Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Poem November 2011

Found Poem: Newspapers Report on Anti- Immigration Laws, October 2011

Vanishing from school.

Their lives taken.

Hands toiling above dark chocolate soil.

Withdrawn from Shelby, Alabama,

Maricopa, Arizona,

Ogden, Utah.

There are no precise numbers.

But there is anxiety

driving while fear goes shopping.

Tough luck. A judge ruled.

Citizenship documents.

How many Mexicans does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Agua Santa Potrerillos, Michoacan.

San Jeromino Solola, Oaxaca.

Los pueblos

donde abuelita nacío

y los nietos corren detras.

The children left behind.

On rain-fed corn farms

small plots tilled

and beans, pumpkins rise
to a near empty village.

Pobresa y pobreza extrema.

Tantos necesitan.

Tortillas. Workers.

Knives exposed. Clean shear blades.

To stand for hours in hair netting.

Statistics compiled. Midwestern

poultry plants. Russellville.

Crossville. Cullman.

Rest assured the law may lead to arrests.

Only five workers showed up on Thursday.

In an all-white town.

She met a Hispanic mother.

“Yes,” was the only condition.

Anonymity the result.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poem Jan 2011

Untranslatable Taste

La comelóna smells the warm dreamy plate of rice,
beans, and chicken braised in tomato sauce knowing

that taste buds are wired straight to the dopamine
connections in the brain, the same spot where nicotine

dances, morphine sings, and cocaine crackles a hearty
howl. This is not gluttony or hunger. This is love on a plate.

The taste, the flavor, a zest for life. El gusto. Gusto
for life and language. Sometimes there is only one

way to say how we savor hands rolling masa into dough,
how the dough rounds into tortillas, how the tortillas puff

when ready. It is labor, the work done to survive, a job
accomplished so that we can step outside and praise

the sun caught pink in a strip of ethereal clouds. She is as
Spanish dictates. A nomenclature. A guilt free gourmand.

La comelóna picks up the fork as cheese strings itself
tight. When full with love, neurons fire over synapses.

On April 22nd, 2010, Emelia Guzman’s brain irradiated
and glowed through an MRI scan. First, she scanned

pictures of sex, then of the Virgin Mary, finally
she took in that mouthful and a rainbow of lights

cascaded through her frontal lobe. She swore an Angel
descended offering her marigolds, orchids, and pearls.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Probate Trial

When the trial is done
my father’s ashes will be blown

past memory. The days riding shotgun
under blue then foggy then crystalline skies

done. Finally. And I never

wanted it that way. Always sought
mi Papí allí en la camioneta waiting for me

to get in. And we’d drive.

When I was little, we knitted time
into smiles riding around town

on the tarry seats of a pick-up.
Then I got curious and asked

questions. The most important: whom
had he loved? He didn’t answer

that he loved me.

That would have been out of character.

He was not a liar. Besides he knew
what I really wanted.

I wanted to know about all the women.

My mother who was not his wife;
his wife who was not my mother.

And the others. He answered
that he hadn’t loved any of them.

Without excuses. Without regrets.

I wasn’t part of that story. I was his daughter.

I was pretty. Then I grew up smart.

And sad. And then away. But never
too far. Soon a judge will rule

and my father will simply be

what remains

for one more moment. Then done.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Boy


The sea knocks the boy down. The boy
punches white wave foam, kicks icy water.

When the sea returns, a bigger surging wave.
The boy grips his black boogie board,

heralds the gods with a ninja scream, and floats
over the beckoning curl. The boy rages.

He rages against the sea. This time he wins.


The next time. He rages against me.
Bloodshot eyes from too much

of the sea. Boogie boarding all afternoon.
I wasn’t there. He was raging

his own time. Tasting salt. Fettering grains
of sand under a wetsuit. It was

all him. I was doing
other things. The boy rages against

going to sleep. I say, “I’m the adult.
You must do what I say.”


Really. I mean. Truly. It is.
This little boy. In a bed. In a

guest room. When I try to explain.
He understands. Too much.

Too much about how the moon pulls
the human heart and when tides rise too high

all is torn asunder. He holds his breath tight
and rages against the moon at midnight,

against a boogie board cracked in two,
against a father who won’t be coming back.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Technological Utopian Splendor

The robots are coming. They will beep into transcendence.
Obliterate death. Eradicate disease. What is left to humbly
abide? In the Book of Job God presents a litany

of unanswerable questions. The idea to be awed by that
which we cannot understand, and so to create
compassion. Sorrow remains, always. The robot makers

have looked through molecules dancing on a shoreline
two steps away from bay windows shining home, and
now can reply to God. No longer is it humbling to fathom

the orbit of planets, the size of the earth, the abyss
in a canyon at the bottom of the ocean. We understand
and create. Time stops still. Our desire remains

to overcome fear. A fear of death. A fear of nothingness.
It could be all over. Zero. Nothing. Just like that. Ashes
to ashes. Dust to dust. Done. Or there could be something

different. Something else. A flow into the universe?
An experience of the godhead? A sparkling light? Uncle Joe
at the end of a tunnel welcoming us home? We just don’t

know. Change is the only constant. Maybe we will
bottle ourselves into machines. Walking talking
bionic beings. Maybe we’ll become brains percolating

in communal jars. Perhaps we’ll learn to set ourselves free
and dance with dolphins under the sea. Maybe we’ll just keep
doing what we’ve always done. Imagine

the edge of the world. When Columbus set sail, his crew
took on the possibility that a cavernous gaping jaw
would swallow them whole. Masts, sails, crew, rope,

even the rum, down the leviathan’s throat.

Saturday, October 31, 2009



As Khrushchev and Kennedy’s waltz picked up a Cuban salsa beat, I was born inhaling the tailwind of a mushroom cloud. I didn’t let anyone sleep.


Love tapped my shoes in ballet class. I followed the teacher’s son across valleys of the moon and began shooting stars from the tips of my fingers.


I no-longer wanted to play with dolls. Mrs. Unruh said I could become an astronaut instead.


It was our nation’s bicentennial. All the cul-de-sac homes had half baths where rose scented soaps rested on white china plates. The fireworks were safe and sane.


I believed I was beautiful. The sun set purple behind a basketball court. I wasn’t alone.


I believed I was smart. Even so I met a man who had serrated teeth and made love with knives.


As he gnawed the remains of my shin bone, the sun filtered orange, red, and purple through pansies blooming light. I didn’t realize it then, but God was keeping watch.


Television waves carried the fall of the Berlin Wall. Worldwide, half moon scars appeared on the forearms of favorite daughters.


My father said the one thing I will always thank him for, “It wasn’t your fault.”


I picked up a pen filled with gunpowder, tears, and the consonance of the letter “s.”


Even though the height of Haight Ashbury was no-longer, Dan played sunrise and sunset on a guitar at the International Café. Left of the moon and under Orion, we hung upside down from trees in Golden Gate Park.


2000 years we’ve been waiting, and still we believe.


Afraid of atomic molecules vibrating free, we were once again a nation of Empire and oil fields burned.


I met a man who kissed my soul and so began many days like this.


“Fine,” he said. “We’re all just fine.” Not better. Not worse. Just as. Still shooting stars from my fingers, I stepped down from the moon and began to cook dinner.

Monday, October 19, 2009

After the Storm

The drought dried lawn
awash in wet. I should
toss seed in bare patches,
fertilize the whole thing,
and keep it watered damp
through to the next rain.
It’s just a weed filled
backyard lawn.
But even there,
molecules stir beneath
and wait for a passing
sky’s thunderous bloom.