What lie bef’re thou
art w’rds and thoughts
writ in the f’rm i knoweth most wondrous how
thus des’rving their owneth spot
I write a lot of poetry. Here are a few pieces from my projects. Thanks for reading!
2.12.2023 – Wonder Walk #1 – Ode Poem
At the dead end
of 58th and McKinley,
there you are, Sweet Glen
brimming with life.
It’s always a guess
Whether the gates
Are open or closed,
It’s of little consequence
With your fences bowed
in gentle retreat
in warm welcome
Nature vs. Man,
No– none of that,
there is no competition
“Fix” does not exist
among your wild flowers,
plants free and thriving
Sticks in the sky
or full of foliage,
It’s the way the trees
dreamily away from
horns and breaks or sirens
It’s the way my heart swells
as the finches and doves
but not really.
I’m of little consequence
within their home
until I come too close
I whisper, tiptoe
I am so far
from the city,
speaking in tones
to the turkey
Hours pass and
I wonder if I ever
need to go back.
often implies an escape
for you, magical grove
I like it to just mean ‘safe.’
Ever since I took poetry courses in college, I’ve been both repelled by the institutionalized ideas of poetry and compelled by them. In some senses I feel they limit creativity, yet they simultaneously challenge the writer to jump the rails of their habits; thus, opening doors to new avenues of creation. It’s a delicate balance.
One topic in particular that we focused on was “Place”. I tried to write a place poem about what I, at the time, still considered my “home”… the poem failed miserably. Why? Because I didn’t know that place. I couldn’t pick out details and make it come alive. I couldn’t identify even a microcosmic world of that place. This shook me… I realized I had constructed this idea of my home and in reality it was just me holding on to the past. “Who am I? Where do I belong? Where is my home?” I began to wonder, surrounded by peers who were born and raised in the state, with generations preceding them.
My poetry issue quickly became an identity issue. Amazing how art can wake you, right? This idea of Place and writing about Place became a fixation of mine. For the last five years I’ve been mulling over questions like, What makes Place? What makes people in that Place? Climate? Is it the people that make that place? The people and all their baggage: religion, customs, language, social system, economic system, woes, triumphs, dreams? It’s all of it. This is the challenge of a Place poem. Doing justice to the Identity of a Place is no easy feat. It takes careful study, consideration and sensitivity. I like to think of it as anthropological poetry.
So here I am, attempting to understand more fully the many places and people I’ve been so fortunate to call home, and to do them justice with my words.
Steeples and Cranes
Time punches smoke stacks
punctuated by glass sky rises
reflecting smog and sunrises
The lake effect keeps smiles
warm on frozen faces
Breweries plant seeds
in dead spaces
Cafes on every other block
push roots through pavement
Their beer, their coffee
keeps blood flowing
in stagnant places
Dirty cream brick broken up
by squeaking bar doors headed
with dingy signs that read
Blatz, Pabst, and Schlitz
On Sundays time is told
by Bell Tolls and the Packer Game
with steeples and cranes
casting shadows on corner doors
where you walk in twice
and they know your name
The river bank is transforming
into a wall of luxury apartments
marking another thick line
between communities and non-conformists
but 50 dollar parking permits,
vintage theaters, cooperatives
Victorian houses with double porches,
an underrated music scene and bike lanes
keep the pulse of the good land
beating steadily the same
West of the River (Coming Soon)
“The Fruits of Mourning” / “Los Frutos del Duelo”
This “bittersweet harvest of poems” blossomed from the acknowledgement that to make real art, it takes real work. Thus, the name sprouted from the phrase “The fruits of labor” and the concept to create a chapbook that progresses through the 5 stages of mourning was inspired by Carrie Fisher’s phrase, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.” For now, each section contains 1 haiku and 2 standard poems (mostly free verse, but there’s a couplet in there).
I’ve written two versions of this book– one in English and one in Spanish. They each have their own unique poems. In the English version I’ve deviated from the traditional progression of mourning (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) because mourning is not a linear process. I’m still considering defying order in both versions in order to stay true to the cyclical nature of it. What do you think?
Here are pieces of my heart. Here are pieces of my art.
From the section titled “Denial“
It’s hard to listen
To my gut over the noise;
My heart beats so loud
What Love Songs Have Done
“Follow your heart,”
Flashes in red over every city
It is the building block of blockbusters
The blood of every poem
So I pulled a Don Quijote
Put stars in my eyes
Saddled up on romanticism
And completely lost my way.
I thought if we could both subscribe
To the miles-don’t-matter
Love-conquers-all kind of lies
We’d eat the world.
I thought if I won your heart
we could defeat the beasts de la mancha.
We could make God and America proud
as we stroll hand-in-hand in our private musical
singing aloud, “Ain’t no Mountain high enough…”
I thought, I thought, I thought,
but it’s funny how the stomach always knows–
It aches in the same way as bones
just as they begin to grow.
One discomfort is evolutionary progression
and the other, when ignored,
means 10 months chasing fairies
in the wrong direction.
From the section “Bargaining“
I want to kiss you
still. With each quake of my heart,
for faults of my love.
Do you remember when I’d get mad
when you didn’t make the bed?
Or when you’d leave your pajamas
on the edge of the shower?
Or when I’d make you dinner
then you’d tell me you weren’t hungry?
Well, I want it all back.
If it means I could call you
to hear your stupid puns
and how they made your patients laugh.
I’d make you a thousand dinners and
let them get cold
if it means I could feel the warmth
of your forehead under my lips.
I’ll pick up your pajamas every day
if it could be me
taking them off again.
I want it all back
and this time I promise
if we start a series together
I won’t watch an episode
And the bed–
Let’s keep it messy
like our love.
De “Los Frutos del Deulo”, sección de “Depresión“
Me consuela que
el fuego se extinga
antes de morir.
El otro día iba andando por la ciudad gris
escuchando a “Caída Libre” de Zahara
y sonó esa parte que dice,
“Bailarás mi rubia para mí.”
Me sentía feliz al escuchar a una mujer
cantar esa frase para otra mujer
luego sentía otra pieza del iceberg
de mi pecho derretirse y caerse
en el mar detrás de mi ombligo.
“Lo que construimos se acabó,”
canta Natalia Lafourcade con su voz delicada.
Había un momento en el que sentía
la dulzura hasta el fondo de mi diafragma.
Hoy sabe amarga al paladar de mis oídos.
Si pudieran escupir, y si tuviera la energía
Pero no pueden y no tengo.
Marwan dice en un poema,
“Superar lo nuestro es realmente la cosa más triste
que le ha pasado al amor en toda su vida.”
Y aunque me parezca melodramática
(que también lo soy)
me llegó tanto que salí del poema
con un caso de artritis.
Escucho a Xoel Lopez declara en “Tierra”
“Me encuentro que la vida siempre tiene algo
preparado que supera cualquiera de mis fantasías.”
Incluso en este barco que se va hundiendo
cuando solo quiero quedarme quieta,
tumbada aquí y dejar que me trague,
Soy una optimista incansable
y agarraré bien fuerte a ese hilito fino.
Aun así, lo que realmente me gustaría
es que este barco atierre en alguna playa,
que borre mis huellas la marea
e igual que Caloncho desea,
“nunca regresar a la ciudad.”
De la sección “Negociación”
viajar al pasado,
lo haré mejor.
Hay que adorarte.
Hay que valorarte.
Se te admira.
Se te aprecia.
Se te quiere.
hay tantas formas
de dar cariño
con los brazos extendidos,
de ofrecer fuego
sin dar calor
y te deja ardiendo de frío.
No seas pirómana.
Basta con los juegos
me cansa tanto lío.
Basta con la voz pasiva
háblame en plata.
Dime que no soy oro.
Dime, que yo no lloro.
Estoy a dos velas.
Dime si ya sabes que nunca seré ella.
Dime ya si pretendes prender
fuego, de verdad–
Que no veo bien en la oscuridad.
From my upcoming Chapbook called, “I love you, I love you not” that chronicles the challenge of learning to love yourself, especially for women and for queer individuals within the context of this society.
Brass is Beautiful
Last night I dreamt I played the saxophone
I just picked it up and smooth jazz flew out
And I thought, “I knew it. Strings were never for me.
They’re too attached.”
I need Brass. I need to blow out my fire.
I am brash—just like the opening note of a sax,
Makes you stop and cock your head to the side
before it slides down your spine, rolls in your chest
honey oozing from every note
with the right amount of sting that makes you feel alive
Oh, invigorating, sweet, coordinated disaster.
I spent years and year pining over
wooden bodies that I would never master
I wish someone would have showed me sooner
that there’s beauty in abrasive
as long as you open and close your valves
in time with the others,
as long as you blow off your steam
and don’t forget to breathe between high notes.
That it’s not always necessary to pick, to strum
to beat to the same drum in order to make music.
That every band needs a horn or
a harmonica’s hum to break the tension of the strings
So that the soul can let loose and flow
And so that we all know, say it with me,
“We are not a cacophony
We are soloists in a stunning symphony
just playing, waiting, aching to join in the harmony.”
I’m burned and hollowed.
I’m the canoe you built
But won’t use because I have holes
And I don’t come with a penis–
I mean, paddle.
But bitch, I got sails.
Sails that will carry you through
All the noise and towards sight
That are like the smell of fresh cut grass
Or walking barefoot in a forest alive
With secrets and subtle magic,
And those that inspire the same freedom
As running with your hair down.
Sails that will carry you from
The lies of personal vehicles
To the truths of wildflowers not treated like weeds
And hikes through languages,
And cities that shut down at noon
Filled with lives and people that feel
As though you’re rediscovering the way
Car reflections are like fun-house mirrors.
Sails that will drift along cultural strata;
Depositions of metamorphic worlds
Cut with fossilized traditions.
A field lab in social geology or workshops
In scientific prose and historical poetry.
Sails that won’t glide against your tides
That will rest when your mind is stormy,
Or when you just want to dive in
And swim in your sadness.
Sails that will love even the iciest
And weakest of your winds.
And that will be patient with your
Sometimes need for stagnation
And the predictability in stillness.
Sails that will drift through seas
Of love and madness,
Surf along triumphant swells
And that will make sex like sunsets.
Sails that will catch the cool
And steady breeze that blows
Sand and bliss on the beaches
Along the Mediterranean,
And gusts that will push beyond the jetty,
Freeing you from this cookie-cutter-harbor
Life you’ve been living.
You, my dear, have the rudder in your hand
Ward off your suburban fears
And cut loose from the alcohol pond
You’ve thrown your anchor into.
The shore is too near for your
Angst-ridden heart and spirited soul,
And you won’t get much further
In a landlocked lie with a broken paddle.
Thanks so much for reading. Stay tuned for more.
Muchas gracias por leer. Mantente atentx a más.
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