Bongani Madondo responds to Benj DeMott’s correspondence posted at “Mad Love (& Hate) Pt. 2.”
It was moving to read those final four pieces in First‘s tribute to Estrellita. Her writing (only one aspect of her work) seemed to just get better and better. At one point, stupidly, I thought the songy stuff was both contrived and oversimple, now it seems like the genius it was.
When I moved to a certain block in downtown Charlottesville with my ex in ‘93, Susan and I started noticing this Olds 88 (or was it a Cutlass Supreme? anyway something hilarious) always parallel-parked on the street. And it WAS old, beat out, gray. Across the back of the trunk was painted I BRAKE FOR OCD. This caught my attention since like Carmelita I was/am a sufferer. Side panels: TEXACO logo with that DO-NOT-ENTER circle painted over it, drops of blood dripping down. I could imagine talking to this person.
The late Carmelita Estrellita submitted this lyric to “First” back in 2013. Your editor didn’t post it then but now is better than never.
Carmelita (AKA Natalie) Suzanne Estrellita died last Friday. She was 60 years old.
The transgender rhymer was a world-class wit who realized, per Oscar Wilde, “those who see any difference between soul and body have neither.” Like Wilde, Estrellita got off some of her best shots in conversation, but many of them made it into lyrics she published in “First of the Month/Year”: “anguish as a second language”…”loss is more”…”Am are I?”…”knee-jerk heart”…”jerk de soleil”….”you don’t know me from ishmael/I don’t know you from dick…”