Monday, January 11, 2010


Tied, this man I know
had his belly pressed to asphalt
and had his wrists, thin and bony, 
tethered atop his spine
(ankles there, too)--
traps and black tar and thighs
override a 9:30 sky:  
while hosed over him: orange,
orange, the iridescent orange,
marvelous orange, which those
of us birthed in barrios and on calles know 
(so pretty, if he was not so forcibly bound
and spitting up sludge over lips 
and chin).

“Why??  Why??”
Another part of his heart arrives.
I never knew the young vato’s name,
yet, his namesake was known.  They called
him Speedy, and he lived someplace down
the road, and surely, this one called
Speedy must have known
what his old man was up to.
Must have been able to figure
it out.  “What the fu...!?!?”
His young vato’s voice, a harpoon.

And then, the youngster gets balls
and thinks he’ll rush to where
the chotas have his old man pinned;
“Get back!  Get back!”
A scuffle.  Turmoil.  
I remember the way my own cora
put a fist on me that was soon a grip
above the crux of elbow and hindsight 
on which I’d soon, like that youngster, 
rest the brunt of all my questions and all
my kites.

On the ground, skin glimmers.
Face busted up and sausage-like,
not palpable, not meaningful.
“This ain’t our shit,” my own old
man goes.  We climb our stairs.  
Inside, we can hear the shouts.  
When the shots come, I don’t even watch
from the flimsy bed sheet
draped grandly to the tall window 
of our Lorena Street canton.  
In the morning, I watch an anciana
hose the place on the concrete
where Speedy’s vato gave up his blood.

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