Curtis Perdue: The Tropics
Andre Benz

Andre Benz

The Tropics


I was trying to make sure everybody
knew that I wasn’t everybody
that I didn’t choose to be born
and that Miami grew up in me
where backyards were papaya
and mango and platanos
where neighbors had big pigs
in a spit roasting for hours
listening to music that bursts with horns
and light and the dancing was precise
and delicate and the girls
on my block would hold my hand
and my hips like a doll
there were so many
jokes about a boy not meant to
move like a wave
refracting off a wall
and back and forth and rolling
and the tug of the heels
and the balls of their feet tapping
front to back and off beat and really
making me struggle
though there is a rhythm spinning the pig
skin peeled off the back
chewing the fat so much salt and plastic
chairs clicking the concrete porch
as the abuelos lean forward like palms
pressed by wind to place a domino
down I was meant to be
I was not meant to be this way in a city
in the sun but I was
and was called with laughter
and always laughed back ‘cause
I’ll never understand how a name can
extract a person from a body
replace it with a feeling
about who this is or isn’t
or never will be when all
we are is trying

Curtis Perdue's first full-length collection, The Weather Anchored In Us, was recently publish by H_NGM_N Books. He is also the author of two chapbooks. He has received scholarships and fellowships from Emerson College, The Key West Literary Seminar, and Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Curtis is the co-founder and editor of inter|rupture. Originally from Miami, he currently lives, surfs, and teaches in Boston, MA with his wife and 6-month-old baby girl, Hadley.