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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Blanco
Richard Blanco
In 2013, Richard Blanco was selected to read at Barack Obama's second Presidential Inauguration. Currently, he lives in Bethel, Maine...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Travel
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely [On the bus two women argue]
by Claudia Rankine
And the Trains Go On
by Philip Levine
Baudelaire in Airports
by Amy King
California Plush
by Frank Bidart
Cattails
by Nikky Finney
Dark Matter
by Jack Myers
Evening Song
by Sherwood Anderson
Flying
by Sarah Arvio
Go Greyhound
by Bob Hicok
I am Raftery the Poet
by Anthony Raftery, read by James Wright
Manifest Destiny
by Cynthia Lowen
Out-of-the-Body Travel
by Stanley Plumly
Passing Through Albuquerque
by John Balaban
Road Warriors
by Charles Wright
Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape
by Christian Hawkey
Souvenir from Anywhere
by Harryette Mullen
The Bus through Jonesboro, Arkansas
by Matthew Henriksen
The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes
The Strange Hours Travelers Keep
by August Kleinzahler
The Tinajera Notebook
by Forrest Gander
The Traveling Onion
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Travel
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Travel
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Traveling
by Malena Mörling
Traveling Light
by Linda Pastan
Trip Hop
by Geoffrey Brock
Window
by Carl Sandburg
Window Seat: Providence to New York City
by Jacqueline Osherow
Related Prose
Our People, Our Future: Richard Blanco in Conversation
by Richard Blanco
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Looking for The Gulf Motel

 
by Richard Blanco

Marco Island, Florida

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

The Gulf Motel with mermaid lampposts 
and ship's wheel in the lobby should still be 
rising out of the sand like a cake decoration. 
My brother and I should still be pretending 
we don't know our parents, embarrassing us 
as they roll the luggage cart past the front desk 
loaded with our scruffy suitcases, two-dozen 
loaves of Cuban bread, brown bags bulging 
with enough mangos to last the entire week, 
our espresso pot, the pressure cooker—and 
a pork roast reeking garlic through the lobby. 
All because we can't afford to eat out, not even 
on vacation, only two hours from our home 
in Miami, but far enough away to be thrilled 
by whiter sands on the west coast of Florida, 
where I should still be for the first time watching 
the sun set instead of rise over the ocean.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My mother should still be in the kitchenette 
of The Gulf Motel, her daisy sandals from Kmart 
squeaking across the linoleum, still gorgeous 
in her teal swimsuit and amber earrings 
stirring a pot of arroz-con-pollo, adding sprinkles 
of onion powder and dollops of tomato sauce. 
My father should still be in a terrycloth jacket 
smoking, clinking a glass of amber whiskey 
in the sunset at the Gulf Motel, watching us 
dive into the pool, two boys he'll never see 
grow into men who will be proud of him.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My brother and I should still be playing Parcheesi, 
my father should still be alive, slow dancing 
with my mother on the sliding-glass balcony 
of The Gulf Motel. No music, only the waves 
keeping time, a song only their minds hear 
ten-thousand nights back to their life in Cuba. 
My mother's face should still be resting against 
his bare chest like the moon resting on the sea, 
the stars should still be turning around them.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My brother should still be thirteen, sneaking 
rum in the bathroom, sculpting naked women 
from sand. I should still be eight years old 
dazzled by seashells and how many seconds 
I hold my breath underwater—but I'm not. 
I am thirty-eight, driving up Collier Boulevard, 
looking for The Gulf Motel, for everything 
that should still be, but isn't. I want to blame 
the condos, their shadows for ruining the beach 
and my past, I want to chase the snowbirds away 
with their tacky mansions and yachts, I want 
to turn the golf courses back into mangroves, 
I want to find The Gulf Motel exactly as it was 
and pretend for a moment, nothing lost is lost.






From Looking for The Gulf Motel, by Richard Blanco, © 2012. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press and Stuart Representation for Artists.
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