Found poem finds home
Richard Wright's Haiku

"Celia" Remix

Celia Cruz mural

Laugh and Cry

A found poem of bits of dialogue from the telenovela “Celia,” translated from the Spanish by Susan Thomsen


I don’t want to talk about that with you.

Is that clear, my heart?


This can’t be happening to me.       

It’s okay. Calm down.


Good, my life. It’s your turn.

You have to forgive me. It was all in my head.


Tell me, tell me.

Yes, my love.


Give me a hug.


Azúcar, azúcar,

What do you feel for me?


Listen, listen, get up.

My heart feels everything for you.


Tomorrow is another day.

I promise you.


One day I would like to see the rest of this show of 80 episodes, but for the longest time, I could not re-find it. (Update. It's now streaming on Peacock TV. Yay!) When I stopped watching, the Cuban-born future Queen of Salsa had neither won the big singing contest nor left the island for Mexico (and later the United States.) There is so much more to come. You can tell that there's a love story at the center, right?

For the poem, I translated some dramatic moments, and then remixed them. The title comes from "Rie y llora," a hit from 2003. "Azúcar!" was a trademark Celia Cruz saying. (See the Smithsonian's Marvette Perez explain it here.)

The Poetry Friday roundup for September 24 is at author Laura Purdie Salas's blog.

Photo by ST of artist Eliezer Leicea's mural honoring Celia Cruz. It's on the wall of the restaurant Amor Cubano, Third Avenue and 111th Street, NYC.

Below is a favorite video of the real Celia Cruz at a soundcheck in the 70s. That voice!



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She reads to second graders, photographs NYC street art, AND she watches telenovelas (that she can translate from the Spanish)?!?! What else do we not know about Susan Thomsen?!?!

Ha, Mary Lee! I can translate only the easy stuff. I am SO excited that next week I will be back in the classroom (masked and vaccinated, of course) after 18 months. I may even have to take a book about Celia Cruz; there are several picture-book biographies.

I really do like the "Celia" series; the actors are really appealing, especially young Celia. And of course the music is great!

I love the art you always find all over the place! This is stunning - and I've been slowly strengthening my Spanish skills over the last eighteen months - why not, right? - and telenovelas really do help with that!

¡Hola, Tanita! Isn't that mural lovely? I have passed by the Amor Cubano café a bunch of times, and one day I am going to stop in and have a proper Cuban lunch. A Spanish movie recommendation: Truman, with the Argentine actor Ricardo Darín. So good! I believe it's available on Amazon Prime.

P.S., I loved your tanka (tankas? tankae?) on your blog! Very nice.

Susan, I don't know of Celia Cruz, but I feel I've met a bit of her here--thank you!

De nada—you are welcome! If you've ever heard the Cuban classic "Guantanamera," it is just may be Celia Cruz's version.

All new to me, too, but I do like that you managed a love story in the re-mix & I love the mural, too. Denver is a city filled with murals, a new street of them just this year!

Linda, that is so cool about Denver; I did not realize that it was full of murals. Next time we're out there, we'll have to check them out. Thank you for reading!

This is so great, a peek into a world I've never experienced!

I like this remix idea very much, and although I know a little about Celia, I'm very interested to find out more now! "You have to forgive me. It was all in my head" mysterious! Do you have a favorite track?

This is so fun...Spanish telenovas? Wow Impressive.

I recall learning about Celia Cruz while living in New York Susan. Your poem has a feel to it that matches my vision of the salsa music and the lady herself. Greta mural.

This poem is wonderful! It's at once a dialogue with the self, and between two people. Thanks for sharing this with us (and enjoy being back in the classroom!).

hey, y'all. Thank you so much for reading!

Heidi asked about Celia Cruz songs, and my favorite is probably "La vida es un carnval," but I think nothing beats the joy that she exudes in this video take of "Guantanamera" from a sound check in Zaire in the 70s. (This is the real Celia Cruz, not the series.) The seemingly effortless strength of her voice just blows me away. I added it to the bottom of the post.

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