A Note

To my beautiful baby brother:

you have to grow up in an age of social media

and all of its toxins

and it is not your fault.

You have no control over it,

nor do I.

All I want do to is live it for you—

the suicides,

the mass shooting threats,

every day life in boring ass high school —

keep it boring!

School was meant to be that way,

safe enough to be boring.

Not even the white people are safe,

not even the rich people.

My beautiful Puerto Rican brother:

do you fit in? do you like it? do you not?

Tell me more than “ugh.”

I know your innocent face,

your soul-searching eyes

I have seen your heart

and its pure essence

a thousand times.

I just hope I told you enough stories…

about how much you are loved,

and how smart and kind and handsome

you are, my brother — you can do it,

because it cannot last for much longer.

I will take every bullet of some child

calling out for help;

I will relive 9th, 10th — fuck, every grade

if that is what it takes to protect you,

to take up that space of wondering.

The world has changed

in just 10 short years between me and you.

Look at what Facebook has done,

kids sending Snaps 1,000 times a day.

My brother I do not know shit about “SnapChat”

but I know you are more than it,

I promise you.

Everyone is wandering,

looking for more than a screen—

and yet video games have saved you.

Play SmashBros all freaking day

if that is what it takes to save you, my boy,

from giving a damn what people think.

How do I protect you from this world…

this pit of society

that is eating minds and bodies alive?

How do I get you to talk truth?

Who cares “how.”

Know that it is enough to try,

enough to be with yourself,

fully.

Whenever your body yells,

“Trauma!”

“Pain!”

“Greif!”

Cradle every part

and say, “I am here for you, always.”

And remember:

your sister is here for you.

Always.

 

March 29, 2019

Mine

I remember

the first time I knew

I had a voice.

 

The high school cafeteria,

the salty pizza–the salted pretzels

hanging in the air

as my story concludes,

“And I laid there

until the police showed up,”

To my house? My body

surrounded

by laughter I concocted

how

how can this be?

 

I wash down the salt

with some OJ and try to remember

the last time I told a story

and heard it–

like the cop over my head

cracked open spilling blood

onto the basement floor.

 

Now it’s my friends

at this round table laughing

their way to my insides,

to the heart that thought

not even a phone call

to the local hospital could be

enough

to be heard from across town,

across the street,

across the table

 

I meet eyes

filled with nature’s shadows

giving me a look of acceptance

into how these words

can be mine,

heard

by sixteen year old girls

wondering what to have

for lunch the next day.

 

October 18, 2014