Tengo un headache.

Maybe it’s the combinación de lenguas en my head, on the
billboards (espectaculares,
dice mi abi), y en las conversations of people pasando por
Cesar Chavez Street.

The Survey, taunting, tramando, teasing, tomando, tearing,

“What is your native tongue?”
“What was your first language?”
“What language is spoken at home?”
Confundemiconfusamenteconfundida tanto when they ask.
It’s like hot cakes. No pancakes, not panqueques,

Hot cakes. With an H (ache), mayúscula. From the garganta.
I speak and pienso como la
Spanish phrase “Hot cakes.”

What is un hot cake? Why decimos hot cakes? O
esleeping. Sleeping bag en espanol.

jussssst like a sssserpiente, esssslithering esssslithering
into my essssleeping.

Sleeping and dreaming suenos bilingües
blending and blasting palabras blandas into a new idioma.

Durmiendo comprendo that Nintendo means nientiendo
.Me entiendes? .Me mientes?
Mymentemeantmintbutsaidmeent and then that minute
meant home,

on that
we were making Pad Thai.

“Anything else?” the cashier at El Burrito Mercado me dice in English por
la sixteenth
time and I grito “Soy Mexicano! Soy Mexicano! Soy Mexicano!” by

“No muchas gracias, senor, that’s all.”

Wake up. Vamos a correr at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center.
Good manana, buenos days, says the senorita en el counter.
Correr . . .


And if I spoke like in Spanish?
I call myself Roberto. I have twenty years. I am of the States United Mexican.
Y si hablo como en inglés?


Mi nombre es Robert. Soy veinteanos. Yo soy de los Unidos Estados de

A silverlengua.
A platatongue.
A quimera.

They say the most beautiful phrase in the English language is
cellar door.

But knowing what it means makes it ugly.

I have a dolor de cabeza. But this elote from La Guadalupana me lo quita.

Roberto Sande Carmona describes himself as 50 percent chilaquiles verdes and 50 percent Jucy Lucy, having spent his first ten years of life in Toluca, Mexico, where his mom’s family is from, and having lived since then in Saint Paul, where his dad’s family resides.

Posted in: Places, Poetry
Tagged: 2019