“Canto a Mi Mismo” By Natalee Cruz


Sometimes when I listen to Vicente Fernandez
I imagine I’m back in California
waking to the sound of the leaf blower
cantando in the morning
It would infiltrate my dreams
become a part of my sueños
The grito of the machine
coming out of the mouth of my padrasto
wide open like a trumpet
telling me it’s time to start my day

Sometimes I listen to Pepe Aguilar
When I’m sitting at home
Rubbing my pansa
Drinking my cervesas
Thinking about lost loves
and destroying machismo

There have been times
when I listen to Ana Gabriel with my mother
on Sunday mornings
We admire her beauty and her range
How she waltzed onto the stage
in mariachi garb
and made the phallic sombrero
look like a vagina
Her Mexico lindo

Me and my lover listen to Joan Sebastian
when we are laying in bed together
and we kiss
in our native tongue
leaving sweet idioms on my breasts
mobilizing the different parts of you
to play all the parts of this orchestra
strumming my navel
humming into my neck

Juan Gabriel
May he rest peacefully
The sound of his voice
still hangs off my ears on the train at night
Like diamond earrings
they remind me of a past gift
That I will pass on for eternity

Juanga, take me back to those times
we ran after busses
My father moved so fast
with my hand in his
I would catch flight
Juanga, wake me the way you used to
when you would tell me stories
and I would listen

We spoke the other day
Mis padres dicen que they were happy that
i was worried
Y mi mamá también

That sometimes they feel like I forget
I could never forget–
so many reminders
each like a single brick in a giant wall
mortared with thick golden blood
Each crack
adorned with ivy
Twisting through imperfection
creating culture
It will bloom
Can you feel it? I ask.
You can hear it, each responds softly.



Natalee Cruz was born in southern California and earned her college degree at Lewis & Clark College. She majored in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. While at Lewis & Clark she was awarded the Lewis & Clark Fiction Award for one of her pieces of short fiction. She now lives in Brooklyn, NY and works for Electric Literature.