Poet

“You are a poet,”
She told me,
And maybe words can make it so.
My pen blazes its trail
Heedless
Regardless
Careless
And yet
So
Very
Careful.
I’d like to be a poet
But I am an adolescent:
Ungainly, gawky, disjointed
Growing, perhaps,
Maturing, maybe,
But still covered in those awful pimples
And sweating through my makeup.
I feel a longing
Discontent
Baffling in a way that makes perfect sense.
An “if only” added to a “but actually”
Sandwiched between two slices of denial
With a side of greasy fries.
I pause to self-edit
But make myself press on.
Maybe if I don’t acknowledge the failures,
They’ll simply
Disappear.

Written March 13, 2014

Psychosis

A swirl of smoke paints its way to the heavens. Hate, contempt, anger, and despondency weave their strands.

Gray gives way to a multihued masterpiece: poison green and fevered pink, sickly orange and despairing blue, a psychosis that pulses with the beat of the bass.

The ephemeral tapestry blisters, shudders, and gives way to the breeze, dissipating, leaving only the rank stench of pollution in its wake.

Ritual Butterfly Cleansing

eeloeiah eeloeiah
aripoa mata ooeiah
eeloeiah eeloeiah
aripoa mata ooeiah

rattle shakes
flames flicker
tattooed eyes dart and quiver
shaman dances ’round the fire
smoke billows from the pyre.

eeloeiah eeloeiah
aripoa mata ooeiah
eeloeiah eeloeiah
aripoa mata ooeiah

wings are torn
body burned
flying beauty slain and spurned
shaman crushes ‘neath his foot
insect majesty ground to soot.

eeloeiah eeloeiah
aripoa mata ooeiah
eeloeiah eeloeiah
aripoa mata ooeiah

fluttering stopped
life ended
guttering flames unattended
anxiety gone, stress relieved
ritual complete, goal achieved.

If I had tears to shed

If I had tears to shed for you,
I’d weep until the puddle soaked my feet.
Kneeling, I’d spread their moisture across the floor
And they’d freeze to twisted stamps of sorrow.

But as I stood, gnarled fingers outstretched
Toward your miserable form,
My shuffling feet would shatter the ice
Into a million jagged fragments,

And when I turned away in horror
The shards would fly as daggers,
And shred your tortured body and soul,
Till naught remained but an icy pool of crimson gore.

Palsied hands trembling, pressed tight against my thudding eyes,
I’d leave you, unaware of the destruction I’d wrought
But for the shuddering of my shoulders
And a stomach-churning scent of salt and iron in the air.

If I had tears to shed.

constriction

a dull throb at the back of my neck
               urging my head to topple right off
a glass bubble in the small of my back
               waiting to burst into slashing shards
an ache under my skin
               pulsing to the rhythm wrong, wrong
a feeling of otherness
               making me wish the separation was complete

my short legs unwieldy like a newborn foal’s
               my head heavy as a stone
my small frame freakishly gargantuan
               in the body that was once a home

cheeks flushed
               eyes bloodshot
face puffy
               flesh swollen
fingers brittle
               waiting to break
a pain behind the eyes
               that no sleep can relieve

I wish I could escape,
I wish I could be free:

curling my toes
               tucking my legs
hugging my arms
               bowing my head

sinking inward
               closer, smaller
until I just
               disappear

Lo que he visto

he visto la guerra
he visto el hambre
he visto el fin de toda la tierra
y he visto el mundo, lleno de sangre.

pero lo peor que he visto en mi vida
— lo que mi corazón nunca olvida —
fue la cara, por lágrimas envuelta,
de una niña, pequeña y muerta.


I have seen war
I have seen hunger
I have seen the end of the entire earth
and I have seen the world, full of blood.

but the worst that I have seen in my life
— that which my heart never forgets — 
was the face, wrapped in tears,
of a girl, small and dead.

Cosante del cojo

English translation follows.


Con la cara consternada
y la boca torva
el cojo en la calzada

Vida de dolor y la enorme carga
vida que se marchita
el cojo en la calzada

Falta de esperanza
piedras pesadas y la lluvia
el cojo en la calzada

Lágrimas de la alondra callada
desesperación infinita
el cojo en la calzada

El sol escondido detrás de la montaña
la sombra creciendo sin parar
el cojo en la calzada

Con la cara consternada y muerta
y la luz apagada
el cojo en la calzada


With the dismayed face
And the grim mouth
The cripple on the footpath

Life of pain and the enormous burden
Life that has withered
The cripple on the footpath

Lack of hope
Heavy rocks and the rain
The cripple on the footpath

Tears of the silenced lark
Infinite despair
The cripple on the footpath

The sun hidden behind the mountain
The shadow growing without pause
The cripple on the footpath

With the face dismayed and dead
And the light gone out
The cripple on the footpath


Written in December 2013 and inspired by Octavio Paz’s poem “Cosante.”