René Colato Laínez
This was my third time participating at the Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Workshop in San Antonio, Texas. I was a Chuparosa, this year and my intention was to write in my dorm while the rest of the macondistas were in workshops. But at the last moment, I signed up for the Translingual Poetics Workshop led by Liliana Valenzuela and Levi Romero.
I wrote El castillo de la reina for a homework assignment. The homework was to observe a place in San Antonio and to write a poem using English and Spanish about that particular place. Most of the Macondistas stayed at the Our Lady of the Lake University dorms. I was not sure what to write about and decided to take a walk around the campus. When I saw the beautiful towers of the main building, I got the idea. I became a child and instead of the main building, it saw a castle but not any particular castle. It was el castillo de la reina. If you are familiar with the campus, you will recognized the talking traffic light: Wait Wait Wait…
El castillo de la reina
Today, I stood in front of a castle.
It must be the castle of a queen
Because I saw her white estatua in the entrance.
This must be el castillo de la reina.
This castillo is big.
It has two big cones on the top
Like giant party hats.
It has round circle windows
Where the reina may seat
And observe the busy street.
There are rectangles and square windows
And big crosses.
This reina must be a catolica.
This castillo de la reina is very pipirinais.
The doors of el castillo are big and I saw people
Coming in and coming out.
This reina must have many friends.
I wish I could visit her.
I will say, “Reina, your are la mera mera and
Your castillo is retequebonito.”
Uno, dos y tres
Here I go, to el castillo de la reina.
I need to cross the street to visit el castillo de la reina
But the traffic light is bien malcriada.
It says bad words, que grocerias fuchi.
I push the button to cross the street
And the traffic light spoke to me
This reina is very smart,
Tiene un semáforo que habla.
But it has a big mouth.
When I push the button
It says Güey not only one
But three times.
Güey, güey, güey
I frown at the red light
And say, “I will tell la reina, to change you.
You are not a nice semáforo.”
Yesterday, la reina told
That she did not have any visitors.
And I know why, “This semafaro malcriado,
Is el culpable.”
“Shame on you, “ I say
and I begin to cross the street.
This time the semáforo begins to count
One, two, three.
Don’t give me carrillas now
I am running as fast as I can.
La reina must know this right now.
El castillo de la reina
Has very beautiful gardens.
This reina has many trabajadores.
Every time I walk in the jardines
I see trabajadores cutting the bushes
watering the roses,
And driving carritos full
with boxes and bags
that go everywhere.
This reina esta en todo.
But suddenly a telephone rings
And a trabajador who is cutting
The leaves of a small tree
Answers the phone
And hides behind the tree.
He begins to whisper
And looks from left to right
Like if he looking for moros en la costa.
This is really strange,
Is he telling chismes about la reina?
How can he dare to do that!
In the meantime the manguera looks like a fuente
And is making a big pond of water.
Poor reina, the water bill will be very high next month.
And la reina is trying to conserve energia.
She must know about this too.
Soon the man in rolling with laughter
On the grass,
Is he now making chistes about la reina?
Stop it! I stomp my feet.
Don’t make fun of la reina.
And the man stands up
And put his hand in front of his forehead
Like a soldado.
“Yes, Reina,” the man says.
“I will change that traffic light right now.”
And he walks to the semáforo and it says
Güey four times.
This semáforo no respeta a nadie
Not even los trabajadores de la reina.
I will tell la reina to put a bilingual semaforo
That says espera and stop for the green light
to you visit el castillo de la reina.