Why Being Born a Half-Polish-Half-Mexican in 1960’s Detroit is some serious shit, man!

Being raised in a mainly Mexican neighborhood with a dark brown Dad and a very white Mom makes for some good neighborhood gossip or at least contributes to some widespread cultural confusion among the locals. Everyone wants to be the one who figures you out, right? Like they cracked the…


Uncle Roque with his pet chicken

Backyard bliss : Uncle Roque and Mr. Chicken


I was baptized in Kindergarten at St. Gabriel’s church on West Vernor Highway in Detroit. I remember how cool I felt with my hair slicked back with Brylcreem, standing tall in my ironed white shirt, tucked deep into my single-pleated black slacks — and Sunday socks, too. To complete the…


photo courtesy of author

I see my dad in front of me, the hospital bed envelops his body, crisp white linens tucked up to his chest, his arms out to his sides, resting on the sheets, palms up. Eyes closed, his mouth shaping an unnatural “O” around the tube pushing air into his lungs…


I see my dad in front of me, the hospital bed envelops his body, crisp white linens tucked up to his chest, his arms out to his sides, resting on the sheets, palms up. Eyes closed, his mouth shaping an unnatural “O” around the tube pushing air into his lungs…


(The shape of love and heartbreak in Ward 3 )

Thinking back to my early days in Detroit (photo by author)

“Tell me the story again, Chulo,” MariLena politely beckons. “The day your kite flew over the river and into the sky. Every time you tell me that story, I change the color of the sky, the clouds, the trees . C’mon , Chulo!”

Lena’s pleading now.

Not sure why Lena’s…


“Teddy’s voice : fine lines of silk & sound coming through the radio” (words by RubenAvilio)(photo by LaylaBird/Getty Images)

Just yesterday, my friend, Raja, and I were sipping chilled Falanghina (over ice, fresh orange slices & a sprig of mint) during our weekly virtual Happy Hour. Approaching my third Falanghina spritzer ( don’t forget the dash of Aperol !), conversation swayed into the realm of sex.


Not all grief is mine to have, to experience. But all grief is personal, palpable.

(Sandra dressed for her 8th Birthday, a year after arriving in America)(Detroit,MI, 1969)

Everytime we return to Italy, we visit Pops at Cimitero Comunale where his body rests in its very own niche in the Schiavone Family chapel.


(Remembering Pops on Father’s Day)

Holding this photo of Dad , I can only think of two absolutes:

# 1 : Dad’s smile was all in his eyes.

# 2 : Heartbreaking hugs never die.

Dad after his bath

Ruben Mauricio

My dreams persist, therfore I ponder: writing my first opera, !Respiro!, finding lost relatives in Warsaw,opening my Mexican-Polish bakery in Detroit.

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