Remember the real me

by Queen María

She wants to be remembered just as she really was,
quite simple, but so complicated for many to grasp,
just as Mathematics are for many.
Above average in body, soul, and mind
Intense emotions, and
more controversial than most.

Not scared of speaking her truth.
A proud Afro Caribbean Queen,
Not willing to compromise her values ever.
A thick accent she refused to lose,
for it meant losing part of who she was

Some found her sexy,
others simply detested the amount of space she took in the world.
Someone who dressed well, with a great eye for color, and
loved to learn and to experience new things
Somehow flexible in her analysis, logical but too often set in her ways
A kick-ass woman who stood her ground,
refusing to settle, while quietly crying at home wishing for a connection

A brave resilient exterior, with a sweeter than chocolate soul, easily hurt
A fighter in nature, for she is a warrior in disguise
Detesting injustices and abuses
Questioning her own strength too often
A kid at heart in an amazon body.

She does not want to be remembered for what she did,
but instead by the hearts she touched
with that gentleness only a giant body and an even bigger mind can give.
She, one of her dad’s daughter, defying stereotypes everywhere she went
Someone who bowed to no one, not even herself.

Do not remember her struggles with an Eating Disorder that almost took her life
Not her fight with depression either
Do not remember her matches with her own body
when it was about to give up on her.

Remember how she kept fighting, day after day,
even if that meant doing nothing sometimes
Just remember she was a wonderful human, just like you, just like any of us.
She was larger than life and loved to bring happiness to others
She is not hiding anymore from anyone not even from herself
Don’t you dare to hide who she really was when she is gone



The sun shines bright most of the year, while enjoying kissing your skin every chance it gets
Seeing the snow is a dream most will never realize
Being freezing cold means temperatures of 15 degrees
Beaches go forever with transparent aqua water making love to you as if it was the last day
White delicate warm sand burns your feet touching every curve in your body

Music plays loudly and proudly everywhere one goes.
Kids learn to dance even before they can walk.
Women walk sensually, while wearing bright tight clothes accentuating each curve.
Music is almost God.
Dancing is a given.
Most are proud, educated, poor, but happy

Having many friends matters more than having money.
Strangers talk to each other easily.
A friend is a brother or a sister
Family’s friends are uncles or aunts.
Neighbours are part of the family.

Most live in the now and mañana ya veremos que pasa [ We will see tomorrow what happens].
One works just enough, to enjoy life and party later.
Joy is not a luxury, but a necessity.
People enjoy life the fullest, feeling proud of having eaten a lot.
There is not much to be happy about, but most smile from the heart
One jokes often to forget the poverty one lives surrounded by.
Everyone is welcomed and greeted with a smile, a kiss on the cheek, or a warm hug.

People are emotional, speak loudly, with their hands claiming to be the best lovers in the world
Men sit on corners playing dominoes and piropeando [Complimenting] every female that passes by.
Most do not plan to visit or call ahead,
Just showing up is widely accepted.
Time is not taken seriously
Five minutes can mean an hour or more.
One brings anyone along to a party without needing to ask for permission.

A white man and a black man call each other brothers, until the black man’s son fells in love with the white man’s daughter.
Racism still exists everywhere, but most will negate it.
Everyone has a bit of Congo or Carabalí [Two main African tribes from where slaves were brought to Cuba], even if they do not acknowledge it.
Many follow both the Catholic and the Yoruba religions, just because it is better to have more protection.
Democracy has been a luxury for generations.
Foreigners are treated like royalty and welcomed with open arms.

My physical body may be far away from this magical island, but my heart is always there,
in Cuba, with my happy beautiful people,
the bright sun and the sensual music that warms my heart and erases all my pain.
I am a proud Cuban Queen and I have never ever wanted to be from anywhere else.


To the many who never made it

Leaving at any cost that island where he grew up became his obsession.
So many before him has made it.
They all came back, with so much to show for, after years abroad
In the cold North.

He wanted to make his momma happy.
She deserved to live well and not worry about where their next meal was coming from.
He was determined to make it.
Having his mothers blessing was vital.

Yemayá, the Afro Cuban Yoruba goddess of the ocean, watching over him as she has done since his birth
Him, young, strong, black and valiente as no one else.
Embarked in this dangerous journey across el estrecho de la Florida
Determined to make it, with his three other friends, all together as one
Different shades of black, all descendants of former slaves looking for their freedom in another land.

All of them grew up in the forgotten parts of the Havana city,
The ones who do not appear in any tourist books.
Mostly inhabited by the ones like him,
with too much melanin in their body to be considered or listened to.

He had no future in this island.
He wanted a different life for his family.
He was the chosen one, his Madrina said often.
“Your future is not here mijo, but in far away lands. You do not belong in this filfth.
You will bring prosperidad to your own.”

They made a little rustic raft, too scary, and weak to even look at.
What were they thinking?
How were they going to make it, 90 miles in that excuse of a raft?
He did not know how, but his Santos were making sure he will make it.
Orula, Changó, Oyá, Oshún, and Yemayá never lie.

They lost track of time,
________________their food finished, their fresh water was almost gone.
By their calculations,
________________they should have been in América already
Their so called boat,
________________took on too much water
They had no other choice.
________________Swimming was the only way out, while hoping they will make it.

Their spirits were high
They shared equally the small amount of water they have left.
Everything now depended on their strength and luck.
They saw a bright light far away,
While battling the rough sea which was trying to end their dream

They, the chosen ones,
determined to make it to dry land at any cost.
saw him flying high as if taken by a divine line.
the dolphins around them, guiding their future.
never seen them up so close.
hold on tight.

The dolphins did the rest
leading them to safety and freedom.

After all, they are some of the balseros,
The lucky ones who started a new life in a foreign land,
after being willing to lose everything they had
So many others did not were so lucky
They never made it
Mothers, fathers, sisters, wifes, cousing, madrinas, padrinos, all praying for them
So many young lives lost at sea forever.