Latex Ball, 2001

I nearly die laughing you’re a hunter in costume—Eckō Unltd. Pepe Jeans, Timbs with the tag an official member of the House of Decoy in the cab you’re pungent—consumed by the Michael Jordan Cologne I gave you inching close, you affirm you’ll shield me from the freaks two tabs of Love dissolve under my tongue—it […]

Mother Tongue

Lengua de mi madre, have you forgotten me +++++in greenness of your green Havana palms, in your thousands of orchid +++++blooms, in woven shades of your mango trees, flamboyant trees stretching +++++like a brocade or aged fishing net? When did I lose what I never received from you? +++++Some part I’m missing or some part […]

this is an offering

we, the grandmas practicing tai chi
in the public library, we the aunties gossiping
over mahjong and tea, we the pacific mall karaoke /
queens, we the tender queer who finds self care
in astrology, stakes their dreams on something bigger. /
we the kid who crosses out her poetry
so she can become a doctor.

Elegy for Don Lalo’s Gold Tooth

The streets near abuela’s would crumble with each step so we’d run the two blocks to Don Lalo’s bodega, where we’d snatch tamarindo and Rancherito’s from plastic shelves within our reach and pay with smiles and small-handed pesos. He’d smile back, his gold tooth a flash of every hissing summer we’d spent chasing frogs around […]

Selecting

I stand in the closet choosing which of my father’s belts my mother will beat me with. Bridle, latigo, braided or smooth. His tastes contain so many fashions. Night cow hanging on top of the hill breaking grass— when they come for you do not give your skin. Countless children depend on your escape over […]

Reiteration

My mother is an assembly line of mirrors: my too borderless hair, my two-handful hips, all the parts the mannequin would not hold. If you subtract one mother, how many are left? This problem is called adoption. My mother is a locked file cabinet. No, my mother is the one who put my mother inside […]

I Wasn’t One & Pressing Comb

I Wasn’t One (Inspired by Yehuda Amichai) I wasn’t one of the stolen. I wasn’t one of the many million who had once only known the sweetness of the sea. I wasn’t confused cargo stacked like the bricks of Babel in the belly of a wooden beast. I wasn’t shackled to my skin, forgotten in […]

Pacific hypergirls go strut

Whispered messages dissolve in rivers of attention and glances A long sigh exhales through the valley to Kaipara-moana Molecules of sound emanate from luminous branches A syntax of yellow leaves on black trees Filaments of falling marked by fluid silvery drops Accurate shapes, incarnate wairua exclamations Hallucinations of glamorous echoing veils Silky clay nostalgias, transgressions […]

You Steal the Butcher Knife

because you were never more than hands to boil the deer skulls, a tongue to lick the blood that dried between the creases of his knuckles. Just bones to grip and flesh to fuck on whiskey nights when his apartment stank of you. Only a bale of wheat left out in late November frost. You […]

Notes on an Empty Sky

—for James Fuson (20 Years Reflections of an Empty Sky, Soft Sculpture Press, 2014) from a prison cell window seven inches of rectangular blue sometimes gray or black, but no stars the spotlights too glaring once a month the setting moon before dawn he stares pencil moves—tiny scratching of the mouse’s scurrying feet in the […]

Orchard Burning

This is the tree I had my first kiss—it was like a viewing, gory and wet. Classmates in almond branches, watching the wreck. Doing nothing to feign casualty. This is the water tower I’ve told you of many times. Yes, it was the drinking supply I swam in, naked. Yes. I got a thrill, at […]