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The Two-Headed Puerto Rican

By <a href="/centrovoices/meet-the-authors/magdalena-gomez">Magdalena Gómez</a>

The Two-Headed Puerto Rican

Spanish mouth wakes up commuters
on the D train  delicious dirty laugh
replete with innuendo, fleshy memory and
unbridled  lust for telling it like it is
in the mixed company of  Prada and Route 66.
Spanish mouth can recite, sing,
Boricua literary and musical canons
simultaneously explaining
what Commonwealth
really means while ordering
un sandwich de jamón y queso
on pan de agua
con spanglish mustard
and a Cuban to go,
in a Dominican Restaurant
with  Nuyorican accent
translating the menu for gringos
with my inherited fluent
orchestral hand gestures.
English mouth remembers
South Bronx First Baptist Missionary Church
where we sang to our blonde, blue-eyed Jesus;
Spanish mouth praises Yémaya
when crossing the bridge
to City Island.
Spanish mouth moans AYYYY Cristo!
when making love
barks contra'yao
when stubbing her toe;
Spanish mouth made men forget
every word of English or Spanish they ever knew;
English mouth is monogamous in bed
and monosyllabic at dinner.
Spanish mouth
deploys facial ciphers
when silenced.
Plots revenge.
English mouth sips.
Spanish mouth swallows.
Spanish mouth is not afraid of cicharrones;
English mouth takes Lipitor and fears liver disease.
Spanish mouth sucks teeth
when the conversation
stinks of dirty dog,
English mouth searches for the polite thing to say
about the breed and breath
the word “nice” wedged in like bad lettuce
in a box lunch.
Spanish mouth tells long winded jokes
the telling better than the punch line.
English mouth prefers sarcastic repartee.
Spanish mouth dances mambo
while standing in line at the supermarket,
English mouth dances after three martini’s
and never belches in front of men.
Spanish mouth gets coqueta
with the husband
of the cousin of the uncle of the neighbor
who just flew in from San Juan
for the first time and wants to see
Jankee Estadium before
somebody drops a bomb on it
to build condominiums;
English mouth has memorized
passages from Emerson
and demands everyone
to stay positive,
prosper and not put bad vibes
into the universe.
Spanish mouth guards her wallet
in a city that forbids you from going for a walk
without spending money on something
whether you need it or not.
English mouth racks up debt
to keep up with neighbors
Spanish mouth drinks
her café con leche at home
English mouth orders overpriced
double expresso lattes
and takes Tums.
Spanish mouth is dangerous,
unafraid of hunger
manual labor
and does not need to be liked.
English tongue is a
people pleaser
addicted to Taco Bell
and nail salons.
You have not lived
until you have tasted
the mouth
of the two headed freak
who pisses sugarcane
and rum,
Red Bull
and can fly between islands

when no one is looking.

© Magdalena Gomez. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 11 April 2015.