Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For His Vato, He Cut Squash

And thinking that perhaps one day that knife would occupy my own hand, I watched.
In the folds of my lung, I jot notes: Seventeen wedges. Three-quarters
Of the pot. Girth and deposits of cumin that were not in the appearance of pods.
I’d never seen cumin take any other form. A flame danced.
“He gets home around 7.” Wide-mouthed.
Chin lifting. Inspections. Inheritances.
At nineteen, I am a witness.
Expectedly, circles of the calabaza proved buoyant.
Fat thighs waddle then sink. Drunken meat plops after its sheath
Has submit its flavor.
And “They’re fucking with him at work.
I don’t like for him to be hungry, to go without.”
Creeper confesses of his vato, “He works his ass off,” and
Though we all have had long days, I believe immeasurably at that moment
that his vato’s day is somehow longer than ours.
My camarada has already put in his shift. I still owe hours of my own.
Diligence, devotion.
For others, he’s cut things before. If not this dish, then, radish
And espinacas that bleed the axis of fingers green, flautas, camaron,
Picadillo, guisada. I will learn.
With no abuela or jefa, brown water shows its irregularity—
comino and the blue pot I now cook in for my own.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mud and Roaming

And in the foothills, the undefended slope of the Clown arm
Plucks corn from tall stalks; the throat opens unkindly
For their girth. Unfertile soil, inconstant and wet, splotches
The knees of my Bens when nothing else but the muddy ruin of
my pantalones harms me—he gave me these. I peel
back ojas vigilantly, hungrily.

Rhythm. Reflex. The soquete seeps into me, and
the corn dodges teeth, goes deep, yet kernels scrape teeth.
Forgiveness awaits its place atop wrist skin;
Three crosses deem me over. Maize, mush, slobber
All over my chin, I delve and forage and lunge
toward the thin cadre of sick jesters talking shit,
where memory, like my footing, has slipped—

Prodding him, inciting shit. Someone better out there.
My face has its own day in mirrors. It’s the volume of
what I cannot absorb: texts and hearsay.
On a night when my first lover died, and I’m alone, honing
The will to not join him, it’s someone else he’s with.
A neighbor. A bear. A man he’d rather spend his hours
Beside. I don’t know where they’ve gone.

And thus, it’s the coraje in the wall of my throat that bloats
The eye, the unsoundness of the ear, the unconscious
crack in the fourth rib where life has kicked the shit outta me,
and I’ve allowed it to. I own it. I have accountability.
This coraje like the coyote behind my Tia Leecha’s cuartito
howls, sniffs, roams. My coraje, too far from home.
Soon, my mouth will begin to foam.
Old boy isn’t around when I’ve come to knees and knuckles.

The floorboards embrace what buckles in my knees.

It’s his roaming that hoards me. At 3 am, it’s hard to unload.
Repentantly, I Embrace the Jolt Inflicted by the Strange Fit of an Heirloom Traje

A bid for drapes, guey.
Routs of the agile homeboy and his tapa.
La corbata. Estos estirantes. Ay, jaino—

9:51 pm. I pay my respects.
And this velvety arm of nite unhinged,
So flaccid, and whose apologetic aguilas
magnify a root;

Lungs veer. The tripas leer. And the pupil is
a stout veneer of pinstripe and oyster shell.
Admire. Admonish.

This is not 1941. I am Stranger in these
Penner Baldwins.

Looking, looking but no cliqua. No ride.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Untitled, Old-Ass Poem for JS that I Forgot I’d Composed until the Hour I Reminisce after One of Our Saturday Night Fights

And the chupetones!
Placid now that you’re gone:
Explosive beneath the tongue.
Y cuando regresaras, when the Midwest
relinquishes you to me, then,
fade, fade--this grip of tristesa
of not having you, of knowing you;

The house has taken you away.
I am crimson and Orchids!
Because of you, I swell.
Vessels, guey, venas, and this tussle of sabanas:
Blossoms. Tu bigote. Tu vergota.

And the throat it’s own violet, it’s own
Verge of salt milk, and the whole rotunda of
All the horizons and the silent spin of the earth
And the Spook Lights,
Imperceptible, except to us; that
Ripple in your breathing that only I detect

At 5 am, while 37 whirs like vacuums and
Mechanical virtues. Voracity has never perplexed me
Like this. Vexing me when I want and want
After not having wanted shit for years.

I peer into your Seminole life.
Target the perrito’s eyes, his limp leg and compulsive
Kiss, the three dogs in bed with me--
They look for you in the window.
Fair Avenue, the xolos, my ribs await you.
You’ve put it in me. Blamelessly.
Si, guey. Si.

Into dots and spinners—disavowals, tallies.
Out of furrows and double sixes: fanaticisms and freak shows.
I’ll mangle bones and twist trombones because this
longitude sits at the end of the farthest pier where I
Deposit our box of bones and the toll this year
Has taken on me, and, and, and… For so long you
were mine—inconsequentially, posthumously mine.

Perspiration. Big Sleepy watches over me now. My company,
My guard, my connect. Malt 40s uncouthly sketch globes,
perfect orbs out of the fret inflicted by the one bald bulb
perched like a broke-down star atop the summits of our scalps.
Brenton Wood, Sunny, Mary Wells, Otis Redding, others…

And the homeboys’ tongues roll:
risitas, miradas, these estirantes clutching clavicle and ribs.
I remove my tapa out of courtesy. Place it top-down out
Of herencia and honoring of the ones that came before you.
I have not been by the pad on Lorena Street in months.

I cannot say what’s happened to our shit, though it feels as if
All of it is in me, now, rolling as if cerros were sequestered
Syllables unleashed, and these blue dominoes in rows before my
Fingertips are a queue of soldiers unquestioningly, stalwartly,
awaiting decree.

Answers. Prior to all this, I was chromosomes and mere soliloquies.
Afterward, I’ve put this pack of bones at the bottom of the sea and
what giving is left but to give and give and give the rest.
At this odd hour, the ferris wheel goes luminously, and
I’m armed with little more than my bus ticket and this
bag of kites and paños, which surely will devolve;

His paños involve hours and clever assemblages of watchtowers and
webbing and clowns. Does this bone in the lung ever dissolve?
Does this queue of soldados get resolved?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In the Front Room of Our Canton, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008


i. Impeccability
Beneath the girth of Texas skyscrapers:
Gleam and circumstance never
Cease to amaze. The Esquire, 2004:
Turiqueando. The exiting that follows,
Caló falls from the Chuco’s mouth
attached in saliva and descuentos to
Toothpicks and unremitting frajos
revealing 1933 ain’t too far away
from Commerce Street and archetypal
Aztlan handshakes, homes;

ii. Extolment.
Pompadour, whose svelte firmesa forms
When clenched teeth like fingers and
Pomada have chiseled—‘ta de aquellas;
Tangibility. Adulate. I walk indebted to
Estéicis and drapes,
estirantes, esquina,
vaselina, rolas, tapa
and chain.
I am missing my own feather.
The Lion’s Den is a million miles away.

Ya estuvo.
From my abuelito’s cantón, the
2 x 4s and shotguns surmise
A similar tacuche tie and chocolate traje once
dangled from a fucked-up chandelier
we needed to cut down as if it were
rancid fruit or flotsam;

Faultless, stiff fact of cotton. Whetted,
the white ridge of one undershirt, now,
me pica; In this parietal lobe, this camiseta
clings to our skins and harrows ancestry
and the technologies of spray starch and planchas and

what I devote my Southside mornings to;

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In the Form of Dead Leaves and Torcidos

I called for backup, and what came caused dissonance instead, and the kind I was unable to scrape away with heirloom fileros or assuage in stages.

And December arrived unapologetically.

And offerings like tortillas and sacrificios render shit useless when days accumulate into solitude, which rises, de una manera, where satellites or the moon should stand.

Withstand. Aguantate.

Immediately, the unwelcomed aniversario. A veterano’s passing, and again, I am unarmed. Down-ass memorias. A down-ass vato.

Immediately, the deconstruction of altares and egos, and the things I lost to la pinta never, never remit. Marigold petals shred themselves and rot.

I ran. Season of placazos. Epic shit. Clowns and alebrijes. Watch towers and praying hands. Heavy shit. The untold fortunes of taggers and contraband Sharpies.

To Lorena Street. Phone calls and other viajes. An escapulario clings to my rotund shoulder. Atop my wrist, I situate three crosses: Forgiveness and Brenton Wood.

I like the way he loves me.

Paños, kites, cruzitos. El Monte and santitos. Sureños and 63 rosario beads. His Ben Davis.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On the Search for Good Chile and a Bag of Ice

Listen to what we consume at the 7 am hour—
If not fried pig mixed with egg, then cleverly pickled
Slivers of cactus paddle aside the innards of cows stewed
Amid the reddest of the red liquids. I am steady now
In how I squeeze a .$79 feast into my esophagus
Into fuel for a day’s toil. Steady yet rambunctious in
Squirting seeds from plastic containers of the greenest
Serranos, and it’s this acquired joy:
the nicest chile punching the throat followed by
gulps upon gulps of Big Red, and is it too late to
wake this eyelid, too late once the seeds have
lost their own vesicles and the chicharron has found
its way off my plate? I am worthy. A bag of it
melts in the bed of my truck, too earnest to flee.
The asphalt on Fredricksburg wrinkles (unwilling, unworthy glow),
beneath the weight of a squinty sun and tire treads that
push and propel ice toward upper deck freeways,
high rises and casitas in other sides of the wide lens
this place is known to harbor amongst its Westside
cache of nopalitos, menudo and Big Red.