Monday, September 20, 2004

coinage for sugarcane

watermelon on lips in Caracas and we are the last two left, waking to a
ribbon of beach we've renamed carcajada.
maybe getting lost in our inspiration
with trigger fingers on Mallorca island, imaginary rifles
loaded with stars.

i will indulge in daydreams
where we inherit our share of frivolous,
eat with our fingers,
write with green crayons,
dance to a tango we’ve written in our livingroom

as if suspended like paper planes for a moment. pretending isn’t easy.

i’ve auditioned for the part twice before
to be the most beautiful woman in the world
i kneel so that i won’t fall so hard the next time
we’ve used peanut butter to mend
these years between broken loaves
that always manage to get caught in your smile.
i find a thief dressed in opportunity
stuck between your front teeth
who stole more than could be repaid,
eyesight or perhaps peace of mind

but these aren’t damaged goods, just stretched
left to lay out to dry on a roof like
jalapeño peppers, tied together
adorned with light

being with you is the color of risk
the kind that keels before the galvanic and unknown
like pretending i’m nine and in a pet store
gazing at the neon goldfish in purple water
i want to scoop the shiniest one with my bare hands
and run away with its tiny heart in my fist
hoping it survives the ride home

if things were simple like see-saws or getting dirty,
i wouldn’t have to plug my ears
falling asleep with a killing moon and
a warm sea dripping from my glasses
you have bought me dancing shoes. they are too big.

pouring sugar on the floor
won’t make my spins any more graceful,
won’t take away my stretchmarks of Medea
won’t provoke the purge of past loves
even if my breath always
smelled of tamarind,
i will never be that beautiful

i could be imagining things,
ebbing the kind of ridiculous
that schedules your accidents

nevertheless, i want to love you without effort or need
pocket your honesty and carve naked yeses into your skin,
leaving your catastrophe limp.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Poem 1 of 300,000

for the 300,000 who marched to protest the Republican National Convention and the policies of the Bush Administration, and for the hundreds who have been arrested for various acts of civil disobedience, 8-31-2004

Juan is taken, as he requested,
bound and speechless
dazed and blind in bullhorn bedlam
fogs of pepper spray
and frustrated commuters
with no sympathy

he births new vision
in a slow steel blink
back of the bus, as he requested,
bound for cold steel comfort
in improvised cages somewhere
he faintly recognizes.

he will wait patiently
while the cruelty of paper grinds
toward the inevitable conclusion
that blocking a sidewalk is punishable
by ink, paper stapled to his back
as he requested, bound to the gavel
like a christian at the stake.

he will wear the mark,
as he requested, bound to repeat the offenses
forever brandishing the name terrorist
hippie scum
a number pinned to his soul
like the badges he spits upon
cameras watching his eyes
for signs of the secret car bomb
they know he intends to build

he will not find the asabache
the small onyx fist of his Cuban grandmother
it has been stolen from his knapsack,
as he requested, bound for the neck
of a policeman in search of stories for his grandchildren.

he is released, reluctantly,
a snarling judge eager to accept the plea.
the record reflects revolutionary threat
confined to home for ninety days,
as he requested, bound to his fate
like a bride,
but he smiles
even if he knows the world he leaves to his children
may never awaken to find
that everyone else
was wrong

because it is good enough
for him simply to know
that he was right.

He is the face in the reporter's photograph
one button of flesh
like one droplet in the hurricane.
the poet moves his pen and refuses to stop,
for Juan is one poem
out of three hundred thousand
yet to be written.

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