The Other Sestina

Gloria bats her almond-shaped eyes

Channeling Kim Carnes’ song

That features Bette Davis, but her hip

Unmistakably undulates and shakes

On the downbeat, like the flag

She wishes to hide.  It’s her stamp.



And Gloria’s feet stamp

Like Spanish dancers, while she eyes

Carnes’s stiffened posture.  She’ll flag

Her arms out of rhythm to a song

Thinking that’s how an Americana shakes,

Rattles and rolls.  Mistaking square for hip.



Cheerleading Americanas chant hip-

Hip-Hooray and wave batons to stamp

And mark their roots.  They drink milk shakes

And gaze at their jocks with dewy eyes,

Or so Gloria sees in movies.  Her inner song,

Though, raises a different flag.



Gloria pledges allegiance to the flag

And strives to control the sway of her hip

And strives to control the sing-song

In her speech that’s as much a part of her as the stamp

Of coconuts, mangoes, and coquis with eyes

The color of coffee beans when the tree shakes.



We are a slice of American pie.  Heaven shakes

To the tune of the Yankee Doodle flag

That Norma Jean drapes in her disguise.

That electrifies Hendrix and swivels Elvis’s hip

That grooves to Tito Puente’s bang and stamp

While Celia belts our song.



Release your wavy tresses and embrace our song

Let it fill your spirit, releasing in shakes

For we are an African, Indigenous and European stamp

Embodied in curves and waves under one flag.

We cannot deprive or deny the tumbao of our hip

When we carry coffee beans the color of our eyes.



Let’s not revise our inner song.

It’s hip, Gloria.  Therefore with maraca shakes

Embrace the flag; our Boricua stamp.