
Our music has come full circle in Africa,
where it pays homage to its origins and rejoices its evolution
You can also find it at any Arcade in the form of Dance Revolution
It is shared in Indian Reservations, and in Tokyo night clubs,
There are even residues of our flavor in Germany, Britain, France and Spain
Through the sounds of maracas; yes, they too share a part of us, (Well, at least they try!)
Because Cubans, like our music, have touched every corner of the world
We are ambassadors of the drum and representatives of peace
Wherever the clave is, there is a celebration
So tell the UN that all they need to do to bring world peace is cancel the Geneva Convention and hold a Timba Pary instead
Teach Afghanis and Pakistanis to dance a Rueda
Make Israelis and Palestinians have to dance together
North Korea and South Korea will tap their feet
To the same salsa beat
And realize how similar they really are
And when the congas play to the trumpet sound
Walls will come down and bright colored streamers will fly high in the sky
Children from warring countries will look into each other’s eyes
And dance to the Clap-Clap-Clap- ClapClap
We will all dance our wars away
Russia and Georgia will share an enchufle
China will give Tibet a sombrero
And US Troops will do an Adios with Iraq
Because when two strangers are engaged in this musical exchange
They are connected, feet moving together
Hands touching, bodies flowing, souls glowing,
And hearts overcome with compassion
And how can there be wars when there is compassion?
How can we look into each others eyes and not find love?
So let our music be our contribution
Let this Clap-Clap-Clap- ClapClap be our gift
Wherever the congas beat there is my culture sharing itself with the world
Bringing love straight to your doorstep,
Instead of guns, drums shake the earth beneath your feet like an electric beam of light sending little shocks of joy through your blood stream.
Instead of bombs, we drop beats that make even the stiffest of hips move to the groove of the base, creating one people, one love, one race
Our music is everything
It is not a reminder of home, because music is our home
Clap- clap- clap- clapclap
Clapping its way into our yesterdays
And influencing the sounds of tomorrows
As Celia reminds us “Que la vida es un Carnaval”
And this becomes our philosophy
We learn to live like we dance, smiling at the joy that is life
Timba, salsa, son
tropetas, congas y cajon
She, too, is a gift to me,
Her spirit resonates in all my poetry
And her rhythm resides within me
Flowing skirt
And dancing shoes
Toes vibrating inside stilettos
Mouth singing
Arms swinging
Fluterring like tropical butterflies
Sweat drips on shaking hips
And lips smile uncontrollably
Cause when I am dancing I am Queen
No scratch that, I am Goddess
No scratch that, I am Queen Goddess!
Exuding sexuality with every contraction
With every release
I release sensuality
Like I was drenched in honey
And men, like bees stick to my sweaty sweetness till their legs fall off
Cause when I am dancing
I forget my insecurities, my fears
I forget that I haven’t set foot on Cuban soil in years
I forget that there’s bills waiting for me at home
That my mother was angry when we last spoke on the phone
I forget that I have an overdue parking ticket,
That there is work on Monday morning
There’s always traffic on the 110
And that gas is $3.99 a gallon
When I am dancing
I am living for the moment
For this music
The next step
The next turn
Who knows how the song will end?
All I know is that my smile is so bright in this moment it could light up a city
After each and every song, my body is ready to collapse in exstasy, like that feeling of release you get right after the best orgasm of your life.
I wanna kiss my sweaty stranger of a partner and say Thank you Thank You Thank you!
Yo don’t know how much this meant to me!
And my breath is so sweet it smells like evaporated sugar canes
My cheeks are so red they burn with love
My eyes so big they are filled with compassion
And my life has meaning
Because as long as I have this gift,
this music,
I will always know who I am
And the world will be my dancefloor.
Clap-Clap-Clap- ClapClap

The World’s Greatest Magician!

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: , , , , , — gabriela @ 5:50 pm

The World’s Greatest Magician!

I want to be the world’s GREATEST Magician
I don’t want to disappear people, then bring them back
And I don’t wanna pull cute little bunnies out of a hat
I want to be a Practical Magician
A Wizard of transformation
High Priestess
An inventor of light in the midst of darkness
Making something out of nothing

Like when I didn’t have any money for clothes
And I taught myself how to sew
Modifying hand-me-downs and making them my own
Soon to be known as the Cubanita Magician entrepreneur
I could turn recycled Goodwill fabrics
into high fashion original couture
With creative alterations
That would have the whole cast of Project Runway
Turn their heads at my creations
This magic born from necessity
Poured itself into my fingertips
Like second nature
As if I’d had a dream
That I could master a sewing machine
And what do you know!
I woke up the next morning and I knew how to sew
Like Magic!

Cause when we don’t have enough of what we need
We make do with what we got
And YES….Life gets rough
But we’ll never NOT
Have plenty
And YES…we might have to get a Toyota instead of a Bentley
But who needs a Bentley when we’ve got MAGIC
Passed down from our ancestors
Who whisper to us gently
As we listen intently
To the knowledge they have brought
And we grow into magicians
Learn to manifest with our thought
We develop this skill
All our needs are fulfilled
All obstacles overcome
We make some
Where there is none
With magic!

Como cuando hay poco dinero pero un gran apetito
Cubanos can hook up some spam con arroz y huevo fritos
Cocinado en un sabroso sofrito
Para chuparse los deditos!!!
(y que no se te olviden los platanitos!)
Like my grandfather
Mi Abuelito
The magician of the kitchen
Who could use left-overs and make enough to eat
To feed our whole block plus our cousins who lived on another street
With just a leg of chicken,
Skin and bones
A slice of butter
A cup of water
And stale bread
A pinch of salt
And a drop of oil
In his pots, he would stir, fry and boil
Then place it in the oven on a sheet of tin foil
Let it cool off for the final phase
And our whole barrio would have chicken croquetas for days!
That appeal to even the pickiest eater
Who’ll grub it down faster than a parking meter
Cause who doesn’t want a piece of the magic?
Like bread and wine
We digest a piece of the divine
And we become Magicians!

Like my grandma
An herbal engineer
When Western Medicine fails to make your pain disappear
She can prescribe natural cures and plants that heal
Like my uncle who can turn an old beat up rusty Chevy automobile
Into the hottest new wheels
That fit like 10 people inside
We sit on each other’s laps and our thighs overlap
Like our English and our Spanish
Nobody really knows how we do it!
But we manage
And we cruise and we laugh
And we always overcome
We make some
Where there is none
With magic!

And we are not happy to be poor
But we are happy despite our poverty
We are not excited about our life struggles
But we are excited to be alive
Cause we are magicians
Making the impossible
The unimaginable
Creating wealth where there is nothing
Fill voids with hope
And communities with resources
That’s why I wanna be the world’s greatest magician

Like poets and Musicians
And their power to ignite emotion
Setting our hearts in motion
Through a magical explosion of sound!
Like Billy Holliday’s Blues
Como la musica de Celia Cruz
Y los timbales de Tito
Que con su magia nos hace mover el culito!
Like Hip Hop
Like beatboxers making their mouths into instruments
B-boys and b-girls getting down and breakin it down
With their head spinnin around like magic
Like graffiti artists turning walls into canvases
And forgotten alleys into public art galleries
I wanna be a magician

Like little girls with big imaginations who can travel the world
Without ever leaving their backyards
Like single moms working two shifts and raising healthy beautiful children
Like the power of chocolate to magically eliminate PMS
It’s Magic!
Awomyn Amen
Like Magic

Like the power of spooning!
Just cuddle up behind someone’s rear
And it will make the worst of disputes disappear
I’m telling you…
When I am the worlds GREATEST magician
I will make Israelis spoon Palestinians
Mexicans spoon Salvadorians
And I’ll make homophobic men spoon their dads
And thus…create world peace
Like how Mexicans were born knowing how to cook any dish from around the world!
Go to a Mexican Restaurant
There is a Mexican in the Kitchen
Go to an Italian Restaurant
There is a Mexican in the Kitchen
Go to a Chinese, Tawainese, Peruvian, Colombian Restaurant
There is a Mexican in the Kitchen

Like when I was little and I wanted a Christmas tree
And my mom, who thought spending money on a tree
that would be thrown out 2 weeks later
didn’t make any sense
And when you’re struggling and counting every cent
A Christmas tree is a luxury
And a wastefull expense
But on December 24rth
Our living room plant was filled with lights and ornaments
My mother
Also a magician
And I wanna follow in her legacy
Which is why,
I wanna be the worlds GREATEST magician

And with the flicker of my wand
I would turn freeways into parks
Turn every Wallmarts into homeless shelters
Turn prisons into schools
And schools into SCHOOLS!
As the world’s GREATEST magician
I would make the Governor Undocumented
I would make Muslims, Chrisitans and Jews love one another
I Would turn Bush into an Iraqi mother
I would eliminate apathy and get rid of fear
And I would make crooked politicians –POOF- disappear
I would give people courage to stand up for their truth
And I would put a spell on cops so they stop harassing our youth
I would cleanse our communities from heroine and crack
And I would give Black people New Orleans back!
I would make fast food lovers into organic food lovers
And instead of Hot Cheetos and Lime Flavored Doritos
I would make children love veggies and fruits!
And I would tax corporations for how much shit they pollute
I would give people wings so they may learn how to fly
And I would make sexy lingerie fall from the sky
With a twist of my wrist
And a spoken command
I would conjure with my hands
And put a  spell on all the land
So that it would profit ONLY the families of those who work it!
As the world’s GREATEST magician
There’s so much I plan to achieve
I got so many tricks tucked up my sleeves
That will spark the imagination of children
And remind grown-ups that it’s never too late to believe
In Magic!

Powered by WordPress