Last full day in Honduras. A whirlwind. Deliriously amazing. Early flight to the capital, Tegucigalpa. A morning talk for students at UPNFM there. An afternoon workshop for writing tutors. Thank you to Carmen Urcuyo of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. And thank you to Prof. Gloria Ulloa (standing under the mural) and her kind, energetic, brilliant students. Below, poems by two of them. Click on their names for video:
Luis Jancarlos Montoya
I’m 5’6’’ but I don’t look too tall.
I’m overweight but I don’t look too chubby.
I have thick, black hair I never comb.
My eyes are average brown
And my skin is like caramel.
My smile is happy and carefree
But my eyes are sad and sober.
My youth is my treasure.
My Secret Self-portrait
I could fool anyone at first sight.
I look like the prey but in fact, I’m the hunter.
My hunger is only noticeable at night, in the dim light, shining in my dark eyes.
My ambition knows no limits
But my fear is the thought of not having enough time
To do what I want.
I look for love but sometimes, I just lay and wait for it to find me.
Sometimes I go to bed thinking: “Hmm, under that rock, I should’ve checked twice.”
But in the morning, I forget.
I love the sun and the heat, I feel like a tourist in my own lands.
I take life with my already full hands.
I wear glasses
Hey! I just can’t see
I am short and chubby
just like a little girl
I now have red, short hair
It has changed since I was 13
My lips look like a little heart
They are always ready
to give a kiss full of love
My Secret Self-portrait
I am always surrounded by people
but loneliness is my best friend
I am afraid of disappointing her
I am afraid of losing myself
Many think I am bossy and mother-like
but I am fragile as a feather
and caring as a sister
Sometimes I just want to leave
go to a place far away and
start being who I really want to be
4th day in Honduras, last day in San Pedro Sula. Powering up at Power Chicken, even the native fast food amazing, Honduran, Chinese, plátano, fried rice, yuca, horchata. During the day, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán Centro Universitario Regional – San Pedro Sula, a mouthful of cognates and proper nouns, my first university students, lively, talkative. In the evening, back to CCS for Criticarte, a colloquium where I got to answer most questions with poems. Met a whole set of young Honduran writers that night, including Gustavo Campos of Editorial Nagg y Nell and poet Murvin Andino Jiménez (who took the close-up shot). Had to figure out how to pack all the extra books in my luggage.
Honduras a.k.a. Guaymuras, day 3. The secret joy of these days is the breakfast buffet at Hotel Copantl. Cowboy breakfast in such a civilized cafe, really what I am all about. Today was the first bookstore visit, Metronova at Galerias Mall, where the book is now available. Happy to read with Jose Bográn, a local writer, and meet a few other book-minded folks. Also did an interview for a government TV station with a lovely lady, Misha, who happened to be from El Progreso, my parents’ hometown. Myriam Michelle of CCS joined us for the live show.
Honduras, day 2. Full days. Beginning and ending with views from the sweet hotel, the Maya-themed Copantl. Visited the school my lovely host Myriam attended, San Vicente de Paúl, at the foot of a mountain, a breezy dream on a tropical morning, and the school at which my Tía Digna was head administrator for almost 2 decades, Academia Americana. In between and throughout, real beauty in San Pedro Sula, the home city I’m seeing through new eyes. And on top of that, food, traditional, like grilled meat with fresh tortillas and beans at Chedrani’s, and totally new like sushi wrapped in plaintain at Sushi-Itto (cousin Lorena in the background). Apparently, besides the book reading and the school talking, I’m here to put it down at a meal.
Honduras, 1st full day on a gig as U.S. cultural envoy, an unbelievable thing really. Pictures speaking because just don’t know what language to speak right now. Also music helps. Teaching thru karoake, not a bad way to go. Shout to Hotel Copantl, Centro Cultural Sampedrano, all their high school students including their Access program, everyone loud and polite, energetic and kind. Also glad for Joe Brainard, Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson, Emily Dickinson, Alfonsina Storni, the ancient Maya, Chayanne, and most of all, Myriam Michelle Sanchez of CCS who really made this all happen and Hakhi Alakhun and The Lo Frequency for connecting me, walking thru this portal, showing me a way.