miércoles, 12 de agosto de 2009

The newest addition to the family, great-nephew Jesús Alejandro

My great-nephew Javier Alejandro and my great-niece Johanna

Now, I am not that old... My older sister Mayra just married and had children very young...

My older nieces living in Caracas, Venezuela, from my sister Mayra (from left to right): Jennifer, Judith (Yuya) and Janet



Today, my beautiful niece Camila Mabel Méndez-Báez turns 5 years old.

Curiously enough, she shares her birthday with a less appreciated Cuban in the family: Fidel Castro. When she was born I joked to my sister Rosita (her mother): “You should name her Camila Fidelia”. Only her immense love and respect for me and her well developed sense of humor spared me the stinging, quasi perfect red pentagram of a slap on the face. You just don’t joke of things like that in Miami!

By today’s standards and expectations, Camila is a “big” girl now. She already “graduated” from pre-kinder and is able to count to 100 and do simple mathematical calculations, sings the alphabet both in English and in Spanish, draws actively and beautifully, answers the phone with astonishing clarity and panache, gets up with her mother at 6 a.m. so that she can wash up, have breakfast and be dropped off at school and is able to maintain rather very “mature” conversations with her elders.

This ease of Camila and many of today’s young children to conduct such mature dialogues astounds me and “freaks me out” just a little. At her age I was still trying to say “otorrinolaringólogo” in my native Spanish (ear, nose and throat doctor, by the way) and was able to ask my mother, grandmother and aunts without hesitation: “what’s for lunch or dinner?” or state, very articulately: “my stomach hurts and I have the runs after eating so many mangos...” But not even in my most serious moments was I so preoccupied as Camila and so many children today as to the problems of family and daily life. Could that concept (urban legend?) about the Indigo Children have some ring o truth to it?

I wonder…

One thing Camila and I have in common is her uncanny ability to reproduce flawlessly and instantly anything that she hears and sees that catches her fancy. I was the same way as a child. I could hear a song on the radio for the first time, even in a foreign language (they played American, Italian and French songs in some radio programs in Cuba) and I could immediately after begin singing it, even imitating the voices of the performers and doing all orchestral sounds with my mouth and throat!

(For those who are wondering, I could mimic and approximate the sounds and pronunciation of foreign words pretty darn good, but had no idea of what I was singing…).

Regardless of any crazy supposition, similarity or wild speculation, Camila is not only smart, beautiful and advanced in character for her age, but she is also very poised, has a genuine sweetness about her that is very endearing, is neat with all her things and fastidious in her grooming routines (will she end up with strong OCD traits like my sister Rosita and me?).

I project myself into the future and see her as a very well respected physician or as a very highly esteemed attorney. She could even make it without major problems as an accomplished TV personality or even as a high profile businesswoman. Higher yet, she could absolutely be the first female President of the United States of Cuban-heritage.

Whatever she will finally become, I am certain that Camila will end up being a very nice, thoughtful, humane and decent individual; someone you would be very proud to call your daughter, your sister, your friend, your boss, or in my particular case, my niece.

Happy birthday, Huevo Frito!

Los Angeles, August 13, 2009

Succinctly and simplistically

Haiku is a form of traditional Japanese poetry, which gained independence and its own right to stand alone (up to that period haiku was considered to be the starting verse in a much longer poem) in the mid 19th century.

Haiku is structured as a 17-syllable verse consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables...

Google and read more about haiku and its fascinating history, techniques, themes, musicality and cadence and learn about its most representative (traditional and modern) authors both in Japan and other countries.

So, start writing your own haiku and share their beauty and profound simplicity with the world.


Nighty-night, my love:
it's time to lose perception
and embrace silence...

Image by FlamingText.com


Image by FlamingText.com
Mi foto
La Habana, Cuba, Los Ángeles, Estados Unidos
Nacido en La Habana, Cuba, el 3 de diciembre de 1960. Emigra a Estados Unidos en 1980, a través del éxodo masivo de Mariel. Ganador de numerosos concursos de poesía, literatura y ensayo en Cuba y Estados Unidos. Publica su primer poemario, "Insomnia" en 1988, con gran acogida por parte de la crítica especializada y el público. Considerado por críticos y expertos como uno de los poetas fundamentales y representativos de la llamada Generación del Mariel junto a Reinaldo Arenas, Jesús J. Barquet, Rafael Bordao, Roberto Valero y otros.