Saturday, February 28, 2009


It's late in coming but I went to the Chicago AWP a few weeks back. It was Valentine's weekend, so love and man purses were floating in the air--both dangerously at crotch level.

I was psyched about the event. I've always loved the controlled atmosphere of academia, and say what you want about the AWP, but even as my first event it is clear that it is all about academia. And all in all I had a great time finding out about artists I had never heard of, learning about grant proposals, and being overwhelmed to the point of helplessness at the book fair. Some of the Affrilachian poets were there full force, and I ran into them, and I also ran into Andy, one of my former professors.

One of the events I got to see was about 'passing.' Passing for white, for straight, and most interestingly to me, a mulatto passing as black. I spoke with the speaker of that particular segment. In reflection I realized that besides being situated in a predominantly white/Latino neighborhood during middle school, and a predominately white High school, the major thing that would have hindered me from 'passing' as black is my hair texture, since this man was no darker than me, and even had blue eyes. This of course over simplifies the entire point of the lecture, the question of whether one can pass as something you half-are, and so on and so on. But on that very basic level, that was the first thing I thought about.

It was also my first time in Chicago. What did I do? Regan and I went to the bean, rode the El Train (or as they call it in Spain, el El Train), looked at the world via the Sears Tower (or as they call it now, K-Mart Tower), marveled at Chicago's martyr-like worship of Dunkin Donuts, listened to Lupe Fiasco ('I'm from a city in the Midwest best city in the whole wide world'), WTFed over the skyline, ate at a legendary blue's bar, and ate Chicago-style pizza.

Before I end this blog, let me tell you about Chicago-style pizza. There are two words for it. And they're both 'delicious.' I afterwards looked up Chicago-style pizza on Wikipedia (because after all, I'm going to forget 95% of what I read anyway, so reliability isn't a factor) and learned that the crust is so thick that it has to be cooked and prepared longer. You will often have to wait 45 minutes for your pizza. This was true. But it was worth it.

I like to believe that God, when he created the crust of the Earth, had to spend an extra 45 minutes heating the whole thing twice. Not often, but just in times where I need a pick me up. Chicago-style.