January 22, 2013
Richard Blanco reads his brilliant Inaugural Poem
And here is Richard Blanco in the Huffington Post:
I'm six or seven years old, riding back home with my grandfather and my Cuban grandmother from my tía Onelia's house.
Her son Juan Alberto is effeminate, "un afeminado," my grandmother says with disgust. "¿Por qué? He's so handsome. Where did she go wrong with dat niño?" she continues, and then turns to me in the back seat: "Better to having a granddaughter who's a whore than a grandson who is un pato faggot like you. Understand?" she says with scorn in her voice.
I nod my head yes, but I don't understand: I don't know what a faggot means, really; don't even know about sex yet. All I know is she's talking about me, me; and whatever I am, is bad, very bad. Twenty-something years later, I sit in my therapist's office, telling him that same story. With his guidance through the months that follow, I discover the extent of my grandmother's verbal and psychological abuse, which I had swept under my subconscious rug.
Through the years and to this day I continue unraveling how that abuse affected my personality, my relationships, and my writing. I write, not in the light of Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, or Elizabeth Bishop, but in the shadow of my grandmother--a homophobic woman with only a sixth-grade education--who has exerted (and still exerts) the most influence on my development as a writer.
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 04:43 PM | Permalink