Writing Challenge

I think I’ve found a writing challenge that both poets and non-poets can attempt.

While at Dodge, I heard Jim Daniels read his poem, “You Bring Out the Boring White Guy in Me,” which is a takeoff on Christina Acosta’s poem, “You Bring Out the Dominican in Me,” which is a takeoff on the original by Sandra Cisneros, “You Bring Out the Mexican in Me.” If you search the Web, there are dozens of imitations out there.

The poem is basically a list. So write your own version and see what you get. Post a note here when you have written and posted yours on your blog or Web site, and let’s see what Sandra, Jim, and Christina bring out in you! (My version will be closer to Jim’s poem.)

Below is Sandra’s poem. Also, here’s an audio version from National Public Radio.

You Bring Out the Mexican in Me

You bring out the Mexican in me.
The hunkered thick dark spiral.
The core of a heart howl.
The bitter bile.
The tequila lágrimas on Saturday all
through next weekend Sunday.
You are the one I’d let go the other loves for
surrender my one-woman house.
Allow you red wine in bed,
even with my vintage lace linens.
Maybe. Maybe.

For you.

You bring out the Dolores del Río in me.
The Mexican spitfire in me.
The raw navajas, glint and passion in me.
The raise Cain and dance with the rooster-footed devil in me.
The spangled sequin in me.
The eagle and the serpent in me.
The mariachi trumpets of the blood in me.
The Aztec love of war in me.
The fierce obsidian of the tongue in me.
The berrinchuda bien-cabrona in me.
The Pandora’s curiosity in me.
The pre-Columbian death and destruction in me.
The rainforest disaster, nuclear threat in me.

The fear of fascists in me.
Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

You bring out the colonizer in me.
The holocaust of desire in me.
The Mexico City ’85 earthquake in me.
The Popocatepetl/Ixtaccíhuatl in me.
The tidal wave of recession in me.
The Agustín Lara hopeless romantic in me.
The barbacoa taquitos on Sunday in me.
The cover the mirrors with cloth in me.
Sweet twin. My wicked other,
I am the memory that circles your bed nights,
that tugs you taut as moon tugs ocean.
I claim you all mine,
arrogant as Manifest Destiny.
I want to rattle and rent you in two.
I want to defile you and raise hell.
I want to pull out the kitchen knives,
dull and sharp, and whisk the air with crosses.
Me sacas lo mexicana en mi,
like it or not, honey.

You bring out the Uled-Nayl in me.
The stand-back-white-bitch in me.
The switchblade in the boot in me.

The Acapulco cliff diver in me.
The Flecha Roja mountain disaster in me.
The dengue fever in me.
The ¡Alarma! murderess in me.
I could kill in the name of you and think
it worth it. Brandish a fork and terrorize rivals,
female and male, who loiter and look at you,
languid in your light. Oh.

I am evil. I am the filth goddess Tlazoltéotl.
I am the swallower of sins.
The lust goddess without guilt.
The delicious bedauchery. You bring out
the primordial exquisiteness in me.
The nasty obsession in me.
The corporal and venial sin in me.
The original transgression in me.

Red ocher. Yellow ocher. Indigo. Cochineal.
Piñon. Copal. Sweetgrass. Myrrh.
All you saints, blessed and terrible,
Virgen de Guadalupe, diosa Coatlicue,
I invoke you.

Quiero ser tuya. Only yours. Only you.
Quiero amarte. Atarte. Amarrarte.
Love the way a Mexican woman loves. Let
me show you . Love the only way I know how.

Copyright Sandra Cisneros


nike said…
it sure brought out the latino in me . thanks.
Carolee said…
I gave the writing challenge a try and got a lot out of it! Here it is: CLICK.
chiefbiscuit said…
Wooo!!! Fantastic!
I have enjoyed catching up on 'your world'. The poetry fest sounded fantastic ... lucky you - thanks for all the reporting back, it made for informative reading.
Linda Pastan has long been a fav of mine.
January said…
Hope you all read Carolee's poems--they are awesome!
Carolee said…
Thanks for the feedback, January! But did I post a link that doesn't work? I swear in the middle of the night last night it worked . . . or maybe I just really wanted it to work . . . here's the link again: CLICK HERE.

Bug said…
I love it! It may take me a while to post one though. :) I will post again when I do.
And I am going to try this! What fun!
Writing Blind said…
I love this poem. Sandra Cisneros is a fantastic poet and I love the way she sounds reading this.
ecm said…
I love Sandra Cisneros...great poem!

Popular Posts