I read the poem….
“You Bring Out The Mexican In Me”
by Sandra Cisneros
I fell on it. I think that is the best way to find things, when it’s the last thing on your to-do list:
- Go to cleaners
- Stop at pharmacy
- Drop off the clothes from weekend closet clean out at the Goodwill
- Other mindless tasks that you hate doing but that need to be done
Nowhere on the list is:
- Discovery of the unexpected
Without a warning, the unexpected finds its way into your life. Such was this poem for me today. I read it through once without breathing or blinking. After I finished reading my muscles relaxed, my eyes leaked, and the air trapped in my lungs burst through my mouth blowing me, and the chair on wheels I sit on a few inches back. WOW! Her words, big and mighty, so big the sentiment soaked through the epidermis and intoxicated me as if I had just finished a third glass of Etude Pinot Noir.
Hoping to forget about it, pass it off as a fluke. I failed. The voices clamoring in my head had other plans for me. “It’s like the book, like the book,” they said. Not exactly, but close enough to for me to pause and consider the possibility of an epiphany. I finished Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina López. The sparks between nerve cells connecting were too bright to ignore. I finally understand the expression, ‘deer in a headlight’.
1) Because I’ve been in a self-evaluation phase (an ongoing, never ending, stop and start process in this woman’s life) and recently wondered if my voice was too much.
2) Because I had randomly selected to read these two pieces by Latin authors back to back – despite being a Latin Woman myself, I don’t normally read work by my ‘people’. I can’t always relate so I pass it by. In some cases, my life is the same as what Latin authors write about, but not always. I am certain that aliens, and not the sort from south of the border, raised me.
Lopez’s book is about a woman who believes passion is essential in life, but has lost it. The arch of the story is how she rediscovers it. The journey is a sensual spiritual reawakening that brings back her hunger for life.
Cisneros’s poem is about passion, not lost passion, but the sort that explodes inside of a woman at the hand of another (my view, anyway).
I said to my shadows on the wall (not really), but I did say aloud inside of my mind, is something wrong with me. Am I to open, too honest, too much? I concede over a glass or two of wine I am I am ‘too everything’. At least twice a week for a few seconds a day, I’ll admit to my friends, ‘the shadows’, I can be intense. It got me thinking that maybe I am ODD. I am, for better or worse, passionate, and like a bougainvillea, colorful and sprawling. I speak my thoughts without running them through a sieve. I make people wary, nervous even, so I alter myself for their comfort.
I was wondering how I might ‘abridge’ myself. But after finishing the book and the poem, I concluded that there are things about myself I don’t understand. Further, maybe those parts that I don’t understand sometimes make people wary of me. I see me in my writing, the way I speak and how I say things—it’s not veiled. This can make people uncomfortable.
Today after reading ‘You Bring out the Mexican in Me’, I think maybe I am fine the way I am, just as I am, ‘too much’ of everything. I am OK as the passionate person I am. I always was but the reading of the poem reminded me just how OK I am.
Are you ever moved to tears by words you read?