“Why Rita Hayworth?”
—Suzanne Jill Levine
“Puns: The Untranslatable”
The Subversive Muse: Translating 
Latin American Fiction

When Batista fell—
And Cuba Butched it up

Vast flotillas of drag—
Queens fled, my dear

Some to NYC—
Others to Miami

Miss Puig did—
The Spider Woman

Miss Sarduy did—
The Cobra Woman

It was all so—
Latino-esque gay 

Baroque bricoleur—
Boys in the Band

Homo homage—
Burlesque subversive

Carried away, honey—
So Caravaggesque

Satirical burlesque—
Chiaroscuro Camp

Macaronic mariconettes—
Queer iconographies

Miss gay Metonymy—
Meets Fag Grotesque

So let’s do Drag—
But not overdo it, dears

Some voodoo Abracadabra—
A little rococo Swish

It’s so tres grammatical—
Madame Onomatopoeia 

Those Dwarf gigolos—
So trashy transvestite

Contessa this and—
The Contessa that

Senora and Senoritas—
Our Ladies of Guadalupe

Precocious and Presumptuous—
So Elegant yet so Vulgar

Such Recherché here—
Such Pomposity there

Nothing like Miss Velázquez—
To Hapsburg camp it up

Tacky Translations—
Quickening Castanets

Daring Defilements—
Dumas-esque Melodramatics

Miss Musketeers—
Seminal Swordsmanship

Touché Avant-garde—
Miss Breton so very touchy

Euphuistic Homoeroticism—
Such Eager Euphemisms

Swinging Swinburne Swine—
Pouty Venuses in the Pigsty


Young Tyrone Power—
Naked in the moonlight

Nothing but a cape—
There in the bullring

Cute macho kid—
His strong uncut sword

Soon becoming Spain’s—
New romantic matador

But Rita Hayworth—
Seduces young Tyrone

He becomes the Bull—
Betrayed by her guitar


But why Rita Hayworth—
Who in it she betrays?

Tyrone Power, of course—
And his loving faithful wife

But Rita Hayworth—
Betrays herself most of all

She’s really Margarita Cassino—
Daughter of a Spanish dancer

Are we moviegoers betrayed—
By Tyrone’s infidelities?

Hardly, my dears, don’t be naive—
We’d like to suck off Tyrone too


The pretty wicked Actress—
Rita’s power to castrate men

Patriarchal powerless—
Male Victimhood so appealing

So that Manuel Puig learns—
To play the Betrayal Game

Manipulator of Words—
And fictional Realities

Heterosexuality Betrayed—
Empowering queer Miss Puig

Hollywood popular flicks—
Making gay Latino possible


“The chiaroscuro technique”
—Suzanne Jill Levine
“Between Textures: Petit Ensemble 
Caravaggesque,” The Subversive Muse: 
Translating Latin American Fiction

The betrayer in betrayed—
I know it happened to me

Like Berto’s unsent letter—
I have a confession to make

I was in love with my young—
Kid brother when we grew up

He felt betrayed by me—
Being his fag cocksucking brother

Queer for his precocious penis—
Betraying him with my queer lips

I betrayed myself just like Rita—
Down there on my bruised knees

Baroque Bricoleur Boyfriends—
Caravaggesque Petit Pricks

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