By Marta Maria Miranda-Straub

I am from a place where roosters wake you up

and chickens feed you breakfast,

where pigs are slaughtered with grit and grace

and every single part is used for something

I am from a place where we feast on white rice, black beans,

aguacates and mojitos

I am from the vile in my mother’s hatred of wifely duties

from kneeling on pebbles on the bathroom floor,

wishing that I could fly, and I  have and sometimes  I still do

I am from a place where café accompanies cigars and visitors

where we give voice to punto guajiro

and workship to the sound of  la Rumba

I am from the song of celia cruz,

the black one sways without walking sideways,

Azucar, Azucar prieta cuanto me gustas y me alegra,

the poetry of Marti,

I am an honest man from where the palm trees grow,

Before I die I want to sing the songs of soul:  Yo soy un hombre sincero de donde crece la palma

Y antes the morirme quero hechar mis versos del alma

Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera.

I am from water gazing, cleansings, bembes and living altars,

a place where we throw shells the same as dominos

where the African tongues are fueled by rum and conga drums,

I am from a place where women traded veils for machine guns

a place where mango trees swing orquídea on their hips

I am from the mountains and I am from the sea,

warrior like Chango, Fearless like Ibatala,

dressed in white and blue, and blessed by Yemaya, Ochun, Obatala,

Ellegua, Legba, Oya, y Chango,

Que viva chango, que viva chango, que viva chango senores

I am from a place where worn mountains touch the heavens  and where hollers cradle tabacci, surgum and wild orchids. “I was born  on this mountain, since I was my mother’s daughter and you ain’t going to take my dreams away, without me fighting, no you ain’t going to take my dreams away.”

I am from a place where “studying on it” has nothing to do with reading, where cayotes serenade us while black barns play the fiddle.

I am from a place where “bless your little heart” accompanies criticism, where we share the bounty of our gardens and the copperheads on our wood piles.

I am from Appalachia all day long

but I am from Cuba at night.


Cubana  y Guajira

Translation of Cubalachian Poem

By Marta Miranda-Straub


Yo  soy de un lugar, donde los gallos te despiertan y despues te preparan el desayuno

Yo soy de un lugar donde  el puerco es sagrado

Yo soy de un lugar culminados de despojos, y bembes

Yo soy de un lugar endonde los caracoles se tiran igual que el domino

Yo soyde un lugar donde la lengua Africana se habla con el fuego del ron y con el ritmo de las congas

Yo soy de un lugar  donde le damos voz al  punto guajiro, guantanamera , guajira guantanamera

Yo soy del canto de Celia Cruz, y las poesias de Jose Marti

Yo vengo de un lugar donde la azucar prieta es majica y le da cuerpo al flan y al dulce leche

Yo vengo de un lugar donde la fiestas diaria es servir arroz blanco, frijoles negros, aguacates y mojitos

Yo vengo de un lugar donde el cafe siempre acompana al tabaco y a las visitas

Yo vengo de un lugar donde los arboles  cargan a orquiadas en sus sinturas

Yo soy de las montanas,  y del oceano

Yo soy guajira de las montanas, “ yo creci en estas montanas y no me puedes quitar mis suenos”

Yo  soy hija de yemaya y le tiro bembes a chango

Yo soy the Appalachia por el dia y Cubana por las noches