Moon Ride: Poetry

MoonRideCover2I’ve got some great news! You can now buy my book from Amazon! You have the option of ordering an e-book or a paperback. It is a short but sweet collection of poems. It’s really more like a chap book.

Take a look, if you feel so inclined. Why not take that moon ride?

LINKS:

E-book.

Paperback.

D E A R M E X I C O

DEAR MEXICO,

I’ve found you on tile floors,

under uncles’ breath,

and in between tortilla presses.

I’ve found you in every corner of my

mother’s mouth,

and every landscape

except your reddest clay.

Dear Mexico,

your green, white, and red

marches in my veins,

and I have inherited your adobe

bricks, which now glisten

in the sun of my skin.

But I have never touched

your ground.

Dear Mexico,

I find you in the slopes

of my knees,

like mountains,

and I find you in my nieces’ eyes,

brown, and brown, and thank

God for brown.

Dear Mexico,

you show up in every dream;

you remain a vibrant fantasy.

I know you are more fact

than fiction.

But for now,

let me pretend

you are a lemon tree,

abundant, with your branches

heavy,  your citrus

full of juice.

Let me make lemonade

if I can’t live you yet.

 

X T I N A

I love the “C” in my name,
but lately I’ve been curving that
open-mouthed belly into an “X.”
“X” because the ghosts
of a forgotten history
have filed themselves
into my tongue,
sawing,
switch blading,
arrow head to
grindstone,
being formed
into something
recovered.

“X” because I’ve been punctured
with bee venom, and still
refuse to forget
the taste of honey.
“X” because I never learn.
“X” because this can be
good or disastrous.

“X” because I didn’t
choose a Christian name.
“X” because I’m debating
whether the name suits me.
“X” because I’m debating
whether I suit the name.
“X” because I never signed
the perforated line,
and I never claimed
the crumpled
Washingtons with
the red-water stains
and the swarm of
syphilis-laden blankets.
“X” because I open my mouth
and it crosses itself.

“X” because those
who bore
those who bore me,
were robbed of
more than gold,
just as I was
pushed out to sea
in childhood,
without swim in my legs
or a raft to dig nails into.
“X” because in my oceanic
loss, I learned to swallow
pearls, and keep them
smooth with the rough
sands stored beneath
my tongue.
“X” because I’d rather
go by a name that means
“Here. Here I am.
The treasure that
was stolen
has returned

to shore.”

Life comes at you fast

Life comes at you fast.
Sometimes it drags
like molasses on
your breath.
But the only guarantee’s
that even slow days
end.

I’ve watched lives
snatched by accidents,
murder,
all in youth.
Sudden is the only way
I’ve seen family die.
Sudden is the only
speed I know.

Life can careen towards you
in a metal shell,
1000 lbs
or 100/mph.
You can last 27 years
or 42
or 80.

Life is a gamble
no one asked for.
A shaky bet at best.
We play our cards,
anyway.
We watch decades’ worth
of sunrises, lunar cycles,
and sunsets.

Life comes at you fast.
Even sudden goodbyes
settle into the past.

R A G E: a poem

 

Rage changes you.

Suddenly, you find the steps

you take are heavier.

Your chest balloons,

with the push

of madness + pride,

yet still manages

to remain empty.

 

I have felt the stones

in my belly, the ones

that carry

desperation +

      r   a   w

                 wishes.

I have latched myself

onto men

who have called

me friend.

I have been latched

        onto,

and called him

        pal.

 

This is divine

              retribution.

My life will spin like this:
     cycles of desire

that end in nothingness.

A wayward life;

dead ends, close calls,

and a deep wound

which I keep licking,

never letting it heal.

 

I have felt the bile

yellow my teeth.

I have felt my rage

        e r o d e

the enamel.

I have felt my open

palms    

contract

into fists.

I have

felt my tongue slide back,

ready to choke me.

All efforts to be loved

have enclosed me

behind the dark curtains

of my soaking lashes.

 

All the need for love,

never met,

has brought me

to the   r e a l i t y

that I cannot be l o v e d.

I am full of sores.

My mouth has  b l e d

from the pressure

of my teeth on my lips

This is rage.

 

I have looked men in the eyes,

I have shown them mine.

I have wandered into t h e i r

irises before unbelting

           my connection;

It felt like undressing

in front of a mirror,

only to find my

  r e f l e c t i o n

with a look of disgust

on her face.

     

     No man has camped

in the nearly

     b  l  a  c  k

of my irises.

      No man has found

me beneath the pound

of flesh on my belly.

I have led them there.

I have opened

my mouth in

anticipation

of their b r e a t h,

but all I got were

excuses. “I’m busy that day.
I can’t. I can’t.

        I  c a n ‘ t.

 

No one c a n for me.

I am not worth it.

No one will do the things

they so readily do

for others.

I do not think it’s true

   that I need to understand.

              I am worth no man’s

                         effort.

It’s me.

   So this is rage.

          A puncture,

a gash in my neck.

    No one seems to notice.

Despite my best efforts

          to find his hands in mine,

all I find is my hands,

     around my neck,

        and blood building

                  rivers

      in the lines of my palms.

So this is r a g e.

     Vaguely concealed

              wounds,

      in the shape of my hands

              around my neck.

 

I will growl,

     and I will spit.

Because this is rage.

     Because there

       is nothing else left.

Because this

   is all I can do.

Because

   t h i s

is  a ll

      I   

         h a v e.

Skin

Skin is an an extraordinary thing.
It’s stretched over our bellies,
dug deep beneath our nail beds,
hardened on our heels.
Skin swells as you do,
hangs on the old,
is pulled taut on the youthful.
It can be soft.
In some places, it’s hairy.
In the sun, watch olive women
turn a soft, toasted brown.
Sometimes it can get you into
country clubs.
Other times,
it gets you shot.

People kill others due to skin.
People blanch their skin
with powders and lye,
to feed the vision Europe
posted on the billboards
they see on their way
home, from work, every day.
Skin can turn on you.
It can blister, form scabs
over wounds you swore
you’d keep.

Skin can cost an ounce of gold,
two tons of pride, and a handful
of back teeth.
People die to stretch it on their lips,
to pull back the age that
spreads its crow’s feet near
their eyes.

Treat it well,
hydrate it,
protect it,
and it glows.
In the dark, though,
we’re all target practice.
Some grip demands in their fists
over others’ skin.
Skin can be so soft.
Nourish it,
and reap the fruits
of the clay it is molded from.
Enact violence on it,
and the hands of people,
raised to the sky,
skin rough and cracked from
work and draining protest,
will link across barbed wire,
chains,
locks,
bars.
Watch them intertwine
their fingers.
Watch them soften,
Watch as their skin glows
in defiance.

The world can leave you dry,
but you must nourish
the skin which pulls you
together.

anxiety.

My grandmother said the darkness can eat you.
She called it “el cucuy.”
I grew up fearing the outside
Where the night
And black cold resided.
But going inside
Did not resolve it.
Homes full of dolls and mirrors,
Outlines of ghosts
On the walls at night.
Never touched,
Never stared into.

I grew up stepping with caution
Wherever I went
Dirt never lifted where I stood.
The floorboards never creaked
Under my feet.

I became invisible behind my own
Shielding hands.
Quiet enough.
Quiet and safe.

It took growing up
To realize the dark
Really does eat you.
Not in the jungles
I imagined beyond my front gate,
Or the quiet
That enveloped me
At home, at night,
But in the shadows
That stretch
From my lips
When I speak
And only
Fear tumbles out.

I am.

I am all the love I need. I am all the hands I need. My arms are all the embrace I need. My lips are the only sweetness I need. My mouth is the song I’ve looked for. My feet the transportation I’ve needed. My mind the travel I’ve craved. My vision the light in front of me. My eyelids, closed, are the darkness that welcomes me into the sleep I’ve needed for far too long. My thighs are the mountains I’ve scaled. My kneecaps the hills I’ve ascended. My ribs the home I’ve knelt in. My smile the walls between my push and my pulling away. My frown the foundation that won’t shake. My ears open to the siren. My voice the siren when I weep. I am all I need. Anything else would be an addition. A man’s arms–I have my own embrace–would only add layers. Sometimes layers only complement layers. Sometimes layers only need to be shed. Sometimes layers are the tripwire waiting for you, and other times. Well, other times layers sit on your head, and make a nest in your hair. Sometimes you hate it, and sometimes you welcome it. But layers only add to a base that was already built.

I’m Sorry I’m a Nuisance

I’m sorry for being a nuisance.
I ask for too much.
I was born with
demands in my throat,
and
I was raised with
a hand to my mouth.
I was raised to believe
my voice was to
remain as quiet
as the rustle
of the roses
in my mother’s
garden, shaken
by my father’s
coat as it’s
caught in the thorns
after a weekend
at a bar.

I’m sorry for being a nuisance.
I kept speech tightly
bundled inside me
until I was 18.
I lived, a recluse,
in my room
and spent time
with my computer
instead of my family.
I grew up with
an anxiety so
crippling,
I hardly knew my own face
from avoiding reflective
material for so long.

I’m sorry for being a nuisance.
I’m just now becoming
accustomed to saying
what I feel,
or anything,
at all.
It’s like I’ve been awakened,
and I’ve realized
what I have to say
is not soft,
or easy,
and by far
not the gentle petals
my mother expected–
my father demands from me.

I’m sorry.
I’m a nuisance.
I am your Latina daughter,
and my mouth is lined
with thorns,
much to your dismay.
Sometimes I will go too far,
and I apologize.
But I refuse
to go back to that
dark place,
the caverns
of silence
which I built for myself;
not now that I’ve realized
the sunrise outside
is filled with so much
glory.

It’s A Girl

Welcome the newest girl
in the battalion
of Sandoval granddaughters.
The sonogram shows
the tiny peanut inside
my sister-in-law’s growing belly
is growing exponentially,
and looks to be
less of a baby and
closer to a monster
truck that coos.
And yet, I already know
she’s destined (doomed?) for
minnie mouse bottles,
princess ad nauseum
and pink everything.
I, for one, welcome
the bundle of feminine
joy.

She has no idea
what awaits her
in the world
outside her mother’s
vast and enveloping
womb.
Right now she
swims in an ocean
of the world
she knows.
But the world
we know
expects
the impossible–
sweetness, attitude,
and servitude.

Picture it:
“Girl Power!” is posted
on a dorm room wall
where a young girl,
new to the grit
of the real world
sits at the edge of her bed,
trying to fight off
the dizziness–a symptom
anyone who hasn’t
eaten in three days
could expect.
This young woman
was once awaited
by a family like mine.
She traveled her
mother’s channels,
tested her father’s patience,
and here she is.
Alone and hungry.
She reaches
out for a hand
or a glove
or a semblance
of skin.

My niece has formed
her skin,
her fingers, her eyes,
her toes,
and in a few month’s time,
she will be welcomed
by a family who will
love her so deeply,
she will be full to the
brim of it
for her entire life.
We will embrace her,
we will tell her she is
smart, and kind, and powerful,
and worthy.

The world will bang on the door,
hollering they need another
Instagram star,
another girl to assague
the male gaze and
boredom that engulfs
viewers who do not
experience feminine
stimulation for five minutes.
Men who push
girls into bones.

Baby girl,
you will be loved.
You will be tested.
You will be pushed,
and it will be hard to
push back.
You will be taught.
Dismissed.
Begged for.
Baby girl,
you will be fought.
And no matter
which road you take,
we will fight beside you.