Showing posts from 2011


old calendar…  a museum of Mayan  tapestries 

Your Name

Your Name It is time for me to crack open my skull, see what’s inside, invent a new way of looking at things.  I know I am dying but why should that make a difference? People die one day at a time. I shall build a house that will stand forever, with a smile folding at the corner of my mouth, and a star sitting on my tongue like a stone around which your name blossoms distorted


old calendar … I let the dead sleep as they deserve

For the days when the lights switch on and off by themselves

For the days when the lights switch on and off by themselves and all the voice messages are from enemies or other people Only the good old days lie between verses we have already written For the fruit of fear in each December Will this be the year earth refuses to forgive us with a blush of green For the assumptions of next winter’s chill and for the quiet days in between Your face mingled in the poinsettias after a brief rain  


waning moon trying to touch what matters

On my Bed Thinking About You

On my Bed Thinking About You If I could touch without hurting you I would run all the way to the river and back.  But nothing has changed. You are voiceless, crouched in some long-forgotten childhood hiding place, a dark jungle where every tree looks like every other tree. I long for your scent, your knees pushing against my thighs, but what is asked for is often destroyed by the very words that seek it. My bed is a fossilized prison where I learn to make love to you forever.


window shopping… the conversations  we won’t  be having


shrouded moon—  feeding a chicken  to the boa


Eulogy For Yorelys Beaten, raped, and murdered, our child lies in a coffin brutally deserted. What monsters with nightmares hidden in their eyes do things like this? Neither day nor night can heal her now. Soon the heat will fuse her lurid eyes  to diamonds her sullen tongue to quartz.   Then she will fly and never bleed again. 


Ghost  A dark jungle,  looking like a dark jungle, is where I am never quite myself. I don't want to trip  over its silence. I don’t want a life apart  from the pain I conceal  from portions of myself, from your voice crying  to someone else  come play in the rain, love . This is not the same summer rain. Our first season of separation I counted dead roses  in the back yard. I didn't write our names on the mailbox. You couldn't listen to my dreams. I couldn't question yours. The scars are there.  I don’t know how many years I spent  trying to forget, afraid of how many years  I spend trying to remember.


twilight—  a hawk builds its nest  in a windy place


new year’s morning... the hawk builds its nest  in a windy place


Seasoning My eyes are rehearsing for when the winter solstice ends. As the light wanes I see what I thought was reluctance covering my face.  I want to expand every moment into an emotional chemistry that includes the smell and texture of every lover I’ve had. But the solstice is ending, old recalled lovers who look like glasswing butterflies stretched across other summers find the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow.

A Litany for Survival

A Litany for Survival For A.L. An elephant walked into my bedroom reciting a litany for survival   She spoke about her brown mother and sister having died too many deaths that were not their own  She spoke about redemption and a new religion She spoke about winter people taking off their blood masks and monuments for the children of war She spoke about hunger and blind feet trying to find their way to the sun She spoke about a greedy black unicorn that was not free She spoke about having two faces and a frying pan to cook up her daughters She spoke about two men with stone eyes making love in the hallway they were lying like felled maple Soon the hallway was covered with these beggars and I couldn’t pass over them Perhaps I wasn't meant to survive

Caetano Veloso


Published Haiku

fading light… the steady thrum of rain on the windows plowed earth… bullet-riddled boys littering the streets vacant sky— a graveyard angel rising above the pebbles hurricane season… the severed branches still green autumn rain... I collect my thoughts and turn a page moonlight moiré … autumn waves foam on the sand shoulder to shoulder we stand at his wake... autumn rain boarding windows the hurricane moves closer to my island autumn twilight... crossing the river stone by stone sloping hills now and then a crow caws

At the End of Night

At the End of Night I exist to be conquered I, set against all other I’s, even nature, am a stillborn poem taken out of  my mother’s  pain.  Once I was immortal beside the sea condemned to endless mornings, empty of the knowledge of manmade rituals until out of my mouth that knows came the shape I was seeking for reason.   Now I am lost among  the stiff trees.


autumn deepens … the taste of rain and sunset

To the Survival of Lizards

To the Survival of Lizards Call me Narcissus for I complain of being lonely call me what I miss whatever it is call me lizard and arrogant   nightmare on your blood moon your itch to destroy the indestructible faces of important men. Call me diseased with problems of original sin because of my worries call me your myth of father and son your determination in the most conceited image within me for I am you in your most moral assumptions scuttling through the cracks created to admit me in your living rooms my honor comes with your hate by imitation and your refusal to live on.


red moon  summer falling away  from the trees

That Side of a Shade of Sorrow

That Side of a Shade of Sorrow My daily crucifixion is to be alone.   My voice has that side of a shade of sorrow, it is calcified.  Perhaps from the anger of both my father and I.  I dream incessantly about us working in unison, but my dreams eventually turn into nightmares.  I just realized my home is not his house I am free to come and go as I please.  The altar has fallen, and I shall learn to conquer yes.   I never loved you, so free me quickly before I destroy us.

Paper Thin Walls

Paper Thin Walls He speaks in a scorching voice inventing what he cannot promise. I wonder if my neighbor listens to my toilet flushing, believing the other is always lying in wait.


Nation Look mother, I peeled away your anger and stopped building sand castles by the sea. The nation is riddled with thieves and no door opens easily. My childish dreams? Fulfilled, and laid to rest. 

poem was entered into a competition

poem was entered into a competition

The Deadly Mirror

The Deadly Mirror Inconclusive thoughts are what I hear inside my head: because the mind’s eye lit the sun.   Must I give up the world to be saved?  Shall I forget his lips on my nape to write what I perceive to be a new earth? My imagination flutters like a swallow, and cries like a hungry baby. I sit and play the saxophone in self contemplation.   The mirror tells the truth, but not enough to merit constant thought. I am folding inward over and over.  Six inches of words and I am betrayed, hypnotized into believing I have achieved all there is to achieve in this art. Therefore, I start a new contemplation of the swallow and I listen to the fragment of phrases like Imitations, Life Studies and Notebook.  I will never find the one flower that sustains all the earth.

at the hospital

at the hospital a sudden change in temperature,  malady of autumn I am utterly empty only a name tag to identify me as survivor tulips search for me but in this winter light I have wanted to efface myself the air is calm yet tulips fill it like a loud noise I must concentrate commit myself to rest, place all my attention on taking it easy


Headache Soon I’ll be a fugitive of my own skin, raw. I’ve chosen the rare sensation of  tainted blood to outfit my bow of thorns.  Today I will not clutch a fist in the wind’s sneer, nor will I disenchant my examiners. I will wait for the postman to deliver the world turning from my rented attic; wait for the headache to ease, or go away all together.

Rain and Sound

Rain and Sound Listen to me as one listens to the rain: we are distracted once again.  Night approaches with its dense cloak of fear, an assault for which there is no cure. It is never winter here, yet the hibiscus have been censored like men trying to show their affection for each other.  Air, water, and flower there is no weight in these words. Night has the figurations of mist. Listen to me as one listens to the rain : (Censor my desire for writing you poems.) Not attentive, not distracted, only as if I were the rain. Hear me out until the asphalt is wet.  You are you in night steam.  You enter my eyes as your steam crosses the street.  The sun does not varnish the curve. We are both steam.   Steam of another censored flower, lotus.


city of enemies… wet hibiscus glisten in the light


love crimes… the imprint  of a fallen angel in the line of fire

Deep Within

Deep Within The alchemy of inner worlds, Can I possibly explain it? The chemistry of silence Hidden deep within to protect The unborn word from the lions Roaming about the middle earth. The comatose twin that does not have The speech impediment and writes Riddled poems in shorthand. The rapture of inner worlds, Can I possibly clarify it? The strength is there, yet the will Waits peacefully hidden from the mind. A day like today I will find The strength to sharpen the pencils And sit down to write.


summer night…  the heady scent of gardenias  and mown grass


summer night… the heady smell of gardenias and mown grass

Un Solo Dolor

Un Solo Dolor El sol se destroza en pequeños arcoíris para cruzar mi piel y hacerme sudar como si estuviese acostado cerca de una tortuga en el piso de un jardín botánico.   No quiero seguir viviendo, solo espero que se apague mi corazón de un solo dolor.   Luego me iré a dormir con alguna serpiente mansa en el casco de la ciudad para no aburrir a los gallos ni provocar tormentas.    


autumn dusk . . . the creak of broken beams in bamboo coves


Curled Soon my heart will stop, and I will balance my affections against a different feather. You won’t anticipate the pain that rocks me, my soles curled like a sleeping infant’s. I will gather the lilies and set them on our bed, but you will be missing, absent, gone; going up, going down, with a stranger brushing your arm in a hotel elevator.  Yes, stuck with another man cruising and brushing his arm against your elbow. And I will not be there to save you from all the gossip.  You will slip away with him into a corridor until you reach a door that he will open.  Then you will enter the room and I will be missing.




tiene credenciales  callejeras,  gata sin tejado madonna de barrio


butterfly kites flutter against the ocean air El Morro


plowed earth bullet-riddled boys littering the streets


sloping hills now and then a crow caws


the steady thrum of rain on the windows… late autumn


brisa salada sopla sobre nuestros cuerpos noche otoñal

The key you have not lost

The key you have not lost                             is there between those spaces, not by or in, but flanked between the here and there, living like a fugitive on your skin. It is a prelude to our memoirs, the text of a poem fused with nectarines, an exploration through Copper Canyon , visions of Haiti ’s angels licking my ears, a hypnotic dance on sands matching the colors that mesh upon your hips, an experiment we refuse to put down, an invitation to cross the doorway of the home I no longer occupy. The key you have not lost is not the manual for a digital camera, or calendar entries for next month’s readings. It is not the Popular Mechanics article you wrote to put food on our table, or a classified add on craigslist. It wants to be the bungee jump into the pangs of a deer in heat, the obituary of bolted doors, or a listing for all the vacant walls on which we'll scribble our graffiti.


from the text of a slavers journal, words that give history an iron taste

The Illusion

The Illusion You punish me to provide a spectacle of excess—tamp my testicles with affirmations of your power. Your mannequins blow and breathe urgency like naked bald-hydras morgue between Santiago and Lima where desert sands are voiceless. What is different between us is the intensity of our attraction. Oh, how many nooses I've stretch around the necks of gigolos at cul-de-sac social clubs where cellos moan and mouths wilt as I listen to tangos and pick up sugar dropped on the table trying to ignore the blood on my recently buffed shoes.

On Family Days

On Family Days You don’t try hard enough, she’d say. All the while, his thoughts grow increasingly gray.   She can’t smell the fear he inhabits, a macabre work of art from which he comes and goes, the run of wind at a deserted murder scene.   She forgets, as he forgets, control will arrive soon enough, and that brachiated spectacle of blame and praise will dissipate like hurricanes dispel after they touch land.   They’ll both be left wondering about the pieces of debris, the river’s current, and how much to fix of whatever comes undone.


we stand shoulder to shoulder at the wake… days of long rain

Quilts, Flags, and other Wrappings

Quilts, Flags, and other Wrappings I started the quilt when the only reminder of civility I had was a stuffed doll whose button eyes fell off. Sewed while bathing under the moon’s eclipse and watched you throw my porcelain spoons— a collection of gifts, against the wall. I stopped stitching when you drove that bulldozer in sight of all those present at Jose's welfare funeral just because he was gay and my friend. I glared at the tangled patches of quilt as they threw me into a paddy wagon took me to jail for protesting that unwinnable war. I climbed into bed even as Allen lay covered with Kaposi’s sarcoma to calm both our fears, his and mine. Studied you when a signature to keep your only brother         from becoming homeless made you shudder at the funeral expense if he died while the blotch of endearment you gave him was still warm on that piece of white insignificance. Then I added the names.

Mr. Morris

Mr. Morris Mr. Morris was a tenant in my house, and a friend. He wore the night on his skin, a panther copiously sprinkled with stars draped in spider webs. After a long day's work he’d sit by the phone in the kitchen and counsel dying men I’d never see. When the virus spread and independent living was no longer an option he wouldn’t complain, show fear or pain, even when I’d rush him to the emergency room. It was in a sweat lodge with Mr. Morris that my feathers dropped as he rose above the cornfield like a vision. 


Lucas We met one last time before his corpse was washed.   I couldn’t get past the odor of medicine, the skin and bones talking from the wheelchair stopped me cold.   Lucas?   Lucas… I didn’t recognize the proud man I once knew. He said: Come, give me a hug.   I held on to a chair worried I’d faint, but I couldn’t betray the hope invested in an embrace. He found substance in the gathering of friends. I know because I am acquainted   with my sins, and all the ways my fears have killed.


our Sunday feast at the water’s edge autumn evening

Dead Willow

Dead Willow [ There is a straw mattress full of bedbugs under the dead willow, where the tears of every whore in town are as open as red hibiscus. It is the only place left to wait. ] We went our separate ways, but when I reached the train tracks I picked up a few rocks to throw at the racemes of trouble hanging in the meadow orchard ahead. My feet, undefined wanderings of a bite, were in pain as I suspect they will continue to be until my time spills over. I knew there was a mystic in the ordinary—(à la Rilke) that would carry me (Oh Orpheus sings!   Oh tall tree in the ear!) through the rest of the day, like that first cup of coffee, or a prayer said in the distant past.