death notes from la rumba in spanish harlem: dedicated to miguel piñero

dear readers,

this piece combines prose with poetry.  it is based on a true story called last night.  🙂


last night was la rumba up in spanish harlem.

her feet


burn into wings

fly on the heels of music

turn shoulders into spears

she is cutting through fear

and landing on the beat

of his drum


october, the time of dia de los muertos, a south and central american tradition of honoring the ancestors who have passed.  october, and i am celebrating eight years free from the living death of incest.

frida impaled

i bleed like you

on the dancefloor

death rising with the night

music got me open right

now I can feel his swipes

at the slice of my womb

she excavates her tomb

uprocks a bee petal to bloom

never again

would be too soon

rape is a tunnel

black moon


so when we ladies are clap clap sidewalk war lording, or when us ladies are clap clap dance floor courting, don’t get it twisted, we are clap clap bravo and take a bow before the specter of our this, our daily dead.

they call me death

lady death

my hung neck

is bobbing

and i am watching

this rumba is rocking/knocking

air thru the lungs of her coffin

four tokes, no coughing

corner caballeros

all chivalry, no jocking

they call me death

lady death

and i am watching

a conversation between

hips and drum

moon versus sun

hands full of skirt

face fierce with flirt

she his only begotton one

chest tempo to gun

thighs pounce for fun

air slicing hands

and she’s done

bows to the drummer

and when she smiles

her skeleton whispers

I won


la rumba, from africa via cuba, where the drummers and the song singers pulpit out a rhythm of battle your demons and get twisty on el espiritu.

stop, don’t start

one million musicians

slaves to our hearts

we are spinning, cantilevers careening

we are whole galaxies

tilting towards the sun

this fun is instead of murder

this fun is icy hot burners

lighting up a night white train

this fun is who we are

when there’s no one left to blame

women brawl fiercest on the dancefloor

as eagles as hawks

we oshun but we cocks

she fly when she die

silhouettes don’t stop

808 at my back

fuck a yellow cab cop


catcha laters,


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2 thoughts on “death notes from la rumba in spanish harlem: dedicated to miguel piñero

  1. Violeta says:

    I made a card today with a cut out of Piñero. Is great to come across this piece in light of my thoughts of his legacy.

    Your piece is rich and thought-provoking. I have to read it a few more times, probably a few more years to completely absorb the intensity and power encapsulated in every line.

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