My Body, My Choice

Vinny chats me up as one can do in 8th grade

(as boys can do in 8th grade), and says,

“Girls look better with their hair down.”

 

10th grade:

Allie tells me over pizza in a torn up, faux leather booth:

“People think you’re really pretty.”

 

“Take the bait,” they whisper.

“We are you.”

Your face, your words,

your worth:

we hold them in our hands.

 

I grew fragile.

 

“Not to mention you’re beautiful,”

a text from Devin I saved on my phone for 2 years,

a reminder that if I kept this up,

I could be loved.

“You’re special,” they said.

“Your precise,” they reminded.

“Keep it up.”

I never heard them clearly;

it was always muffled in my ears.

 

Confidence was for the battlefield,

and without cleats on my feet

and a soccer ball underneath

I depended, fully,

on this

damn

face.

 

Middle school:

Vinny was saying he “saw my potential”

and in that moment he pointed a finger at a moon

I did not know — that lights up the sky day and night.

With each step forward from that statement came promise,

like one day my body would, miraculously, lift off the ground and fly.

 

High school: I worked, observed, learned to follow the rules.

I made friends. I chased boys (or at least followed the chasers).

I saw a twinkle form in my eyes like the sun hitting my face

and I felt something grow: confidence big enough to sew a sweater.

That confidence was soft and warm and humble,

each stitch a modest color, so I put it on:

oh, the comfort…the ease.

 

What sweater?

This is my skin, clear as day.

I don’t need all of these words–

they’re woven into my Long Island DNA

and somewhere…somewhere…I seized it.

 

College: I was prepared!

My sweater was woven!

My charm was rooted!

Soccer, friends, face.

 

And then, college happened.

And it was full of devils,

people a mere sweater cannot take on

you want — comfort?

We’ll beat you.

You want — friendship?

We’ll desert you.

You think you’ve got talent?

We’ll show you.

Bam               bam              bam.

My skin faded, my body ached,

and what can a person do but blame what is left?

 

Wisdom swims through my veins.

Nana has her Jesus

and I have my Julia de Burgos

and that’s quite alright with me.

I build a new ship to freedom…

something you cannot wear, but ride–

invisible on all sides, impenetrable,

so much so that my world forgets the words

“break” and “fear” and “fall,”

that Kenny’s story can be his own.

that Marlena’s antagonism can be her own,

and that I can feel the wisdom in me,

the quiet confidence that does not need

a coach to tell me my worth.

 

I just play.

 

December 22, 2018

Advertisements

Stories

Waves of story –

that is an emotional life…

trauma informed you have to mentally be still,

learn to see the busyness in your body, in your mind, practice

often, even though it isn’t fair you were born into a god damned

patriarchal, capitalistic, racist, classist, sexist, homophobic society

that favors my white Latina skin, that denies my queerness,
that pokes fun at my gender
every   single    day.

And stories- stories are life’s meaning that, in their fullest,
most fleshed out form, make us human.

I want this to be an ode to SBU; to HC;

an ode to Bruce,

my body, my breath;

an ode to my throat; an ode to my face;

an ode to my familia, my Kenny, my mother; an ode to my father,
brother, sister, to friends long lost;

an ode to America, to nationalism and Puerto Rico’s remains;

an ode to my pen;

an ode to emotional bodies laying dormant, untouched,

by a warmed soul lingering underneath,

pure animal energy

born in the womb of the Earth, returning to the universe

once I dare to turn each story around…

December 6, 2017

The Human Condition

Alone

in my head

how did this happen again?

Afraid of myself

more than anyone else

afraid of my mind’s tricks

like the devil

part of me runs,

part of me nourishes.

 

External realities

versus internal dimensionality

my vulnerability

got me everything good

and everything bad

trust my mind–

it is strong,

then flies out the window.

 

All I can do now

is observe the mess I am in:

feel the anxiety,

the past pain,

the current waves of doubt

and listen to the monster truck

of thoughts roll through my head

as if it was the last track in the world.

 

Perhaps this is the most natural thing:

to let up, to let it win and lose

and nothing and everything

to let the stories be

to let the suicide be

to let my knowledge free

to let my wisdom bring

me the greatest joy I’ve ever known:

the expanse of life

growing in and out

nothing the same at any moment

love blossoming in my bones

while fear eats my mind–

it’s just one iteration

of the human condition,

is it not?

 

So eat away,

my friend fear…

I’m not sure what role the pills will play

but life can’t get away

simply because experience and temperament

created a shift in my thinking

understand that this is still

my gift of a body

and I respect its reaction–

mind, body, and soul connected–

to the darkest corners of life…

sweet loneliness turned sour

and still with age, abandonment

of reason with one phone call,

one bad dream…

and still the pure light of tomorrow…

the pureness of now.

 

April 1, 2016

 

More than anything, this is a release of thoughts and feelings surrounding mental health and my own struggles/my family’s struggles and experiences (the mention of suicide, a phone call and pills allude to a tragic family event) with the topic.  

You are never alone, no matter what unfolds in your life.  It can be difficult to find meaning out of suffering and loss, but it is, indefinitely, part of the human condition…and through the cracks, love and art can find their way out. 

The First Day

The day I sat

and looked in the mirror

I stared:

I was looking at me.

 

But it was not me

that I saw.

 

My pupils rounded,

black trench coats

preparing for summer rain

my skin relaxed

after the ebb and flow of the day

I dared not move

for there I swear I saw

the light of a soul.

 

Inside my body,

beyond my mind

there lays a spirit so vast

that it does not know me by name

it stands tall and strong,

not with pride,

but not without it, either.

 

When you are Light,

I suppose you need no one

to tell you just how brightly you shine

 

I felt confused;

I felt at peace–

as if I had known this feeling all along

 

It was the first day of my spiritual practice.

 

It seems so clear now

but with fall leaves promising signs of winter

at 18 years

all I wanted was a pair of mittens and a safe

place to stay, away from the cold.

 

Listening to Spirit

is not always easy–

but it’s always needed

 

to quench a thirst deeper

than Jesus felt in the desert,

Buddha under the tree

when

compounded

together

we have every star, every Being

right here beside

me stood a mirror,

and in the mirror, a face

searching its own lines and faded chords

for lyrics one sang long ago…

there were mountains in my eyes,

an echo on each peak.

 

A sudden wave of peace

rushes from my pores, into the night’s sky

and asks you to grant its wish–

to look at yourself

not as you,

nor me,

but as One

 

a single universe united in song.

 

December 16, 2015

My Mind

At times,

I feel nervous–

nervous that it

is stronger than me.

*

It can make any situation into a problem,

labeling itself a “worry wart”

(and who would ever want to be a wart?)

this is my fear:

*

It will change my relationships

it will tarnish my career

it will make all the beauty I’ve felt inside of me

feel meaningless.

*

It is crazy to think I’m not alone.

*

The truth is that beauty is eternal,

and my mind

will never be stronger than my presence,

patient like a willow

it will flow in the breeze,

follow me step by worry torn step

relaxing my insides,

releasing the mountain of love

that lives inside my chest–

it lives in all of us.

*

Sometimes,

I read quotes;

maybe they will make me feel “better”

maybe they will “fix” my mind–

I know only I can.

*

At all times,

I know there is timelessness,

the truth,

our only savior,

waiting for my heart to forgive my head,

catch up with my soul,

and allow myself

to lay,

still.

*

September 20, 2015

Bein vulnerable on this Sunday.  Peace and love. ❤ 

Come Meet Me

Come

meet me,

and all the other

voices that live

inside your head.

……

I am no more.

…..

You will listen and

listen

and listen

but you will create no more.

….

You can write about fear

You can look at it

straight in the face

Your ability to heal is profound.

..

Today is only today:

pure, empty, simple–

like your body,

your mind

.

Our souls, roaming this world,

uniting our light with that of the universe.

June 9, 2015