Sunday, September 30, 2012

For Allen

America, Allen addressed you in 1956, why haven’t you cleaned up your act?
America, we’re both tired.
America, the human war still hasn’t ended, what’s wrong with you?
Exchanging names of countries and wars like were giant chess players

I woke up today and realized you’re a horrible lover, full of fake promises and excuses for why you can’t get it up.
Don’t be surprised when I cheat on you.
Stop debating with yourself, you look stupid.

America, gas is four dollars and eighteen cents today
Where is your halo?
America, guess what?
I have a vagina.
I’m not sorry.

America, sweet land of the free, when will you stop politicizing my body?
Do you want that too?
America, go fuck yourself.

America why won’t you educate your children?
You gave birth to them.
Why do you make us stand in lines, holding picket signs, begging for scraps?
What we have done to you?

Why do you delegitimize my family who’s given you everything and now has nothing
Simply because they weren’t born in your womb.
America, they fed you.

America you’re filling up the oceans with shit and you’ve stopped going to space
You’re like an old beer bellied retired baseball player who talks about his winning runs and has nothing else to show for his days of glory except for dusty pictures stored in the attic

Is this who you want to be, America?
What will the neighbors think?

America I can’t breathe anymore and I can’t find a job.
I followed your directions down to a T.
Where’s your end of the bargain?

America, people are debating your fate
Will you show up for the verdict?
America, I hope you do.

(Based on Allen Ginsberg's poem America)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

If I have a story

If I have a story, I have to turn off my phone.
I have to ignore the fact that I am sitting imperfectly,
That my bladder is not completely empty,
That I could be blowing my nose.

I have to ignore the fact that the temperature isn’t quite right and I am forced to live in a moment
Where a sweater is too warm but my tank top doesn’t quite protect me from the chaos I am so desperately trying to

It isn’t always easy. At least not for me. An awkward 25 year old woman trying to offer a unique awareness and getting someone to listen.

My mother has always been so much better at this. She commands it and smiles at me whenever I don’t get it quite right.

When I was younger she would read me stories, in Spanish. The words flowed out of her vocal chords as through a river, never once minding that I had no raft. No paddle with which to guide me except for the vibrations of her voice. Like a blind girl attempting to find where things were, I had to trust. It is only now that I realize how powerful she thought I was, even then, when I so desperately smeared her red lipstick on my face and tried to make my voice deeper because I wanted to claim something and I always thought I was too small to claim it.

She always thought I was strong. And when she read to me, she offered no paddle or apologies. I have to live up to that. When I write, I have to have something to say.

Never mind that other poets have said it better. Never mind that every corner of the world has been documented, classified, and raped with description. With words.

Perhaps this body has something to offer. Perhaps a little girl in a small township like Guguletoo will step into her mud hut and pull out my poem from inside her oversized sweater and read. Perhaps she’ll read the one about my first love, or my awkward attempts to get my father to be my hero. Perhaps she will have read these stories before and I’ll collect dust on some bookshelf in a home in the upper east side.

But at least I’ll have traveled. At least my body will have entered consciousness and there will be permanent documentation that somewhere, at some point, I succeeded in quieting the wild life that does not quiet, my bouncy curls that are never quite tame and exemplify the fact that I am visceral and made of dirt.

But maybe, just maybe, I can be powerful and survive off of that, until the next time
I have a story.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

love, kinds

There is vicious love
There is love that robs you of your freedoms
Your air
The feathers in your hair

There is love that is becoming
That wears on you like a Bottega gown
Love you need to live up to
Love that you need to learn to love

There is love that makes you forget who you are
Where the planet is
There is love that rapes
There is love that makes you disappear

There is love that makes you hate

I am scared of these loves
I want love that comes in on a gentle breeze
That entwines with my neurons, the palpations of my heart
I want love that…

I want the scary love
The terrifying love
The one you could live without, with dulled senses

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Poet Lies

The poet concocted a masterpiece today
In which the trees whispered their secrets and the lady on the side of the road had a melancholy air brought on only by memories hurled at her by the rapidity of the cars whizzing by
Gogol was referenced
And the sun became a massive breast
As I read gasping for breath and slapped in the face with chaotic meaning
Orchids whispered out their final wishes and the world began to melt away
Becoming something new
An orgy of colors and destinations
And the map became a blob
And through it all I wanted to engulf myself in this book of sonnets
In that book of free verses
And all the stanzas cried out to me to look at them
To become them
“One more”
Read aloud
Only once more
although I had work the next day and should go to sleep
I was already dreaming
And with a new map with which to guide myself with I visited all the places referenced in the poems that I possibly could
And dreamt of the ones I couldn’t

And that’s when it slapped me in the face
The orchids were dying against the backdrop of smog
And the homeless lady had no hidden story that I could discern as she pissed on the side of the road
And Gogol couldn’t find me
The poet lied
And I damn myself for ever questioning him

I Take a Drag

Sitting disheveled on her bed with bags under her eyes
Holding a cigarette awkwardly between her first and middle finger of her right hand
Chipped red paint on her nails, another failed attempt at composure
She inhales
Blows out
And it is then that I know this isn’t a usual task for her
I pretend to still be asleep lying next to her so as not to disrupt the grey moment between sleep and waking
The morning after…

She swore it wasn’t a big deal
Walked in with a stride and her chin held in the air and told me the secret
Sat down
Let if fester in my brain and form thought waves mechanically produced into feelings, and all the while she looked two inches below my eyes, as if to say she had lost some power in this statement
How I wish she knew that what I wanted to do was sink into her skin because it was the most painful closeness I could imagine

I wondered when this has happened to her, at what point she had changed right before my eyes.
Was it when she was a child and took note of beautiful women striding along with their hair blowing in the wind, elegance exuding a smile?
Was it when she reached adolescence and found something missing from the failed attempts to sit down with a boy and tell him to be her hero?
Or was it as she sat here now, arresting this moment and allowing herself for the first time to enter fully into consciousness?
I wondered
Recollecting then that she was standing in front of me, awaiting a response
I smiled and took her into my arms
And with nothing left to say, we decided to celebrate her honesty.

The rest of the night was full of excitement
We celebrated and had the worst dinner on the planet at a new Thai restaurant that failed numerous times to produce our orders, leaving us with no other option but to laugh
Walked down a couple blocks to the only Mexican place in town where canned beans are served and tomato sauce is mistaken for “salsa”
But they have good margaritas
Upon the completion at our attempts at a meal we walked the four blocks home from Observatory to Mowbray, a dangerous stretch
As if to say we were forces to be reckoned with
The night slowed down and we ended up asleep on her bed
More of a flop actually, didn’t even bother to pull the covers over our heads

I open my eyes and notice the rays of sunlight making their way from the window to her face
Illuminating the fact that she is in deep thought
pursing her lips, eyebrows furrowed
and she lets out that sigh
The kind that begins in the pit of your stomach when something needs to be released that is beyond words
She takes another drag of the cigarette, doing such a bad job that I wonder how she isn’t choking
We make eye contact
And in that moment it’s as if we know
When we open those blinds things will be different
The world will be somehow changed
I look at her youthful face sending me a message through her solemn dark brown eyes hiding themselves behind the cloud of a tear after a yawn

I take a drag

What the World Feels

Sometimes I write poetry that enumerates the trickle of rain drops
off a luscious moss covered trunk
That I have never seen
But can feel like the gust of cold air penetrating the pores on my cheeks
And for that one special moment I think I can feel generations crying,
hoping to go back to it
And sometimes I feel the warm yellows and oranges circling tender skin around my legs and dancing around what I have come to call as my body
Squinting my eyes because it won’t allow me to see its full beauty,
its immense rage
And as the grass tickles extremities which I have come to call as my toes and fingers
I realize that I have come to a place that has nothing to do with me
And all to do with the world
Wishing then that I could be bigger than I am
To take up the full burden of nature
To hear its cries as it dies and suffocates from sharp knives slitting lungs,
never to return
And it is then that I know the pain of scientists
Wishing to extrapolate a truth that is too hard to stomach
Of the world dying because someone once told us we were the most powerful
And the flies circle around,
trying to find a place to rest
And the sun suddenly hurts
And begs for mercy
And it is then that I wish I could tell the branches, and the clouds, and the atmosphere,
the yet living
That I am sorry
But all I am left with is poetry that enumerates the trickle of rain drops off a luscious moss covered trunk that I have never seen
And a tear that fixes nothing
But serves merely as a small pathetic portion
Of what the world feels

A sentence

I know I’m a bad writer. I’m sorry. I wish I could say I can make the petals of a rose come alive by way of my imagery. I wish I could say I take travelers on remarkable quests full of illusion, hope, and realization only to come back to a complexified equilibrium.
I can’t.
I can’t make the sky look anything other than blue or the trees seem in any way more significant. When my pen hits the pure white paper with a force that rapes, no beauty comes out, no struggle, no pain. I look down on it and realize I’ve said nothing. I’ve shown nothing.

But there’s always that sentence.

That one sentence that taunts me because it shows me that for a moment in time I have beauty. It comes in encompassing everything that is me, showing me its elusiveness by way of a breeze meeting my cheek and entering it by way of diffusion. Down to my heart, out through my fingers. Telling me then that it’s gone.
NO more.
Was it ever there? Does it even matter? That sentence you see, that one beautiful sentence that swallowed the very air that I breathe, wasn’t me. It was never me. I claimed to own it for that fraction of a second but it left without so much as a goodbye because it was telling me something. It was telling me I was speaking from a place not within me but all around me. I was a hand, a curvature of the fingers,
A word.
I wasn’t its creator. It created me.