His First White Girl
The first night we hooked up, he told me he’d never been with a Jewish girl before.
He looked at me like he wanted me to tell him I’d never been with a Puerto Rican before.
But it was little too late in life for all that.
My very first kiss was with Anthony Santiago in the PS 166 playground.
He Said, I mean I’ve been with a white woman before but not a Jewish one.
I think he said White woman cause he thought white girl would be
offensive to me.
Me being a “conscious poet” and shit…..
Unfortunately for him It was the other way around.
White woman always sounded strange to me.
like Barbara Bush or women who clench their purses tight when black men enter elevators.
I’d rather be called girl.
Actually I’d rather be called nothing.
He wandered around my apt. stopping at family photographs and the Hamsas,
The Hands of G-d that align my walls.
“Can I touch it?” he asked, a finger above one like a hot stove.
“No no,” I told him, “Only Jews can touch that!”
He jumped back.
I laughed. I’m Just fuckin’ with you fool , of course you can touch it.
It’s a Hamsa. It’s to ward off the evil eye.
I wear it around my neck every day.
When he came to my grandmothers face in a frame he stopped.
When she came here from Syria through Ellis island.
He told me “your family looks dark. Like Arabs.”
And I told him, “yes because they are.”
“Arab Jews how could that be?”
And so as we sat on my hardwood floor I explained the Inquisition, and the Jews Expulsion from Spain,
and how my ancestors fled to Syria.
I explained that my grandmother spoke Arabic and that
When my grandfather came here he sold linens on the lower east side.
I told him of how sometimes the lighter Jews from Eastern Europe looked down on the darker Jews and it was older immigrant fighting newer immigrant,
Like the way things still sometimes go down today.
I told him how my grandfather contracted this awful condition called
Hoof and mouth disease from the imported linens,
And was saved by a miraculous invention that year of a new drug called Penicillin.
I told him of how my grandfather had made a contract with G-d that if he survived he would devote his life to Hashem.
And he did.
And so all of a sudden my mother become orthodox.
And that it really sucked because my grandfather got transferred to Oklahoma City
and there were no Jews there.
So the kids teased my mom, because she had to bring an all kosher lunch to school and couldn’t go play with her friends from Sundown on Fri to sundown on Saturday to observe the Sabbath.
And because of this,
My mother became a fervid reader and a writer,
Because that was all she could do for those 24 hours every week,
While the men prayed at temple.
And she passed this passion on to me,
Fell in love with words.
He looked at me and seemed surprised by my story
What? I snapped. Did you think Jews landed on Plymouth Rock, like the Pilgrims??
I think I sounded defensive.
I sometimes get this way.
Sometimes I’m right,
sometimes I’m wrong.
It’s a strange thing,
Cause many people don’t assume I’m Jewish,
So sometimes they say crazy shit around me.
So I kinda blurt it out,
or wear a star of David,
or call myself The Hebrew Mamita,
So It’s just out there.
And so someone I’m enjoying talking to, won’t disappoint me.
But sometimes I’m wrong.
and I caught myself being defensive with him.
And I liked him.
He was sitting on my hardwood floor.
“No”. he answered. I didn’t think that. I just never thought about it.
And he leaned in and kissed me.
“How was it?” I asked, “kissing your first Jewish Girl.”
Nice he laughed, you taste of travel and desert and sand and history.
“How was it?” he asked. “Kissing another Puerto Rican guy.”
Nice I laughed. You taste of travel, and water, el Junque and history.
You taste open.
I like that taste in my mouth.