O, Miami poetry shows up in local food

Hialeah Haikus show up on local coffee cups this month for O, Miami poetry festival

That cup of Cuban cafecito has something to say.

As the Versailles waitress pours sweet blackness into a tiny paper cup instead of the usual ceramic tacita at the iconic restaurant’s walk-up window, it’s the words on the side that jolt you before the caffeine.

“You saw that guy, bro?

He’s looking at me all hard

You don’t know me bro!”

O, Miami, the non-profit organization that celebrates Miami and poetry — and particularly Miami poetry — by bringing its art form to unexpected places every April has a culinary bend to it this year.

This month, they’re putting words in your mouth.

Poetry by Hialeah Haikus has been printed on more than 3,000 coffee cups being served at Versailles Restaurant, Gilbert’s bakeries and all Palacio de los Jugos locations. Thanks to local writer Cris Ramos who conceived the partnership, your next cortadito might just read:

“The smell of her flan

Can make a grown man cry

Abuela powers”

“Coffee culture and especially coffee window culture are such a big part of Miami,” said O, Miami founder and director P. Scott Cunningham, whose organization is funded by Knight Foundation. “It’s a captive audience. If the poem’s on the cup, you’re probably going to read it.”

O, Miami’s guerrilla poetry doesn’t stop at coffee. They have several food-related events and tactics throughout the month, including a three-course “poetic meal” inspired by Gertrude Stein’s book of lyrical prose, “Tender Buttons,” served at Little Haiti’s Little Farm House on April 24.

O Miami fortune cookie

And anyone ordering takeout through Delivery Dudes in Midtown might find a fortune cookie with an Miami-specific fortune: “You will meet a tall, beautiful telenovela star and you will not say hello,” or “You will eat flan.” Artist Benjy Caplan helped adapt each line from the Frank O’Hara poem “Lines for the Fortune Cookies” for the very-Miami cookies, bro.

Sure, some outsiders may not get it. But Cunningham is OK with that.

“If you don’t live in Miami or haven’t lived in Miami in a while, you might not get it — but that’s what we love about it,” Cunningham said. “It’s a Miami festival first, a poetry festival second. Our beloved is Miami.”

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