Regie Cabico

Two Poems in Response to Two Gentlemen of Verona

Two Gentlemen PlaybillI Got It Bad

For Nina Simone

nina look at the sky april clouds hang a fat
sappy syrup on my saddest day
played you monday night
my day unbearable as a wool coat in april
came back to find my bed empty as a tire swing in winter

nina in my saddest hour
you have crooned me over a cruel block
of loneliness when unrequited love
is an italian bartender who flirts with you
from the torso and offers you
more lies than a tiramisu

yes nina, monday night i was so terribly sad
sadder than  a parlor of long veils,
carrying groceries up too many flights of stairs

& the sound of your voice so full & broad-shouldered
made the day with all its drama into bangles & diamonds
nina you made me a culinary priestess
you placed a bojangling spell on me

crooning to the sizzling oil as i pranced like a tiger
among the tambourines & tin cans
the raindrops applauded & the single wine glass wept

because i found my inner nina
nina nubian mona lisa woman painted
with egyptian mascara

you use silence the way a woman’s figure
made jesus bend at the knees bend ache break
to the will of your beautifully blessed contralto

crackling bittersweet as you held a phrase
long enough for green finches to fly out the winter gloom
nina, the storyteller, nina a river lonely as hell,
nina tossed like an ark full of sparrows

you can honky tonk the bones of kali
& steal the lightning from her toes
listen nina, i think its gonna rain again
human kindness is overflowing, flowing harder
even in the cruelest time


Me and Charity

We love applause, cheers,
the Los Angeles cheese
of Cheshire faux celebrities
& artichoke toppings
& sprinkles on cupcakes.

We combust, laugh, crackling
like broiled salmon
on a bed of jasmine rice.

When we watch The Jerk
with Steve Martin
& Bernadette Peters
we sit like rubber ducks eating
our chicken wings & fries.

Charity’s a reality celebrity
with a Craig’s List documentary
where she hunts for a husband.

I am a poet knee deep in realness,
chasing words, memories.

Life was a drop duck & roll
out of our parents’ atomic feuds
and gasoline tears.

Charity’s somewhere
skipping over

the San Andreas fault.
I’m in Calgary, Montreal,

New York, Washington, DC.
We got wireless minds.
We don’t need Skype.


Regie Cabico is a spoken word pioneer, having won the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam in 1993 and taking top prizes in the 1993, 1994 and 1997 National Poetry Slams. As a theater artist, he received the 2006 New York Innovative Theater Award for Best Performance Art Production as part of the New York Neo-Futurist's production of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. His solo shows have been presented at Dixon Place, Joe's Pub, The Public Theater, Seattle Fringe Festival, Contact Theater (Manchester, England) and The Humana Theater Festival. He is a teaching artist at The Kennedy Center and performs his work throughout North America and the UK. He received several fellowships from the DC Commission for the Arts & Humanities, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Television credits include NPR's Snap Judgement, and HBO's Def Poetry Jam. His latest solo play, Godiva Dates and One Night Stands, received critical acclaim at the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival. Cabico was a featured poet at the 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Cabico is co-editor of the anthologies Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry (Lowbrow Press, 2013) and Poetry Nation: The North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry (Vehicule Press, 1998), and his work appears in the anthologies Short Fuse, Poetry Slam, The Spoken Word Revolution, and Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC. He is co-director of the Capturing Fire National Queer Poetry Slam And Summit. To read more by this author: Regie Cabico: Winter 2007; Regie Cabico's Intro to the Split This Rock Issue, Winter 2008; Regie Cabico: Audio Issue; Regie Cabico on DC Slam: Literary Organizations Issue; Regie Cabico: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue.