By Virgil Suárez b. 1962 Virgil Suarez
In Los Angeles I grew up watching The Three Stooges,
The Little Rascals, Speed Racer, and the Godzilla movies,

those my mother called “Los monstruos,” and though I didn’t
yet speak English, I understood why such a creature would,

upon being woken up from its centuries-long slumber, rise
and destroy Tokyo’s buildings, cars, people—I understood

by the age of twelve what it meant to be unwanted, exiled,
how you move from one country to another where nobody

wants you, nobody knows you, and I sat in front of the TV,
transfixed by the snow-fizz on our old black and white,

and when Godzilla bellows his eardrum-crushing growl,
I screamed back, this victory-holler from one so rejected

and cursed to another. When the monster whipped its tail
and destroyed, I threw a pillow across my room; each time

my mother stormed into the room and asked me what,
what I thought I was doing throwing things at the walls.

“¡Ese monstruo, esa isla!” she’d say. That monster, that island,
and I knew she wasn’t talking about the movie. She meant

her country, mine, that island in the Caribbean we left behind,
itself a reptile-looking mass on each map, on my globe,

a crocodile-like creature rising again, eating us so completely.

                                                              —for Jarret Keene

Virgil Suarez, “Isla” from Guide to the Blue Tongue. Copyright © 2007 by Virgil Suarez. Used with permission of the poet and the University of Illinois Press.

Source: Guide to the Blue Tongue (University of Illinois Press, 2007)

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Poet Virgil Suárez b. 1962

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Youth, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

 Virgil  Suárez


Poet Virgil Suárez left Cuba with his family when he was just 12. Eventually settling in the United States, he earned a BA from California State University, Long Beach, and an MFA from Louisiana State University and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Florida State University in Tallahassee. In both his poetry and his prose, Suárez seeks to capture the experience of migration. His poems trace the emotional . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Youth, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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