Remember in Que Pasa, U.S.A? when Abuela hears the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill went up the hill" and screams, "Solos?!" Well, maybe Abuela didn't understand that fine piece of poetry, but she definitely would have gotten into Hialeah Haikus.
Last night, at Books & Books in Coral Gables, members of Foryoucansee, a Miami collective of writers, actors, performance artists, and yes, even veterinarian assistants, presented a 30-minute reading the likes of which Books & Books has never seen. The poets commandeered Japanese-style poetry to convey distinct, hilarious Miami flavor.
University of Wynwood founder P. Scott Cunningham led a Q&A session as a high-brow, elbow-patched, literary professor. He introduced the group of poets, who were casually wearing paper bags over their heads, as the Britto Man Group. Apparently they're huge fans of the Britto. Once revealed, their mugs even looked to be face-painted by Britto himself. Poet Alex Fumero explained that the man behind Miami's happy children and Mona Lisa-cat paintings was a "great influence on our work."
Professor Cunningham and one of Britto's child labor painters.
They even had a young girl painting a Britto fish on the spot. Guests
had the option of buying the artwork for $500, or they were open for an
exchange of goods: For five cartons of cigarettes, the faux Britto
painting could be yours.
Throughout the evening, Cunningham prodded the poets with academic questions, e.g. "Do you see Miami as a city full of coxcombs?" In true situationist-style absurdity, the Foryoucansee poets
responded with 5-7-5 homages to early '90s automobiles and odes to your mother:
Tata's red Accord / Albee Silk mix, window's down / renting at the beach.
She mani-pedis / at a spare room at her house / comes out super nice.
The room was packed with a crowd of about 100 people. Instead of polite
claps and chuckles, peals of laughter followed most every poem. Many of
the haikus included a mix of Spanish and English. There were those few
gringos in the bookstore that had to lean into the person next to them
for a translation.
If Jack and Jill went up the hill... Wait, Abuela definitely wouldn't let
them go on that treacherous path. Instead, Abuela would make them sit in
the sala, you know, the living room, and eat four servings of rice and
beans. And maybe a batido de mamey. At least that's what our Hialeah
friends would say. Foryoucansee, Abuela never understands.
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Hialeah Haikus can be purchased at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in
Coral Gables and online at www.artesmiami.org.