Brow Bar

Saddled just above my brown eyes
are my grandmother’s eyebrows.
Hair as thick as her bloodline,
in my early youth,
I attempted to thin them out
with shears.
School mates would harp
on their potential,
if only they were tamed.

I have hacked
at my grandmother’s
legacy for decades.
Tried to thin it out.
Tried to not offend
others with
its brashness.

They say eyebrows
frame your face,
and they sit just
above the windows
to my truest self.

Then why lay waste
to my truest self?
Why should I find
unnatural arches
to appease the
stranger
at the supermarket?

They are there
as a unique frame
for my unique face.
If you take offense
at the amount of hair
my face is capable
of sprouting,
then try and match
the history of hairy
Europeans in Aztec
territory, and tell
my grandmother’s
lineage to get it
together, and take
their asses
to a Benefit
Brow Bar.

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Blackout Poetry

I attended a blackout poetry workshop today, and I absolutely fell in love with the form. I attempted a couple during the workshop, but I got real into it when I came home. Here are a couple of the better ones I made at home. 🙂

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a cascade

suggesting

life happened in

me.

no, I won’t

forget

my words.

I reach my voice.

shrugged shoulders.

back to earth, suddenly

calm, I

smile.

I stay.

Scan_20170923.jpg

island smaller than rage,

thieves, and time.

I smiled in

the green clearing.

small skin.

old boys.

look in to help.

new prayer

i have hoarded
a lifetime of introductions.
the window
to my mouth is boarded
with new beginnings.
my tongue is lined
in a fine film of
starting overs.

i’m done with
new leading
nowhere.

i anticipate
a reply from
dedication
and perserverence.
i’ve dialed three
times now.
i hope they
can hear me.
i leave a
voicemail
in prayer.

woman,

how many ways can you spell ‘mistake?’
how many ways can you tongue
a sore insult in your mouth
before you learn to spit it out,
and replace it with loving-kindness?
i hope you can look in the mirror
and realize you’re more
than a sum of mistakes.
you are not a collection of defects.
you are not the pain
of destructive explosion;
you’re the ecstasy
of discovering new ways
to spell ‘love.’
you hold napalm
in your palms,
and i hope you shape
it into your own body,
and incite a revolution
of motion in your insides.
a movement. a choreography
of acceptance
of self.
i’ve felt it, too

 

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.