Dripping River Water


we need a lift February 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 8:20 am
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I pray for the Cuban embargo to be lifted.  Like today.  Or as my friend said, yesterday.

I pray that my Tía Rosa in Cuba is surrounded by angels.  She had a stroke that affected her brain.  Not her heart.  My father told me this and I thought, she has too much heart for it to be destroyed.

My Tía Rosa is the matriarch of the family.  She is the one that makes all the decisions.  She buys the eggs for the entire family.  She makes connections for everyone.  She is strong and cries when she needs to.  She used to sit right next to me while I had dinner to make sure I ate everything.  She gave me meat while everyone got eggs and I couldn’t win the argument that we should all eat equally.

She is the one that told my mami that she should be proud of me.  I’ve neglected her this past year.  I used to call every month.  Every month she asked me when I was going back.  Every month she told me about the plant she has been growing for me. It is beautiful she said and will give me strength.  Sometimes we would cry.  It’s too painful to be far apart.  I’ve neglected her because calling has become difficult.  I haven’t been in the position to send money how I used to.  I haven’t been able to fork over the extra money to call every month.  I can’t save up money yet to go visit.  I want to see the rest of the world but I always end up going back to Cuba.

I will have to go again this year.  This is not what I really want to do but it’s Tía Rosa we are talking about.  She is like my second mother.  I have to ask for forgiveness.  I have to go back and try to help her.  Or just sit with her.  I could gather up water from the well.

Right now all I can do is pray and save money.  No Egypt, No India, No Indonesia, No Spain this year.  It is Cuba, insha’Allah.  But it has always been Cuba.

The only thing the embargo has been able to succeed in is breaking up families.  I pray that Barack Obama has the strength to lift the embargo entirely.  My mami is in Miami.  It would be easy for her to get to Cuba to see my Tía and spend some time there.  It would be easy but it’s not.

the end.


forms of cleansing February 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 6:00 am
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It has been raining for days.  There are moments that it stops and the birds chirp by my bedroom window. I am waiting for their message.  Wondering if I will understand them this time.

It has been three years and seven months since I moved to Oakland.  I remember my going away party in Prospect Park.  Just before leaving my friends asked me when I was coming back.  I knew that it was because they loved me but dang can I get out first and then decide?  I think they knew as much as I knew that I was probably not coming back.  Maybe for a few days or weeks or a month like I did this past fall but not forever.  I’ve wanted to leave Brooklyn right when I knew that leaving was an option.  When I was five years old.  It just took me a long time to do it.

Oakland has been good to me but it’s been raining.  Raining for days.  We needed the rain and I know I needed it, too.  My body felt a lack.  I felt I needed a cleansing.  I grew up in a home where we had lots of cleansings.  White flower petals in buckets full of water and perfume.  Flower petals in my hair, my shoulders, my tummy, my toes.  They touched the ground and left trails around the apt.  My body doesn’t necessarily need that kind of cleanse.  I need to jump into the river and have her carry me.  It is cold.  I could technically jump into a river near here but I don’t think I am brave enough.

I danced on Saturday.  Another form of cleansing for me.  I grew up in a home where we danced.  I don’t have those quick casino moves.  I dance like old Cuban grandmothers to boleros.  But give me some soul music and it’s a different story.  This I learned from my brother.  I was little, like 5.  He was big, like 18.  He blasted his music and let me watch Soul Train with him Saturday mornings.  

I danced, and danced, and danced.  I felt good.  And it cleansed me.  But cleansed me in a way that I got more sad as the rain continued to come down.  As if something was moving past me.  And this is me that came from a family that believes that everything that is wrong in our own personal lives is because someone gave us the evil eye, they did some brujería, or there is some bad spirit that is tormenting us and doesn’t want us to succeed.  There is no accountability.  There is no reflection, like, hmmn, maybe there are somethings that I have to change about myself.  And there are things I have to change.  And thank God I am a believer or else these transitions would be torturous.  

When I danced I saw myself in India.  I’ve never really wanted to go to India but sometimes I shouldn’t question my visions.  I thought about my uncle (who was married to my aunt) going to India to see his guru.  I remembered when he told us the story the last time I saw him before he died.  I remembered how beautiful it is sometimes to be around my family: the potty mouths who are for reals all the time.  He told us the story of when he went to the bathroom at the hotel and there was no toilet paper.  He went downstairs and requested toilet paper but the man at the front desk explained to him that they don’t use toilet paper.  My uncle was shocked.  My mother was even more shocked that before India he had never washed his butt after making caca.  My mother always washes her butt and taught us to wash our butts.  I didn’t realize that not all Cubans do this.  Like not all Cubans come from a family of healers and clairvoyants like me.

In my bathroom the shower curtain is a world map.  I map out the places I should go.  I make a trail with my index finger.  Going back and forth.

Sevilla-to dance flamenco and touch my gitana roots

Morocco-to drench in all the hues of blues

Egypt-to take some Arabic classes and spend time at the shrine and masjid of my Muslim namesake-(Sayyidah) Nafisah

Palestine-because I should

India-to purge and sing

Indonesia-to see Fifi, eat mangoes and swim for days

Maybe I should do it in reverse and dance it all off in Sevilla.  This is what I think about in the shower where the map and letters are backwards.  This is what I think about doing with my very low nanny salary these days.  How do white people do it?

I haven’t left my apt for two days straight but I am thinking of leaving the country.  Two visions.  Once with my dad last summer over the phone and I told him I had to tell him I was leaving the country.  I had to tell him in that moment even though before that moment I didn’t know that would happen.  Second, when I was at my friends’ house this weekend to see their newborn child, Lila Joy and her big brother Zeke.  I was explaining to my friend’s parents how I wanted a lot of kids, like 5.  I am too old to have 5 kids.  Meadow says I could adopt.  I say I can have a partner that already has kids.  They said I could be a kindergarten teacher.  I said, no I want them near me at all times.  That is when I had the second vision, me in Malaysia surrounded by like 7 children.  I’m 33, I don’t think I can birth so many.  

I have to go to work tomorrow morning.  I have to leave the apartment.  I have to go out into the rain.  I am hoping it won’t rain in the morning so I can take a long walk to BART.  That way I can pass by Lake Merritt and I will refrain myself from plunging into it.  It’s kinda of gross.

I leave you with my inspiration for the day.


the end.


looking for signs February 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 5:54 pm
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I am the girl who looks for signs.  The woman that is no longer a girl.

I feel like I am back in the place I was three years ago.  My head clouded, not knowing what to do next.  I remember going to a reading and Eleggua scolding me that I want to do too many things and I only have one life.  Pick one.  Just one.

Right now I don’t know which one that one is.  When I started to write Amor Cubano: In a bottle, a tube and a small packet I envisioned it bigger than the words I was writing.  I envisioned it long.  For years.  Barbarita on stage.  Barbarita on screen.  Barbarita with her one TV show.  Barbarita seems to have walked away from me for awhile.  Doesn’t matter that I bought her a new cheetah print dress.  She is not gonna stick around while my head is clouded.

Then there is Jazmín and Kumari the screenplay I started writing.  I really enjoy writing it.  Their characters are coming to life even when I walk down the street.  But I am not writing.  Not sitting at the table as I am doing right now to write scenes and conversations.

What am I doing?

Then I met this mom that said I should write a the nanny’s guide for stay at home moms.  I thought, oh that would make money.  I can see the cover right now.  Is this a sign?  And then I was no longer excited about it coz I would have to interview all these nannies and who has time for that?

I am back at the same place again.  And I saw Guillermo Gomez Peña and Marga Gomez walking down the street.  Not together!  Two writer/performance artists that I have always admired and I thought, that is a sign.  Why am I not writing and performing right now?  Then I realized Culture Clash was performing a the Brava Theatre in the Mission where I was and figured it wasn’t really a sign.

I can ask God to give me some signs but sometimes I don’t listen to the signs.  I can be very bratty.  

Maybe it’s time to really look for the signs and stop being bratty.  Maybe then I will get more signs and actually do something.  Not being productive is very boring.  

Oh the Mondays.

the end.