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Plastic Panties. Vol. 1, 2012 Bogotá, Colombia. Primera Edición

Los textos a continuación son obra y propiedad de Juliana Delgado Lopera. Las imágenes a continuación son obra y propiedad de Laura Cerón Melo. Prohibida su reproducción sin autorización


(extracto de un cuento)

“Milagros, la verdad ó te atreves?” “Truth” “Did you make-out with the panadero on Monday?” We all giggle. Rumor has it that half of the seventh grade has been fingered by the baker during recess behind the basketball court. Rumor also has it that Milagros was seen running out of the bakery, fixing her skirt after the bell rang on Monday. The Coca-Cola bottle points at Milagros’ black shoes. You take a drag from your cigarette. You feel the smoke inflating your lugs, you can almost picture your lungs like two black balloons united below your heart, underneath the blue uniform and the little Virgencita hanging on your chest. The four of you smoke Kool Lights in a circle on the floor. The room is hazy and you wonder about María’s mother, how could she possibly never notice we are in here drinking her aguardiente? Milagros hugs both of her knees, her bangs have highlights and you remember the day she first arrived at school with the yellow streaks on her long hair and how you thought she looked like one of those mulas you see in the Noticiero caught sneaking cocaine into Miami and, that day, you thought she only wanted attention because her father had died and everyone gave Milagros hugs and kisses and fake tears and colorful letters with hearts and starts in them and you remember wishing, just for one day, that you had a family tragedy, you wish a call from the principal informing you your father had died of a heart attack we are so sorry, so for a day you could have as much attention and fake tears and letters with hearts as Milagros. “Well, Milagros” you blow smoke out, “responde, we don’t have the entire afternoon. I have to be home by 8pm.” Milagros half-closes her eyes, flips her hair awkwardly “I already told everyone on Tuesday that it is all a big chisme started by Martica because Martica is the real slut here and she doesn’t want anyone to know she likes the baker. She told me, she is embarrassed about it.” You think that sometimes Milagros could do a little better with her lying. Sometimes, like now, Milagros bores you, her voice a constant whine and all those layers of clothing and her arms crossed on her

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chest and those enormous titties squished like arepas. When she talks Milagros tightens her arms thinking, you wonder, that this would make her breasts invisible. Leticia pours everyone another shot in the minuscule, almost toy-like, plastic cups of the aguardiente. The first shot is always the hardest to get down, after that is like water. You hear the same thing every Thursday night as the four of you get together after school to drink at María’s when her mom is away playing cards with her friends, you all meet and play this stupid game with no boys and a bottle of Coca-Cola the only phallic object. No one new, nothing exciting, everyone indulging in fake grandiosity. You know Leticia, María, Milagros and you all lie to each other about Carlos and Juan digging their tongues deep in your throat or Pablo writing love letters, or that boy Martín who supposedly all of you dated and fought over, where is Martín now? But it all feels good and after two shots the aguardiente feels wonderful and all those boys feel so real you could even feel the acne on their faces if you closed your eyes tight. Bogotá is like a cavernous freezer right now. Through the window you see grey cotton balls hanging low against a pale halo and, Josefina, you have to take a buseta to your house and you imagine yourself on an aisle seat with a damp uniform sharing the space with some bald dude who will try to rob you with a pocket knife and you will call him an imbécil and spit on his face and walk to the back of the bus and yell at the bus driver acá me bajo! and you will come home with your socks brown and wet and with that sticky, uncomfortable feeling while your mother listens to the Beeges holding a glass of whiskey. It pours outside while María spins the bottle again. The Coca-Cola bottle points at your white socks. Your turn Josefina. “La verdad ó te atreves Josefina. And you already exhausted your two truths so you have to take a dare”. “Entonces, I dare. But I’m not going out and showing my breasts to anyone in this weather.” Milagros laughs and chokes on the cigarette smoke. We all think she is teasing but then she coughs and coughs and turns bright red and starts spitting on the carpet and her head hangs


like she was just decapitated. She sounds like a tired dog or a dying dog and we all point at her and ha, ha, ha and we ask her to please Milagritos, don’t die today, please Milagritos, don’t fuck up the carpet, please Milagritos, clean your babas, please Milagritos, please. ha. ha. ha. Milagros is red, her eyes fountains. You think she looks like an ugly mannequin. She gasps for air but María gives her some water then turns to you: “I know what you’re going to do! Josefina. You have to kiss Milagros. But don’t just give her a pico, you need to kiss her like this.” We all turn to look at María who starts sucking and licking her right hand, violently thrusting her tongue against her palm like she is at an eating contest while Leticia laughs ha, ha, ha and Milagros still coughing moves her head, and her index finger, in disapproval. Your heart gains some speed, it bumps like house music in your rib-cage against the two-black balloons. You picture Milagros’ red face smeared with spit trying to pull you in and kiss you. You imagine every girl from Santa Francisca Romana School inside María’s room watching in excitement and disgust, the ones in the inner circle like cannibals with their faces dimly lit as Milagros licks your lips, then your face and while you try with your tiny tongue to follow her pace you cant, rather you feel inmensely sad and alone. You also try to lick her face but you fail and everyone points at you and calls you a lesbiana and nobody sits next to you during Spanish class and the nuns find out and the nuns slap you across the face and obligate you to pray one thousand hail marys and clean their kitchen and you are doomed, doomed because you kiss Milagros. “Qué? asco! I’m not kissing a girl. I’m not kissing Milagros. That’s against the rules. I rather kiss the dog”. You immediately feel bad after saying this. You lower your eyes to the brown carpet, light another Kool Light. You didn’t mean to say the dog but why Milagros? and why don’t we ever have boys over? We don’t have any boy friends. Milagros stops coughing, her right hand shinning with saliva, she fixes her hair and tells you you are a puta ingreída and she would never want to kiss you even if you were a boy. You hold the

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cigarette with your lips, squinting at her because the smoke gets into your eyes, the aguardiente has warmed your body. You tell her you are sorry and would she please forgive you and.... Milagritos... would you want to.... kiss me now? María and Leticia are rocking themselves going ha ha ha wild but Milagros doesn’t say anything. There are two empty bottles of aguardiente and Milagros picks on the label of one of them. She is really considering kissing you. You stare at her unibrow, stare at the shadow on her upper lip, you are hypnotized by her thick lips like two chorizos embracing that Kool Light, maybe you could kiss Milagros if she were not a girl, maybe you have enough aguardiente to bite off her chorizos and chew them. Maybe. “Okay I will kiss Milagros but not in front of you two. I cant do it infront of both of you.” They both stop laughing and Milagros nods in agreement. Maybe she is excited to kiss you, maybe she has enough aguardiente but your lips are thin and pale and there is nothing to chew on. “Ay no Josefina! cual es la gracia, if we don’t see you kissing then how do we know it happened?” María talks to you with her eyes closed and she licks her lips after every sentence. “If you don’t trust me then I’m not doing it. Give me another dare.” She sighs heavily, looks at Leticia, looks at Milagros. Milagros agrees that she would only kiss you if the other two are not watching, it is not even my dare! she says and she is right. “Bueno bueno. Go into the bathroom.” You wonder who appointed María the owner of the fucking game, the leader of the group for her to be delegating like that. Leticia tries to light another cigarette but she is too clumsy or too drunk and just laughs and nods at whatever María says. How do you do this? you wonder, how do you stand up and walk to the bathroom and kiss Milagritos? do you hold her hand and help her get up? Is she going to think you are a lesbian if you do that? do you wrap your arms around her uniform or do you hold her face probably feeling her pimples?


you anticipate Milagros’ tongue on your lips and you lick them. Is closing your eyes too much? would she think you are into her? do you turn the light off? “One last thing” you say as you get up. “This has to stay in here. None of you can tell anyone. You know what happens if the nuns find out.” You take one last drag, then put one the cigarette on the ashtray. “Ay Josefina, why would we say anything? Like always, everything stays in this room. I mean, Leticia is not even going to remember. Now go before Milagros decides she doesn’t want your precious kisses.” María makes kissing noises and chuckles after saying this and you know how much she enjoys having you kiss Milagritos. You could have probably kiss María. If María and you had to make out it would be a violent competition. María will push you against the bathroom wall and you will feel her thick blonde hair poking at your eyes and she will hold your wrists tight against your legs with one hand and grab your jaw with the other and then softly bite you. You saw her do this with a boy at Leticia’s birthday party and you envied her determination. For her, you thought, even kissing is about winning.

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“Alright Honey, tie the masking tape around their wrists. Así no, Manuel! You have to hold the wrist tight to the chair then you wrap the tape around, otherwise it don’t work papi. A ver, let me see you do it.” Manuel is of no use when it comes to handiwork. His thick fingers stick out of his miniature hand like greasy chorizo, sweaty and slippery, and he gets nervous, insecure. I asked him to help me because well, he is my boyfriend and, well, we need to spend time together doing things that don’t require penetration—although I’m beginning to question the plausibility of using my boyfriend for anything other than spanking his impeccable round ass. “That’s enough cariño, you don’t wanna cut off their circulation! Did you bring your boom box Manuel? Perfecto, because my stereo is broken and I need music when I’m in drag. Light me a cigarette Hun, would you?” Still wrapping the last piece of black tape around Moms’ wrists, squatting, while eyeing his clumsy chorizo hands in an apparent amazement, Manuel spoke to me in chopped English like he was a tweaker from Hialeah: “Mario don’t you think we are exagerando a little? I mean you are. I mean we are. I mean we could just have painted a big rainbow in their room as we planned. Why don’t we do that? I mean you should do it. I mean, why do we have to tie them? Don’t you think it’s too much? Of course you don’t. But don’t you think they are gonna whop your ass again, and probably mine, once they are not tied? ” Manuel is a 17-year-old ballet dancer who grew up in the depths of La Sagüesera with his robust, first generation Cuban matriarch who loves and adores his little mariconcito of a son. Doña Celia is the kind of madre who prayed to La Santísima Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, walked endless pilgrimages and lit too many unscented candles so she may get a maricón with good taste who would clean and help her around the house instead of another Cuban macho man que no sirven para nada1 and lay all day on the couch like a cerdo waiting to be served. And she did. She got Manuel. Doña Celia’s pampering of my boy is the reason Manuel was such a fragile princesa tying up my 1

Good for nothing


parents and helping me out. “Oh sweetie, the only ass that is gonna get whopped is yours for being such a bad boy! Somebody has to teach Moms and Paps to have some fun! Now please cariño, get me a cigarette”. While Manuel fetched me a Lucky Strike I sat on the carpeted floor in front of Moms and Paps. They were comfortably seated on two wooden chairs I brought up to my room from the dining room (from the set with the flowered-plastic upholstery I advised my mother not to buy at Rooms To Go two years ago, to which she pay no attention, and now our dining room looks like somebody puked trailer park Florida all over the place. It’s not enough to be a tacky Cuban, no señor, Moms had to go all the way picuo trash). To my right, Moms’ eyes were popping out of their sockets. She had glossy fish eyes revolting in her face as if they were teenagers hooked on black metal. She wore a gold rosary around her neck that vibrated on her chest as her screams pulsated on the black tape covering her mouth. The tiny Jesús at the tip of the rosary was bungee jumping on her breasts and it seemed he was going to die, again, on the cross while practicing extreme sports on my mother’s tetas. I meticulously cut the two pieces of black tape and carefully placed them on her mouth while asking Moms if her lips were comfortable or if she needed me to adjust the tape so she may feel better; but Moms is rude and spat at me. I remember two years ago when I was thirteen and spat at her. I remember she was barking at me from the kitchen, Mario baja a comer, come down to eat now, coño, now! Qué tu hace? What’s all you are going in that room? I remember her opening my door to find me in laced gothic couture with 2-inch lashes and 10-inch leather boots I’d bought at the Goodwill on 40th street. I remember how her brown, Cuban face turned into a ghostly mime when she glimpsed at my shaved eyebrows while Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien from Piaf played in the background as I extended my arms in front of the mirror; wanting to fly like a vat out of that house. She pulled my gorgeous curls and slammed them on the floor as she

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cried and cried and ripped and ripped, her heavy body a stone gargoyle madly spilling her fists on me and ruining my entire attire: Hijo de puta! In this house there is NO maricón, oiste? Ay díos mio are you listening, Mario? Que te quede bien claro: here there are only men, nada de pájaros. I rather see you dead than a faggot. That’s when I spat at her. It took me two hours that day to do my makeup. Two hours she destroyed in ten seconds. She did not apologize for permanently damaging my favorite dress or breaking my lashes or, god forbid! She did not apologize for the unflattering black eyes I wore the next week to school (which, I have to note, did not even camouflage under the layers and layers of foundation I applied). Oh dear, I had to tend to my eyes with bags of chamomile tea every day for the next two weeks. But, worse of it all, she did not apologize for damaging the entire energy of my room with her flat, unaesthetic presence beating my delicate face and calling me, ME, right under Ms. Piaf ’s voice, a faggot. While seated in front of her, her big thick curls hanged on her bowdown face as she moved her head to the sides in disapproval. Moms resembled a chicken right after its head has been butchered and the body continues to dance in an epileptic seizure. “Ma, do you want me to change your tape? Are your lips okay?” Her head came to a stop but remained bowed. She remained silent. “Okay, just checking.” Manuel handed me the lit cigarette as I was about to check in on Paps. I took a long drag. Paps’ nose was bleeding. I remember a year ago when my nose bled. It had to be a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday because Paps’ gets home from work at 7pm sharp on those days. Back then my hair curled down to my shoulders. Back then my hair will put those Pantene commercials to shame. That Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday I’d spent the entire afternoon teasing out my curls, applying hair spray and bobby pins to resemble a frizzed just-before-prison Gloria Trevi. I knew my father would come home by seven and I was trying to keep up with time, but I got caught in my 80’s Latin pop overdose frenzy in front of the living room mirror. I wore Wonderwoman underwear and big hair. Nothing else.


I imitated Gloria by throwing my head from side to side, drawing semi-circles with my arms, holding Moms’ statue of the Virgen, with extended palms and bloody eyeballs, as my microphone. I looked like Jesús on the cross with my ribs sticking out and my arms perpendicular to my body. The apartment smelled of hairspray and rotting frijoles. Then I heard the cling cling cling of someone’s keys murmuring at the door and the key penetrating the lock. I heard it unlock. I heard the knob rotating to the right and heard the hoarse cough of my father. I stood paralyzed watching it all. My taxidermic body anchored to our stained carpet like I had iron muscle mass. “Qué está pasando aquí Mario? What the fuck is happening here?” Paps resembled a wrestler right before he throws himself onto the losing enemy. His face grew a labyrinth of veins pulling at the skin, his eyes enormous and sad, his unibrow reminded me of a wired fence. “Nothing.” I said walking towards the bathroom “I was just about to shower.” I felt my ribcage slightly tighten and my lungs gasp for air. Paps looked so ugly and wrong. He was one of those muscular monstrous toys with spades and war gear I’d get for Christmas every single year to then decapitate and hide under my bed. And just like those horrendous masculine plastic toys he was angry, he wanted to fight me like a man. “Come here maricón de mierda! come here, te digo” he moved his wormy index finger at me. I saw my body in the mirror before turning to Paps, I looked like a brown Aphrodite with an afro. “I want you to take a seat inside the kitchen and wait for me there” his saliva sprinkled my nose. “What for?” I sat on the stool in my Wonderwoman panties inside our grey kitchen staring at a Cuban flag stickered on the fridge. It was 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside and my legs were shivering. My metallic purple toenails played with the wooden bar near the floor holding the stool together. My hands were wet. Paps entered the kitchen carrying a black razor. He was so ugly. He

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looked like a guest from a Cuban segment of the Jerry Springer Show. “No te muevas. Don’t you dare move Mario.” Two roaches greeted me from behind the sink before Paps shaved my head. Gross. My beautiful, silky curls fell to the ground like debris on a construction site, or like rose petals sprinkled by a little girl with a red dress down the aisle of a wedding ceremony. The sound of that buzzing razor bought at Walmart butchering my precious hair! My precious hair like it was some weave you’d get at the dollar store! I stared at the Grocery List next to the Cuban Flag on the fridge. Paps stumbled his lazy, macho ass away. My face felt like a damp vagina. Tears gave me a bloody nose. “Ay carajo papá you’re bleeding! Let me get you a Kleenex. Honey! Could you get me some Kleenex from the bathroom? My dad is bleeding. Oh dear, look at your shirt. Isn’t that the Calvin Klein shirt Moms got you for Christmas? Look Ma, Paps already ruined the shirt you got him for Christmas. Pa, you know how much Ma hates it when we spill liquids on our clothes! Let me clean you up.” I got some Shout and sprayed it on Paps shirt. I was trying to clean him up but he just kept on moving and throwing himself at me to the point that he fell with the chair on the floor. Both Manuel and I had to lift him—and the chair—up. It was almost impossible--between Manuel and I there are only 180 pounds of body fat-- and it took us a good fifteen minutes to pull them both from the floor. “I’m gonna have to leave you all dirty Pa, porque tú no te ayudas2.” I told him panting. I turned to my tocador3 after watching Paps’ eyes open and close in anger. The wrinklesaround his eyes grew thicker; they looked like sewage canals or cracked foundation or spider webs. “Don’t look at me like that, Pa. No me mires así, it is not my fault that your nose vessels are so sensible and that Ma always gives you pastel-colored polo shirts. You do look like shit though.” And he did, but then he didn’t want any of my help. My parents are very stubborn. Theyboth pretended I was going to hear them with that piece of thick black tape on their mouths; they both swore I under2 3

You don’t help yourself Dressing table


stood their incongruent mumbling and desisted on halting their stupidity. So I made no effort in trying to be courteous: they did not want my help. I turned again to face my mirror; I joined Miss Holiday’s voice and initiated the metamorphosis---from maricón4 to mariposa5. “You know, this is not very comfortable for me either. Do you think I enjoy having both of you tied up in a chair staring at my beautiful face while I put make up on? Of course I don’t! I mean, you two look so unattractive right this second, Ozzy Osbourne could well pass for Anna Karina beside you. Manuel, mi amor, come sit close to me and turn up the music; I love listening to Billie Holiday while I get ready.” My parents hated Billie Holiday when I was the one singing Billie Holiday. They also hated my voice as Edith Piaf, Monica Naranjo, Dinah Washington, Gloria Trevi, Lila Downs and Janis Joplin. “Alright, are you both ready? This is how your boy, that is, me, that is, Mario, puts on his mariposa makeup. Ma, you should watch closely because I’ve seen the way you use that eyeliner like you are about to murder your eyes! And you do. Dios mio Ma, your makeup is truly terrifying. Did Pa ever tell you how horrifying you look? He didn’t? Oh, well, cariño, he is just being polite and not completely honest with you. Okay, let’s start with the basics.” I spent forty minutes blending my foundation, creating contour around my face with red blush, doing my eyes with silver glitter and black eye shadow so that it resembled a strobe light when I blinked. I glued white eyelashes with silver tips. I transformed my eyes into red fireballs with contact lenses and my hair into a volcanic eruption of thick black curls with my favorite wig. Both Moms and Paps were silent for most of my makeup session. I watched their wobbly bodies from the mirror like obsolete hand puppets left hanging on the curtain, waiting for the puppeteer to pull their strings and bring them to life. Manuel was sitting on the stool next to me suggesting Mario, maybe we should stop this. Mario, tu mamá is turning pale green and your father looks like a bloody zombie. Baby, this is not fun anymore and you said it was gonna be fun but I’m not having fun. 4 5

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“Manuel, of course they are happy and we are having fun! Neither of them has ever seen me as a Reina, as the true queen that I really am! So stop the non-sense and turn the music up. Everyone here is having a blast” As Billie Holiday’s voice faded in the last verse of All Of Me, as I outlined my lips and filled them with jet-black lipstick; as the little glow-in-the-dark stars shone above in my ceiling, I carefully opened the first drawer of my tocador and pulled out my gun. “Qué haces Mario? Mario stop it, Mario I didn’t know you had a gun. Mario where did you get that? Baby put it down” I stared at the gray gun and pointed at Mario “ Pew! Pew!” Mario threw himself on the ground. Moms and Paps opened their eyes at the same time, like this is a planned choreography. I read the inscriptions of the gun out loud: “Kids Army.” I remembered the day on my twelfth birthday when I opened the gold wrap and instead of a microphone with rhinestones I got a freaking plastic gun and an army of soldiers. I made dresses with the gold wrapping paper for all the soldiers that night. “I always hated all these fucking boy toys. Did I ever tell you Moms that I hate this gun? Okay Manuel, that’s it, we’re leaving” My poor little boyfriend is panting. We make our way out of the room. I take his hand and caress it with my silver fingernails. I kiss it, then I kiss his sweaty mouth. 18

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“I have not seen a doctor in forty years” She flips her bleached-blonde hair and stares down at me, one fakeeyelash peeling from her left eye. “That’s not true” I’m lying on her red-leathered sofa while reading mi mamá’s text message. Someone else died, Daniela (dot) (dot) (dot) “Are you calling me a liar, niña? in my house? I was forced to see a doctor in Arkansas when I first arrived from Cuba so the gringos could stick a finger up my culo and make sure I didn’t have Castro hiding in there. Tu sabe there were a lot of spies coming with the Marielitos. I also got a mammogram five years ago. You know what they did? The nurse made me put my big teta on the plate then said, I’ll be right back Doña, left and brought someone else with her to look at me. And then….are you listening? Qué tu hace on that phone all day?” “Que si, coño! I’m listening. I just have to send this text.” Juana wears her black silk nightgown with no bra and her tetas hang huge like genetically engineered mangoes. How painful that must be. Carrying that weight like a marsupial. I’m texting my mother. People in my family are dropping dead like a 21st century bubonic plague meant to attack our criollo blood. This is witchcraft: Congenital heart failure. Prostate cancer. . Chronic pneumonia. Heart attack at 21. We have an ample variety to choose from. Please Daniela, my mamá writes, please call your tía, send your condolences, this is EX-TRE-ME-LY hard para la familia. I don’t want to. What do I say, mamá? It is your family, P O R-D I O S! It amazes me how I can clearly hear my mom’s voice through a text message, por dios Daniela! each syllable pronounced with an impeccable accusatory Colombian accent that only a Colombian mother can master through decades of training. Juana finishes her cigarette, some of the ashes land on the wooden floor. “You are not listening to me, but that’s okay, I’ll tell the story to myself. So the nurse comes back to the room with another person who fake smiles at me then leaves and brings another person, a male nurse,


a total faggot who stares at my teta. Poquito a poco more people came in until I was circled by all these glossy eyes and my teta squished into that machine. I knew what they are doing. A tranny CANNOT do something so normal as getting her tetas checked if she is not draped in glitter or hollering a papi on the street, right?” I nod. I’m wondering who is next in god’s death list and if it is me and I’ve always been concerned with dying un-poetically. I don’t want to choke on a piece of papa. I don’t want to die in some collective disaster like a plane crash, I don’t want a collective tragedy, I want my own tragedy. And please god I don’t want my ashes sprinkled in South Beach. “Why are you not paying attention to me? Stop harassing your poor girlfriend, leave her alone, stop texting her. If she is cheating, she is cheating. I find it of extremely bad taste that you come to my house and you don’t pay attention to me.” Juana throws pepper flakes and licks her index finger. “O-ye-me stop it, I’m paying attention. Why don’t you sue them? Can’t you get any money for that? Isn’t that a hate crime? You can sue for anything in this country.” “Oh, come on! Cuban Tranny Sues Hospital For Having Faggots Staring At Her Tetas. Whatever. I asked very politely to have the machine removed from my breast, got dressed and left, indignada.” Juana knows I’m a hypochondriac, she hates it when I tell her I’m surely going to be the next one whose third-world ashes pollute the sparkly Miami shore. After being cremated ten to twelve women—with my mamá as the head of the lloronas—will dress in white and give the gay fish at South Beach the remnants of my life. Juana stands holding the pan on her right hand, the silver bracelets clinging as she stirs the string beans around. The left arm on her waist holding a wooden spoon. She points at me, the spoon reeking of garlic. “They don’t know who I am Daniela, they don’t know because, mami, I was born en el campo…” Oh god not EL CAMPO. I know what is coming. I feel her accusatory words building in that tongue full of harina de maiz. I will get

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reprehended for being born and raised in a big city and having no control over it. I will be shamed for not understanding the tenacity AND capacity of country folk. Me, the privileged city girl who was exposed to rats and stray dogs but never got so close to animals as to fuck them. Big deal. I once had a boxer with whom I practiced French kissing. Me and my fourth grade friends, we all took turns making out with him. La práctica hace al maestro. Ten years of Catholic school in Bogotá do that to you. My sister had a hamster who died of a nervous attack after vacuuming her room. I won a bunny, a chick, a green bird, a turtle at a ruffle in a piñata. LOTS of animals in my life. PLENTY. Juana steps closer to the stove, her eyes narrow searching for the horizon but there’s only a red wall with a silver clock that’s broken; the window in the kitchen just a frame of another brick building. Finally her eyes close, her fake-lashes hug, her red acrylic two-inch nails dance on her fingers as she burst into a soliloquy. I disappear. The one-bedroom apartment and all it’s twenty years of second-hand remodeled furniture disappears. The smell of bacon wrapped hot dog from the lady on 19th street, her sweet abusive voice “hoooo-dog, hooo-dog” disappears. The gold Buddha at the entrance on top of the fake chimney, the tiny penis of the mannequin framing the light-switch inside her bathroom that grows a boner every time you turn the light “on”. All of it, gone. The room is for her to destroy and for Cuba to take over. It is solely Juana and her octopi arms and the pan with the string beans and eating dirt under a coconut tree in Camagüey and fucking chickens behind the bushes and cutting the pipi of her childhood cat and the drops of pipi blood leaving a trail behind the kitty and you don’t know anything about el campo and running barefoot en la playa and eating more dirt and people in cities don’t have a strong immune system and riding horses and riding your cousins and fairies and no air conditioner and ironed uniforms and fresh fruit, fresh air, fresh saliva, the discovery of tweezers, fake Barbie dolls. “Whenever you are sick” she continues now with her eyes open. A piece of an eye-lash losing its position in the transition, “you take your yerbita, you let your body sleep and then you are okay. My abuela cured


me of everything like that in Cuba.” “What about strep-throat? cancer? pneumonia? liver damage? stonekidneys? urinary infections? AIDS?” “Daniela if I have to die, I die. Im not gonna go to some doctor so they can come up with something that is wrong with me. I already told you mami, I am an alien okay? I’m going to donate my body to Stanford when I die so they can study me. Cómo tú me resingas la existencia, tortillera. Now, do me a favor” “What?” “I know I cannot tell you anything without you writing it down and putting it everywhere on the Internet and then I have to scream at you and insult you and we have fights and I have to kick you out of my house. Do us a favor, don’t write this down.” z

Laura Cerón Melo ceronmlaura@gmail.com behance.net/lauraceronm

Juliana Delgado Lopera juliana.delgado1888@gmail.com queermelady.tumblr.com

Impreso en Bogotá D.C. Octubre de 2012

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Plastic Panties Vol. 1