All the Puerto Rican girls from my neighborhood,
way back in the early 1960’s wanted to be Anita
from West Side Story- a chica, with caliente legs,
red Cutex lips, golden earrings and suave dance moves.
To be Maria, the heroine, was to be their mothers—
boring, white dresses and crucifixes, Ave Maria’s
tied up in a simple demure red belt that didn’t
break the rules of womanhood and did what they should.
West Side Story played the Washington Heights
pelicula palaces for months. The crowds cheered
whenever the Sharks entered and cried when ‘Nando
in his purple shirt glory was stabbed by white hands.
Be Anita and Not Maria from Westside Story
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