Archive for the ‘Poetry Brothel’ Category

Don’t ever let your alter ego set you up on a blind date. Unless he literally comes blindfolded, and it’s just for one fun night.

Lucita Flores, my poetry alter ego, met a stellar guy in October. He was one of her clients at the Poetry Brothel, and he had come to listen to her read sultry poetry softly into his ear. He showed up late, around 3am, and spent the next couple of hours devouring her words. Even though he did not speak English, she read him all her poems in English once the Spanish ones ran out, just to keep him there longer. He did not complain, and his words of encouragement were equal for the English poems, even though quite frankly he could not have understood a single word. He wanted to sit there longer with her too.

Let’s just refer to this guy as “The Client”. And let’s just hope that he does not learn to read English any time soon, as he knows about this blog’s existence!

Lucita fell for him instantly. His curly locks danced as he shook his head. His round brown eyes stared at her lips, in order to catch every word. And, he was tall. She appreciates tall men. But since Lucita is not available for love, she wrote him a poem called “You Are Prohibited,” and then decided to introduce him to me, her alter ego.

The Client seemed fairly interested in the girl behind Lucita’s facade, and after a couple of weeks, Regan came forward and introduced herself over coffee. We spoke of our real lives and real dreams. We spoke in real words. Yet, somehow it still felt like fantasy, perhaps since I met him just a few weeks before moving to Mexico for five months. He was sweet and responsive. He liked literature, and food. When I had my tonsils out, he came to visit me, bringing along a backgammon board to keep me company. And during all those months in Mexico, we wrote to each other with quite a lot of thought and interest. So, I of course developed my expectations and excitement to come back to see him in person.

Now I am back and I have seen him in person. And he tells me he is in love with another girl, that things have changed with him since I left for Mexico.

Why can’t Lucita now step forward and take over for me? Why can’t I just say, “To Hell with it then!” and put on some fish nets and lipstick and hightail it to the nearest bar to flirt with a stranger? I am in all ways Lucita’s opposite. I am the one that wants to love badly – so badly that I put way too much effort into it. So badly that recently my friend Danny introduced me to his friend as, “This is Regan, she loves too much.”

I should know by now that fiction and fantasy are nice, but usually it’s just that. Fantasy. Made up stories from imaginative minds with invented characters and expectations. But I never learn this, as I am a storyteller. It is practically impossible for me to not dream up fictitious relationships, scenarios, erotic fantasies and my future as a (mid)wife and mother, all based on people that come randomly into my life. I have no control over these thoughts!

I should have known from the beginning that this could never work. A potential relationship that began with me meeting a man dressed up as a Mexican hooker in a bar, whispering him lies through painted lips, probably will not lead into anything but fiction and failure. Especially when the relationship was based on a passion for writing and story-telling. Words are powerful. And they leave a lot open for interpretation. And unfortunately, my inner interpreter has a wild imagination and always likes to see the glass as not empty or even half full, but rather full to the point of overflowing. I’m fabulous at convincing myself and everyone around me that the cup is indeed full. It is like telling a story.

Stories. I think I have become an expert at creating romance stories. The thing is, for me they feel like real life. And when the protagonist is feeling heartbroken, my heart hurts.

This is the first and last time I let Lucita set me up. I need a guy to fall for me just the crazy way I am, without all the charades.

Fantasy is very real, but unfortunately reality is not very fantastic.


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As I sit here in the new shiny airport terminal in Barcelona, awaiting my flight to Mexico, I wonder how this all came to be. This was not a planned trip. For starters, I did not have the financial luxury to just take off for five months to a country half way around the world. Secondly, even if I had, Mexico could not have been my chosen destination. South America, perhaps. India, maybe. Cuba, for sure. But Mexico? I had never given it much thought to be honest.

It is true that I was planning on some big change, though I was not sure what that change would be. Beginning in October, I felt an urge to do something drastic. I quit smoking, chopped off all my hair, and had my tonsils removed. But that was not enough!

When my friend in Oaxaca, Mexico, called me out of the blue one day and suggested I apply for a short-term job to cover her position while she goes on maternity leave, it didn’t take long to send in my resume. And I took her phone call as a sign – I had to go to Mexico, with or without the job. I (sadly) quit my teaching job in Barcelona and began to tell people I was leaving, before I even prepared my resume! When there’s a will, there’s a way, right?

Luckily I did get the job. And two weeks later, here I am in the airport waiting for my new Mexican adventure to begin.

I ask myself how and why this is happening? How can such a big change come on so quickly and so easily?

And then it hit me… Lucita Flores is to blame! My Mexican alter-ego is surely responsible for this. As it turns out, I have given Mexico much thought. A whole lot of thought!

It’s no coincidence that an opportunity to go live and work in Mexico has knocked on my door. I owe this specific opportunity to my friend in Oaxaca who offered me the job, but I also think I unwittingly manifested this trip.

Ever since I invented Lucita’s character for the Poetry Brothel, I have been researching Mexican regions, cuisine, slang, and style. And Dia de los Muertos!! For eight months, part of me has worked hard to convince others that I am Mexican, authentically Mexican. No one believes me, of course. My accent is way too Gringo-Catalan to be a true Mexicana, especially with the Castilian lisp. And my red hair and freckles don’t help me much either. But yesterday as I set Lucita’s Facebook status to say “returning to the homeland,” it dawned on me – The Power of Attraction (the Secret, the Universe) is at work once again. I spent so much mental energy on my Mexican character that now the Universe has decided to send me there!

Listen to the uncanny parallels between Lucita and me:

Lucita is from a rural farm in Chiapas. And she is a chef, obsessed with feeding people and making sure they don’t go hungry, as she almost did as a little girl on the farm. And now here I am heading to Oaxaca, the state right next to Chiapas, and will be working with a NGO that promotes the indigenous grain amaranth as a way to improve life in rural communities in Mexico, just like the one Lucita is from! I’m here to help people eat properly!

Perhaps it is a coincidence. If it is – and I quote my friend Miggy who wrote this on our orange kitchen wall all those years ago – then “I recognize and accept meaningful coincidences in my life.”

And if it is not a coincidence, and I did in fact manifest this real Mexican experience, then I better rethink Lucita’s line of work, or else I may in trouble …

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Alter Ego

If you don’t already have an alter ego, than I highly recommend that you invent one. For 28 years I was just myself, which for the most part worked out alright. But now I am also Lucita Flores, a widowed Mexican chef and a poetry whore. And I have to say, it is really fun to be two people.

Say what?

Pior to meeting Madame Eva Leon, I was already pining on penning. My writing workshop teacher and friend suggested I join a poetry group. Poetry? No way, that was my limit. I hadn’t written a poem since high school when we had to write limericks about our friends on St. Patrick’s Day. And I definitely was not going to start writing Ode’s to hearts and get all lovey dovey.

The group was called Prostibulo Poetico (Poetry Brothel) and my friend insisted I attend their first reading. Out of curiosity, and the promise of free shots at the bar, I went. As a “client” at Bar Rouge, I wandered around the dimly lit bar in search of either a good hiding place, or perhaps a private reading. The whole evening seduced me and I wanted more. So I met Madame Eva Leon and her Poetry Whores. And pretty much in the instant they birthed Lucita Flores, my other I, this romantic I, this poetry-writing, heart-spying, love-book-writing I.

Poetry Brothel Reading

We aren’t REALLY prostitutes, mind you, though some of us may dress the part. It is a unique literary experience, where each ‘whore’ offers poetry tete-a-tete (that means face to face, not tit to tit) to their ‘clients’ or ‘johns.’ The catch is, we all have developed fictional characters and it is THEM and not US that write the poems. Lucita (I always refer to her in the third person, as she is not me!) has her own history, stories, network of friends, a facebook page (go ahead, add her as a friend!), style of dressing, character and love life. Completely separate to my own. As the months go on, she develops more and more and now acts quite independently from me.

I never really considered her as an alter ego until my close friends and peers starting asking me “How is Lucita?” and sometimes accidentally calling ME Lucita. At first I was frightened. And slightly offended. But then I realized that in fact having an alter ego can work to your advantage. The brilliant thing about an alter ego is that you can say “I didn’t do it!” – and mean it.

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