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

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

S

Your story,

as important as it has become to you in this life,

is just a story.

 

There is something bigger at work here.

 

Your story,

as important as it has become to you in this life,

is just a letter.

 

It’s the letter “S”

with its roadway curves

and lack of edges–

it is a letter, in a word,

on a page, in a book.

 

 

The only truth is connection.

 

The only outcome is surrender.

 

December 3, 2016

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. 

A Poem

Sometimes,

it’s not enough

to write a poem.

……………………………………….

“Feel it on your back,”

she told me

from the church cellar.

 

“Know it by name,”

he whispered

through the garden;

he chased the snake

but only I could tell.

 

“Let it loose,”

she sang,

leading the students to the edge,

bird cage in hand,

lowering her fingers to the door.

 

Sometimes,

it’s not enough

to listen to a poem.

…………………………………………
“Jump into the sea!”

he screams to me,

head rolling with a laughter

children know at dawn,

no midnight mass approaching.

 

“Hold onto your hat!”

she begs of me

on the local F train,

subway cars dashing past

and claiming my wear with it.

 

“Don’t open your eyes!”

states the man

sitting on his box, NW side,

poking the sidewalk

with a stick,

just as he has

every Wednesday I have seen him,

handed him a banana and ran.

 
Sometimes,

being the poem

is not enough.

……………………………………..
“Open the box

dear-

and, of course,

open your eyes…”

 

October 3, 2015

Some Short Narratives

Lately, instead of writing consistent poems, I’ve done small drawings of people accompanied by their thoughts/a quick story and a saying on their shirt. I’ll share some here (although I’m not ready to share any of my drawings!  I’m no artist, trust me). The saying is the second phrase of each “poem”:

I.

Our “real” selves

don’t need to be thought of

or complicated,

embellished or held.

Do not attach yourself

to any one thing –

you will find me in the space between…

The letting go is where true strength lies.

II.

With blood

running through you

do not judge a thing–

the sky will remain blue for you

don’t you see?

Look all in the eyes,

tilt your head back,

let it go–

society is a disguise,

not a truth,

don’t you know?

Simply Be.

September 21-23, 2015

The Story

It’s what we write every day and, whether we are fully aware of it or not, it’s the grandest story of all:

The Story of My Life.

From the news and social media, to conversations at work and on the street, stories make up the “stuff” of our lives.  I truly believe that we are more than all of this “stuff.”  When you take it all away, there is only the simplicity of life churning away through our veins and souls, connecting us all to the universe.

And yet we still live here, on Earth.  We are always in the midst of other people and countless narratives.  We can’t just run from them.   The world will keep turning.  Even if we close off all our senses, the stories that make up society aren’t going to go away.  Yes, we can shape our personal narrative by stating: “My life is more important than my life story.” And you’d be right!  I am solidly in that camp.  But we are still responsible for our stories.

What do you tell yourself, about yourself, every day?  How do you view your relationship with others, with yourself?  Where does your self confidence fall based on these guidelines?

If I have a problem, I like to think about it in broad terms, considering the evidence of one truth versus another.  By doing so, however, I put a lot of pressure on myself (and my brain) to get it right.  As if I have all the answers!  It’s insane, and yet this pressure follows me day to day, allowing myself to identity with both intelligence and inability.  So when I ask myself the question, “Am I capable of changing how I tell my life story?” I doubt myself.

Do you have any doubts about yourself, about your abilities– about your story?

A wise friend of mine told me today that fresh starts are precious: not everyone can have them, and you can do whatever you want with them.

They symbolize ultimate freedom.

Today, as I find myself in the beginnings of another “fresh start,” I’m taking a stand.  I want to claim responsibility for telling my life story–  to the world, to others, and (most importantly) to myself.

In more ways than not, I am whatever I want to be.  I am whatever I believe myself to be.  There’s no pressure to know everything or for everything to be perfect.   But I’m the main character in this play, as well as the audience.  All I can do is balance the tragedy with the comedy and know that, in the end, my “life” under my “life situation,” my “life story,” will always be there.

***

So, hey you!  You’re a person with a story.  Go out there and write a good one.