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Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: When I was a Little Cuban Boy
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Today Richard Blanco of Bethel describes his dream of America as a boy living in Cuba.
When I was a Little Cuban Boy by Richard Blanco
O Jose can you see…that’s how I sang it, when I was a cubanito in Miami, and America was some country in the glossy pages of my history book, someplace way north, everyone white, cold, perfect. This Land is my Land, so why didn’t I live there, in a brick house with a fireplace, a chimney with curlicues of smoke. I wanted to wear breeches and stockings to my chins, those black pilgrim shoes with shiny gold buckles. I wanted to eat yams with the Indians, shake hands with los negros, and dash through snow I’d never seen in a one-horse hope-n-say? I wanted to speak in British, say really smart stuff like fours core and seven years ago or one country under God, in the visible. I wanted to see that land with no palm trees, only the strange sounds of flowers like petunias, peonies, impatience, waiting to walk through a door someday, somewhere in God Bless America and say, Lucy, I’m home, honey. I’m home.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2005 Richard Blanco. Reprinted from Directions to the Beach of the Dead, The University of Arizona Press, 2005, by permission of Richard Blanco. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.