I’m gonna let myself enjoy the moment

In 1987, I remember the swift feet and legs of my then young father, 

(even though in American standards he was an “old father,”)

I remember him vibrant, strong. 

A gazelle on the dancefloor, a clown, moody—like all Latin fathers are, gold crowns on his teeth, glistening in the sun.

He caught the bug whenever a good song played

in the grocery store, 

the liquor store, 

through a window on his walks of the neighborhood, 

a cholo in his wheelchair with a boombox. 

His feet, his legs

skid and glid—

the ground, 

a slippery buttery surface 

under him.

His hands, 

peacocks, 

flamboyant  

slapping, clapping, 

teeth glistening, 

smile wide as he weepahhhhh’d his way through a crowd. 

I call my mother today, he answers, fragility on the other end, now it is 2020, and the world is a dream screaming—

como esta?” I ask—how are you PapiHow are you now in these times?

Tengo un gran dolor de piernas, no puedo caminar.” —I can’t walk, my legs hurt so much, they hurt so much.

He can’t walk.

I break a million times a million times a million times I break—

I want to give him mine, but mine also ache, I am his daughter after all,

as I age 

he ages

as I ache

he aches

I am his daughter after all

I get scared at this mirror, so I hurry to the kitchen, take my vitamins, listen to his complaints, and mute myself, so that my tears don’t surface in the throat of my words,

I want to believe he’ll be ok,

but death finds us all.

digestion and circulation

There is therapy in the 2006 remastered version of “The Blood,” by The Cure.

There is also therapy in therapy, 

even if it’s me talking to a screen in my kitchen, while my therapist tells me that labels are unnecessary.

There is therapy in vitamins and ritual, apples with peanut butter.

There is therapy in Siouxsie and the Banshees version of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us.”

There are rituals that end up being therapy.

Therapy on our knees, either in church or in front of our beloved. 

In whiting out mistakes on paper, in looking at the flame of a candle during a blackout.

A flash in the sky, a black ocean, a flock of parakeets being obnoxious.

In the detail of your torso when you breathe.

In the grill marks of our dinner, and the crunch of our dessert.

Therapy is a prayer answered, an open parking space in a crowded grocery store.

Where a pendant lies,

where a compliment lives.

Music and laughter.

Crying in the middle of a meal.

Death anxiety.

Life anxiety.

Anointing celebrations on the third eye of my third eye.

tambor mimicking my heartbeat,

 in there lives my damage 

and my remedy. 

Hindsight is 20/20

My whole day revolves around a regimen.

I wake up.

1.) remember to keep breathing

2.) apple cider vinegar, lemon and water to digest all the bullshit

3.) wormwood, for the gut to roll its rounds of elegies and allegories in the stillness of that same breathing

4.) tincture: bitterness hidden in my syntax and laughter— spreads its palms and surrenders

5.) remember to keep breathing

6.) I dig graveyards in the folds of my tongue, an agenda of setting space and time free

7.) A bulk of fiber, to push out the bulk of whatever resides in me; ghosts of voices long dead, 

fingers trapped, reaching…gone

8.) water, hydration— watering my plants, the ones in my ears that listen, the ones in my eyes that can’t believe how we’ve forgotten to have basic human kindnesses reside in the bowels of this muscle, where did our wombs go?

9.) probiotic: the good kind—helping the peristalsis, the waves of what gives me heat—that what goes down and gives me energy, a group of nerves acting in unison, all doing their part, in order—without the need to be King

My whole day revolves around a regimen.

Wake up. 

Take a hot, no—a scalding bath and soak, until the heart feels no envy, no hate.

Take the warmth of that fraudulent womb and remember the courage left, move in your flesh uniform in cadence with the heart that once grew in eight weeks.

The ugly you feel in the atoms of the highways, is the longing of the fuse, it is undeniable—frustrating, to exist without the mother, to be left cut from the warmth of what fed us, maybe sometimes without much love, but still, here we are alive and breathing—because of her willingness and the luck to carry us full term/

Incomplete or complete, the fuse is what connects us, the sun is what shines down on us, and our blood is what spills when any of us is cut.

The contradiction lies in what we know as comfortable, be it alone or in pairs or in-groups. We substitute our rage with cruelty and savagery and call it longing. We are afraid of what we don’t understand because we understand nothing, so we fear everything. Suits and salaries and money and diplomas stamped with reminders of years spent in a prison give the illusion of understanding. But you are there, pointing the finger at everything, while four fingers point back. 

This is our only haven, this small tender world birthed from a single drop and bang. We as of right now, are modern creatures, but soon, our bones will be dug up and our art will be examined and perhaps even ridiculed and they will see how much we failed ourselves on repeat. We never looked at anything, they’ll say, with our eyes, they used the lens of their phones and the lens of the television to dictate their feelings—imagine THAT, they’ll say exasperated. 

They’ll look at the rainbow of faces and never understand the contempt that we allowed to ferment with an unwillingness to cut the thick fog of disillusion with an understanding that we all suffer the same  plight. 

That plight of womb and delusion. The sadness of breathing and the melancholy of eyesight. How incredibly sad, they’ll think—to not realize that being reborn was as simple as a change of mind. 

cyan and magenta

Drown in as many hot baths as it takes to make
your fault lines disengage

as good as you want to feel

is as good as it gets

Thank the crevice of your forgetfulness

for the invited and uncut seraphs it spits out

at church everyone is sinning when they kneel
they lick their fingers and salivate at temptation
Blaspheme was where I landed and hope is where I’ll stay

My ankles keep time
A winding clock at arms length
Whenever I cry it chimes the hum
of the core from which I came

as good as you want to feel is as good as it gets

the wraith of the 1 p.m. nap

bathroom stall squeaked white

in high rise, 

quaked 

toothpaste stained 

sink

dim lit 

you under covers,
hiding, 

your face peeking out   like a crumb

you’re my father 

but you are also, 

my burden

} temblor {

feet ripen into suckers

grounded,

heaving

holding,

the burden 

in his bed,

and my heart is nowhere near

a sway

I am a branch in this turbulence

my heart still nowhere near

staggering

bending

you wrestle with me in your thoughts, 

it’s so loud in your head 

i am in there and 

i can’t stand the smell of it

you are my father 

but you are also my burden

i want my heart back, 

i watch the city explode below 

no sound

the panic is silent

and you, 

you are on the bed

unadorned 

and unworried,

unapologetic

it’s a shame 

how you are locked in place

and I stagger

and bend

and my heart is nowhere near

you are my burden

and my heart is somewhere near

Where does all the trash go?

off of that eight hour flight,

midnight—

sipping on 

the breathless murals 

of Los Angeles

flickering bugs inside buildings,

my eyes trick me—

the road rich

with white and red streaks, 

where am I?

105>110>101>10

EXIT

drive me home sister/

black streets, 

the lights are brighter here,

the sun too, 

less green

no mot-mots hovering

no rumbling 

no ash

no helicopters

no gunfire/

wait—yes, there’s gunfire

there’s rumbling

there’s nothing left to do this late at night,

a park waits happily grinning,

peristaltic waves pain my limbs to sleep

eyes wide open, 

I breathe 

in the air 

of these tropics,

this desert—

where am I?

Groupon offers one acre of land for SALE on Mars

—all will be left behind here in this place, forgotten/ sprouting—remember birth-days in crowded places, replenished?—remember the fun you forgot to have? and now in your painted up, you sacrifice nostalgia with a numbing. It wasn’t that your life was hard or that your findings unimportant, it’s that your youth trounced, what was invasive. Unaware that life was meant to leave a bad taste. 

[In days where sleep awakens me, I see my hair pearly and sterling, stunning—it turns into stripping—despoiling a rifle where my third eye died.]

It’s easier, as the days vandalize— to clothe my woes in what I’ve learned, in spoil—we all rot in the earth unless we’re burnt, or we crash into the sea. I wonder what it feels like to die in the air? How ideal the flight of the white-throated swift for a woman able to spiral in death, and in love—fucking through the air of a canyon. To fly into death. Into ecstasy.

Ylem (poem #30)

We are all deficient.
We obsess over documenting ourselves so that
we don’t forget how much it hurt to get to where we’re at.
People talk of sadness as if it’s a sickness,
unable to see how critical it is to taste it
and treat it as if it’s
just another texture
in your mouth.
Lately,
my favorite time
is the midnight air,
lifting ruinous thoughts that the hours brought.
I try to feel out the shapes of my face
and touch the curves of my mouth
where all pessimism lives.
All the parts erupted,
caressed with the jitteriness of my eight track
fingertips planting seeds
into my now drought-tolerant
silvery gray leaves.

Ascend (poem #29)

It isn’t easy, 

being born hating yourself.

Banned from traditions, 

we adopt others that are more convenient in their evil.

We compromise our ghosts to wither, 

instead of being danced around and blessed.

Men go off to war, and the women heal them with their plants.

The other way around works too, 

only gender is irrelevant when it comes to wounds. 

Well fed men protect, it isn’t anything but, no need to inspect. 

The women are the gems, 

you can’t leave them vulnerable, 

everyone knows that.

Dance until you feel everything.

Revive your strength and pray—

if that word scares you, change its meaning.

Wake to the mist of morning, 

run until you can’t see what you’ve been running from. 

I want to go home now, my real home (poem #28)

Start from the beginning—

[Life 101]

Hack: do it well only after you get it wrong a million times.

Remember—alphas cry the most.

Agonize a scratched record but rejoice in a broken heart.

Vague sexuality is the equivalent of kleenex.

Daddy issues make a good baby, mommy issues make a delicious bitch. 

Where is youth if not in the smile, not the eyes.

No one will help, but some people are very kind.

Men are more sensitive than women, I know this because their cocks don’t bleed.

Violence usually means, hold me.

Kindness is binary.

Deserts are for everyone to romanticize, but the desert knows if your ankles are broken.

Be a dirty lover and a compassionate executioner.

Fears are relatable because we are all going to die. 

Death is inevitable, so stop pretending you don’t remember the immensity of your insignificance.