Sun

You are a star in a sky I have not seen,

you are a drop of rain in a hundred deserts

and desserts

because walking in the rain can be fun

with ice cream and an umbrella, no?

Your voice plants bits of light under my skin,

your slender frame and well-styled hair

have me wanting more.

You are some kind of fire that speaks

the same language as my Earth– the one

with floating flowers and talking sponges,

the one where Reggie Rocket gets us in trouble

and girls kiss girls at midnight in brightly lit squares

and everything is alright.

Because I’d want to call you baby.

Because, hell yeah, I’d make love to you and I’d fuck you

but do you seriously think I could do one without the other?

You’ve got me smiling ear to ear, wanting more of your story,

your moments, your rush because I know you’ve felt it, too–

with some lucky woman in another room,

where you lit only candles and talked in only whispers.

I would never be quiet about you, unless you wanted me to.

And I can sing your praises now, my mysterious friend,

but you deserve more than words. They do not do you justice.

To your sexy eyes and smooth skin, your laugh bouncing off

subway cards and driveways and street lamps– I wish I could

dance along with it forever, and I’d be willing to,

if it meant having you.

I put you up on a pedestal because that’s where you belong.

Your style is bad ass and your humbleness is hot and your words

have me wanting more, more…because for all your physicality,

I could listen to you speak, no sight, no vision, for days.

You are a star and a sun

because, of course, there was never any difference.

Expect that there is only one sun,

among many stars,

and how lucky I am to get to soak you in at all.

 

January 29, 2019

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Three Parts

I.

Our hearts wide open

on the sofa, in the den,

we glide

past memories and landscapes

of lost wishes and dreams untouched–

but oh, my dear, did you touch them!

How far you ran!

How far we traveled

when home was right next door?

I can only tell you so many times

how much I love you,

mom and dad,

how much I owe to you,

my gods on Earth, my saviors

of moon and light —

of all the in-betweens and all-togethers.

Success? Winning? Acting out?

Do you remember me,

do you know me better than I do?

I am your baby bird…

and I am here, beautiful, flying…

you make money not to chase

your own dreams, but for us…

talk about pressure!

But I suppose each generation

has its shortcomings of identity

and mind that the world threw at them,

so you throw it back up,

say I’m better than you.

 

You made me.

Without your light,

I cannot shine.

 

II.

And you tell me: “What doesn’t kill you

makes you stronger.”

What if I fear I have lost part of me?

But dear…look around,

you are here,

and this is now,

and now is the Earth and time kissing

on two planes, four dimensions

that we know of, hurtling off in space

and yet perfectly safe.

This world may think its won–

they may have knocked me down–

but maybe that was not me to begin with.

You ask why I’m so quiet?

Because I’m readying up to get mad

and spread some joy around to make it better.

You told me you have some secret cure?

Cure for what? A story unfolded?

Afraid of one’s own shadow?

Or the light bouncing off your face?

Is that how trauma works?

Healing is all Earth is,

is all that’s in your blood, your muscles

and tendons and heartbeats and breaths.

I am here to guide you,

parents, elders, child.

You may see me as Father Time,

but I’ve been your mother, all along…

riding sunbeams, glorifying everything

and nothing. I am Earth.

 

III.

It’s cold in my childhood, only-home

for-a-while bedroom

and I wonder what life “should” have been…

Life sees no life without death.

I was there. I played. I fell. I rose.

I survived, god damn it.

My body and mind are still god damn

here, my spirit unbroken.

 

Sleeping, eating, breathing…honey,

you are an animal as we all are.

There are moments you must do nothing

but rest, let the Earth care for you.

You cannot take over for her.

We all know what it’s like to interrupt

the most powerful women in our lives.

This is the mother of all mothers,

life giving grace from the God

that is a woman, that is everyone in between.

You have a scary fucking story in your head,

taking over God’s role?

Hell no!

I have my dad’s wings

and my mom’s heart,

so I can keep gliding,

gliding…

 

January 4, 2019

Fallen

She’ll be perfect

for you– I know,

Jo invited me.

I’ll be standing next to you

but not close enough,

holding onto false hopes

but no real dreams, only “but’s.”

Your friend will be in the corner,

mine in California

remembering New York’s flaws

and I’ll say “fuck you”

because I’m from here–

don’t you forget that Mr. Delaware,

Ms. Los Angeles where I saw no evidence

of angels, no saving grave

and when I flew, I flew eastwards.

Breaking my heart gives you too much credit–

you can run my mind,

but my heart finds solace in other things–

all the women I haven’t kissed,

all the male exceptions.

Is she your exception? Another beautiful

brown woman and my white

Puerto Rican ass isn’t good enough?

You’re from Delaware.

You just want “different.”

But enough is–enough. She’ll be

enough, hang her hands over

your neck in public, at parties,

falling hard– while I look up

from the ground.

 

December 29, 2018

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

“B”

I thought I knew you

from another room,

but you said your name was Gaby

and I only knew one of you,

(and I didn’t want to know Gabby again).

So I crumpled up “b” into a box,

pushed it to the back of my closet,

burned the closet,

and looked up, at you.

 

You are bright, flowing, happy.

 

You make New York trees laugh in winter,

the ones with no lights on 27th street,

swaying on sidewalks.

 

The voice, the energy, the knowing.

 

Who knows why.

 

Your voice draws me in:

low and light and dark in one moment,

calm and cool, you collect me up,

make some joke about not knowing street signs

so I laugh,

I walk west,

explain what west means in a city on the East coast,

far from home.

 

I’m wearing the hat that made you laugh

and call me cute, and I smile,

because I know I’ll see you again soon–

new room, new puzzle, one less “b.”

 

December 5, 2018

To Men Who Take But Don’t Give

You’ve taught me:

it’s hard

to love yourself

when you give yourself up

like meat for slaughter

when you’re taught

you are not an animal,

you are the meat;

you are a hole to be filled

and wiped clean afterwards;

you are the microphone

through which he speaks.

 

Even before I fuck you

I’ll remember my name,

part of the heavens you’ve never seen,

let alone touched.

 

Leave me alone to write, without you.

 

Your gaze makes me too tired to speak.

 

This is my time to breathe,

not your time to sink me down with you.

You’re 4 months into America

and you think you can laugh at our president?

Tell me what street to take?

 

Sex led me to you?

 

Is that what we did?

No.

 

You cannot touch

what you cannot see–

your heart is nowhere on this table,

on this bed. Your ego lifts you

(to make up for your small dick).

 

Am I right?

Do you believe in “right”?

Me neither.

But I do believe in justice.

 

What do you believe in?

 

December 6, 2018

Life as She, as They

To look upon a lover

and see new life

coming into being…

when you didn’t know

that life was beyond

a baby and a cradle,

that this moment

of one life manifested

with another that is god damn

beautiful

enough to allow a new life

to emerge–

a love that is a life itself.

 

And so I must challenge myself.

 

We all want that love,

so why not work on it on our own

stake your claim

on yourself

put “you”

first, middle, and last

interwoven, intertwined

in all other loves that come your way.

 

Love is only two manifestations

meeting after all;

that’s all it takes.

If you’re lucky enough to find

two, three, four–

my darling,

devour them.

 

Wonder how you got so lucky

but do not ask why

because you are here,

and this is now,

and only she knows,

only they know,

only Life knows,

the sum of all nows.

 

July 17, 2018