Made Of These


What’s it like on the south side of Mars? For those folks raised out there? Is it safer up there?

Is there no air in space because there’s no reason to waste your breath on prayers?

How much was the fare and how well did the farewell go? If ever you were even able to bid anyone such a thing.

*

No confinements are self-assured. Prisons prove themselves by the lack of escapes not merely by their walls.

No matter how brittle the captivity is if one resigns oneself to remaining, there is strength in the cell.

Surveillance works not by watching but by word of its doing so.

It’s a preventative world we endure.

*

How many other things have we been told here on this planet with its blues, greens, and transparencies imperfect in so many ways?

These gases expanding. These lungs collapsing. These pages running out on me.

What I didn’t know when I began remains something for which I wait as the covers serve up empty promises and then expect a tip for service.

*

Never had a shot in hell but luckily it’s pretty bright down here. Though, there’s sweat in the eyes.

And the greatest lie the Devil ever told was the truth. Which truth? All the truths. The ones that prove how cruel our Maker is and the truth that our Maker was nothing more than twisted serendipity. A sick happenstance. An ever-growing coincidence.

*

But what about the other planets and their alignments? Who knows? Go ask them. Maybe the divine did a bit more interfering there.

*

In uptown Jupiter are the streets safe?

On the beaches of Pluto are folks walking hand in hand although they deeply disagree? Do they think about us and our destruction?

*

Well, here comes the rain again.

(Tell me. Tell me.)

Now, here comes the sunshine.

(Tell me. Tell me once more.)

I can see clearly now.

(Close your eyes when you want to sleep.)

“Ooh child, things are gonna get easier

Ooh child, things’ll get much brighter”

(I want to know)

Some day, we’ll walk in the haze of the atom bomb again.

Some day

Seen a lot of what the world can do

But beware, look at the night –

Things are gonna be a lot lighter.

(Now, with a smile.)

Some day.

Sweet dreams are made of these.

Charge You Later


This too shall not pass. Never found a break ever stolen or given away. Time is a concept wasted on me. Eternity is safely kept while moods shift through a situation which remains the same.

State of mind never changed the state of the state. The images remain the same on the other side of the glasses’ frame, the eyes’ lenses. The unbiased camera.

For certain, I look for confirmation. I just wish it wasn’t so easy. I was hoping I’d have to walk for a hundred miles.

*

The sweetest thing my mother ever said is, “we’ll all die some day.”

*

Hedonism comes with fine print and asterisks.

*

I’ve only got myself to blame. This lousy body that pushed on when doctors counted it out from the start but mom said, “We can do this. Now give me my boy.”

Maybe she didn’t say that but she was stuck with this body too. Once again. On the outside. On the other side of the womb.

*

What is this world coming to that hasn’t already come?

*

Shut up. Sure, why not? Whatever I say to me sounds good enough for me.

*

Where’s the line? The limit? The border?

Where’s the intersection? The cross section? A place where endings meet?

*

Nobody ever loved me more than the one stuck with me and that’s how it should be I suppose. But how much did she love me? I hope the bar was set high. Of course, there’s been no competition anyways.

*

Do you remember when you didn’t grow out of that phase?

Do you remember me? No, me neither.

*

We were all someone different at some other point in time.

What lucky souls we all were back then.

*

How many times did you have to apologize for breathing?

Did your mom teach you how to take up as much space as possible just to combat the tendency to shrink and to ward off the attacks of minimizing?

Did you learn more ways to fight off fading? To erase the eraser.

Did your mom teach you everything you needed to know to be secure in your lack of masculinity?

*

Did everybody else attempt to change that?

*

If I ever got a break it was only for commercials. There’s always something else to be sold. That’s what friends are for. Family are always around to pawn your old self on you. And strangers, well, they’ll see what you’re willing to take and charge you later.

Something Else


I don’t know what I was at birth, how I was. I was there but I don’t really remember it. I wasn’t really paying attention.

I know what I am now and don’t give much of a fuck about what I was all those years ago.

*

I have grown into who I am. Tomorrow I’ll grow some more into something else. A seed given the opportunity to grow never retains its seed self for long but shucks its shell eventually for stalks, roots and leaves.

*

I don’t know what choices I was given but I have a few bucks and lots of stores to choose from.

*

I’ve been in some uncomfortable situations but I don’t know if there is a space less safe than a dress. OK. Maybe a skirt.

*

I’ve attracted the wrong kind of attention.

*

I wonder what the rose really thinks about the nightingale.

*

I like reds and purples. I don’t really like my hips but my lips are alright. I’d like to be a bit lighter like a peacock’s feather.

*

My head is up my ass sometimes. My foot in my mouth. My ear to the ground. But don’t worry, you can still get in on this. There’s more than enough body for you to do with as you are wont to do.

It’s up to you. Well, maybe not up but with a little inspiration we can work on it.

*

There’s no month to honor and commemorate what it means to have to put up with the effects of this humidity on my hair.

*

The year was 1995. Something happened. I wrote about it. I’m doing it again. I wasn’t finished. But now I don’t remember that something too well.  I’ve been through too many other things since so I’ll work on finishing something else.

Blocked


I am the witness with a heart full of seen it all, been there, done that, posted it on Facebook memories. I am a heart twisted to sleep. Turned and wrung out, left out to dry but soaked in nightmare sweat before the terrors are done giving their speeches.

Or,

What if I was only a secondhand witness? Should you believe how I relay the hearsay?

What if I am a storyteller?

What if I read it in a book?

. . . the morning paper?

. . . my newsfeed?

*

I couldn’t have unseen it any other way.

*

Somebody just ruined a perfectly good view of nothing much to see here.

*

No need to know what for. You got it or you don’t.

*

I am the last surviving member of my experience.

I am a head full of half-eaten desires. I remember eating apples as they rotted in my mouth. I could taste when they turned.

I can smell you in my armpits. The scent your head had when you slipped from the chest to the side. I remember more sleep than I care to recall.

I was wrong. I still am. Some things will never change.

*

Hollow is preferable to hallowed ground. I want to dig in. Find a new home under it all. I want to find solace in catacombs. I want to be a fox in its den. An arrow in its quiver. Bat in its cave.

Give me a hideout and a codename. Keep this identity a secret.

*

Self assured or self ashore? It’s hard to tell some days. These days. I’m all wet but I also hold the sound of the ocean in my ears.

*

Who can see me? My cloak of invisibility is malfunctioning (again). My luck is running out. Being seen never has any good consequences. The outcome always leaves me with another cautionary tale and nothing to brag about. Well, that’s what I get for wanting any sense of pride. I’m better off without.

Starvation is a virtue.

*

This is all there is. That is nothing here. These are not those. The spectrum has broken. The flexibility proved to be less flexible as more proof was needed.

Two ends exist. Who knows what this means?

*

There’s someone for everyone. Safe to say I am no one. With this lack I leave no trace but the agony of a blinded cyclops.

I am an s.o.s. washing away on the sand. A smoke signal lost to darkening skies.

*

I think I said just the opposite yesterday.

*

I am a wandering eye and a deaf ear. I am a club foot and claw hands.

I am the time it takes to count out all your fingers and toes. I am the moment a child discovers itself in the mirror. I am the shadow I am afraid of.

*

There’s a chance of rain. The streets will take their chances. They have no other choice. I am a witness waiting to see what happens next. I am the headstart. I am the left behind. I am under the weather. I am plotting my revenge. I have a battlecry. I am gathering a posse.

I am halfhearted. My gut is busted. My sides split. I laughed. The streets did too. It was in self-defense. We took refuge in humor. We’re allies and refugees. We take sanctuary in the filth of the world pouring down on us.

*

I am the lost voice. I am the get up and gone. I am what didn’t last forever. I am broken trust. I am gaptoothed. I am air escaping the life raft to be replaced by water, by fear. I am the sole survivor of my disgrace.

I am the dream that threatened me. I am an empty bladder. I don’t know where my insides went. What they saw, did, been, posted. I lost touch with me maybe for the last time. I think I’ve been blocked.

If I Die In Custody


If I die in custody it’ll be something I never wanted even when I wanted  to die every day since I realized it doesn’t get better.

If I die in custody I won’t be listening to the Idiot by Iggy Pop but y’all should be for me.

If I die in custody at least my best friend won’t have to find my body in my apartment a week after my death. Although he still might have a body to ID.

If I die in custody at least my mom is dead and won’t have to cry about it.

If I die in custody tell my dad I didn’t do anything wrong. Tell my nieces and nephew your auncle would want you to laugh about it. Y’all best be cracking jokes about these cops, this city, the system and this pansy.

If I die in custody you make sure I get a good hashtag. Use the name I gave myself. Forget what the birth certificate says. Spell it all out. Don’t stop at a nickname. And use the right pronoun.

If I die in custody make sure the world knows they got me for being black, Latino and queer. I had three strikes against me so I guess I deserved it.

If I die in custody make sure a white dude writes a poem about it. I want as much airplay as possible.

If I die in custody I’ll never know what happens in Swamp Thing #40.

If I die in custody they got one more geeky nigger off the streets.

If I die in custody smoke a  bowl for me – the good shit. And don’t waste no liquor on me. My soul’s all good now. You need the drink more than I do.

If I die in custody I hope somebody comes up with some better ghetto camo so y’all can hide from cops after I’m gone cuz y’all’s probably next.

If I die in custody I know who I’ll haunt.

If I die in custody I might have gone out like a punkass bitch. I’m not gonna lie. Ain’t no reason to start frontin now. I might have cried. Maybe I begged. But it’s only cuz I knew I’d miss y’all and maybe you’d miss me too. I’m not afraid of dying but I don’t want to go out like that without saying goodbye. I’m not gonna leave without letting y’all know I’m out. We in this together till I say I can’t take no more.

In stereo


Everyday has been a

Shoot first mistake

Enough so to

Throw in the towel.

Tasting hell burning down heaven.

Groove cut for later questions

Footmarks of tongues

In the house

(S)worn to secrecy

Haven’t had a good reality in years

That much is known

* * *

Worth/Reverse

Work/When

There was/Research

It/Forgets

About it  – sound a

S/word – conversion

Dead to the 4G world

Airplane mode

Rubbing elbows in stereo

On behalf of those throats


On behalf of those throats

with voices

aimed at ears

too full

to receive

anymore news.

Here,

the spaces left amid the lines

and print

is there.

Let fall those songs;

overlap these stanzas

Let these movements

twirl and twist

and cross fingers

for next time.

* * *

Adults need imaginary friends too.

Nights passed

on pillows

with or without

a mate

are still and long

in December.

 

But another’s perspective

can whisk

dreams and reality

together

to stiff peaks

for the climb.

* * *

Nutmeg flecks in béchamel

As ants cross the sand-

utilitarian laborers

and jarheads

burrowing-

putting in a hidden

palace

for a queen.

Skin speckled,

cinnamon on cappuccino foam.

Hopes and reality

are not

as childhood plaits

anymore.

Pulled and peeled

away

penny candy

licorice

The knock-kneed girl

is gone.

* * *

Foot-staring

turned from moments

to nearly a decade.

The intricacy of the shoelaces

never loosened

nervousness

and never bound

anything but the tongue.

* * *

Tight.

Two braided kids

on schoolyard concrete

with but a chainlink fence

as a third hand

to hold

the Double-Dutch rope.

Harmonizing

as breath gets heavy

in the jumper’s chest.

Singing all those skipping songs

while the cord whistled

past ears

and ponytails sway

and cornrows

become frizzy

with sweat.

* * *

Out to sea-

crest above the ship

rivers mingle to ocean

drop

to

drop

till puddles form.

But can’t drown here

where the whisky’s

not neat.

* * *

Raisins, peanuts,

assorted seeds

almonds

filberts and the rare macadamia,

granola too

fishing for chocolate

as the trail gets longer

behind than in front.

Trees turn forest

eclipsing light,

raindrops

and the endgame.

* * *

Never meant to crease your pages-

leave no mark

on the dark green hill-

no dog ears

in life,

as space and time mingle

to separate

mate from mate

from

all those co-occurrences

that aren’t ‘posed

to happen

as talkers talk.

Code-switch

stuck

so trains

run

right at each other

Splinters, metal, moneyed-passengers,

conductor and caboose

combine.

Well, now it seems

they’ll all be going to the same place

As even God likes

his potatoes with corn,

gravy, cheese

and meaty bits.

* * *

Pigeon-toed boy

hoping to knock down threes

-lay down the assist.

The folding chairs

spread

-drills

weaving on a loom

a silk

orange scarf

in the hands.

Then comes the hero,

with thoughts of the net

and an elongated

endless

sign of infinity

to wrap around.

No points for this endeavor

so when

it’s time to begin

and trips,

instead of getting up

stays down –

decides to see what’s there

in that grain

in the shellac

among the legs –

why there’s millions of bucks

in the sky

and new shoe deals.

* * *

Null accents

from moving around / living

with all those kids

(some of which struck a nerve

not a good one).

Down and across

melt in crosswords

and mean nothing

removed from the clues.

Japanese number puzzles

place Arab numerals

one to nine

in disarray.

And every once in awhile

letters clog the brain

until

it’s forgotten that with fractions

you cross-multiply.

* * *

Never take water for granted

nor anything else

either,

air or the second person

(becoming third).

Imagine the sea off Southern Spain

centuries ago.

Ostrogoths, Vandals, Moors,

Castillian, Basque,

the Church,

Islam.

The Latin vulgar

and Arabic

a chanting wine song,

Koranic verse

and our nuniya.

Intertwined

in a verbal form,

a lengthy poem,

us.

Lost individuals

wrapped up in the grammar

of the captors-

it was worth it,

then swept up in fits

of a larger identity

all the dust

collected in handled pans

Mixed –

forever

for always,

the tongue

the accent

the stanzas,

the prisons,

the questions

not destined

for answers.

 

 

The power and ownership

shifts

and all that remains

is ‘nos.’

* * *

There is no coincidence

as the fly finds itself

in the spider’s web.

It was just an intersection

of persistence

and curiosity.

* * *

Twisting and twisting

ladder

scaling

evolution

on double-helix.

All that happenstance

was DNA

and thousands of switchbacks

up the slope.

And even more so,

it was

the mingling of laughs

as one audience

with the greatest joke.

So, some came from the sea

and some stayed right there

And the cat stayed asleep

over the Chinese sky

as twelve others assembled

the zodiac.

Now, he’s just a another soul

staring at the door

of a restaurant.

* * *

Don’t think for a second

it was only

the Portuguese who had navigators,

All those maps

with carefully

placed X’s

and coastlines

a few miles off

read by cross-eyed sailors

and sent up

to the crow’s nest

as sails and oars

were adjusted

under the supervision

of the cartography

and calligraphy

of so many sources

near and far.

* * *

Straight lines

pierce the O’s

of tic-tac-toe

which would be no game

minus the crosses.

* * *

Scurrying country chipmunks

Don’t dance with city squirrels

that’s probably just because

they like different pop songs

and neither likes a liar.

* * *

Just then,

the puppy  had a change of mind

turned back the circle

but for all the eddies,

dust devils,

and cyclone

he ain’t never gonna

get that tail.

* * *

Divisible by 4

and then by 2

now it’s prime.

It’s even

so even

skaters trace its figure.

Endless flat

or raised to Mobius

strip

follow

follow

the path

it’s basic string theory

with one twist

and then that’s

when serendipity comes.