West of the Emerald City
A pleasant giant
or caballo acero
but a jolt
all the same
this ain't Kansas
or maybe Oz
on cat calls
and low riders.
Sprite-sized vistas loom
above each sea scented wavelet,
I smile, imagine
sand specks are lush caravans,
as a seashell palace looms.
A better child
--just kurious Lola, mother's
progeny, Queen Royale,
Senior Tattler, undulating
vivaciously when Xpecting
(Oh Lordy, that was lame, haha)
Razzle Dazzle (Like Eve)
with the mouth
when the lips
bowed and juicy
rival the yield
Does it cease
in a poison
tell the difference?
beguiled the eye
the forsaken truth
its a miracle
even set foot
the wretched tree.
I call your name
rattles the glass panes
in unison with each
I do hear you
most of the time
above the din of rancor
that’s become my skin
I am momentarily
to the tender violet
of the budding night
to each star
brazen to show
its knowing face
Livermore (I think), Summer 1995
I stood near the tree
its exposed roots enough toehold
A precarious perch for our rosy child
and me, on the bank to the river
While you cast your line
dreams of hooking plump salmon for dinner
in a stream starved for slender silver fish
You thought car rides were police chases,
and stunning, statuesque men in dresses
were women. You staunchly defended
mother first, child and wife last
Rice must be smooth, flat and oiled,
never sticky, and gold chains upon my son's
sweet-smelling wrist and neck were removed
when you were not looking. Twice a month
perfunctory tumble and always missionary
culminating fifteen to twenty minutes later
with a sandbox grunt
Christmas time we milled around, the obnoxious
tree, a six foot monstrosity squat and uneasy, in the middle
of a South San Francisco living room, while we made stilted
conversation, and tried to focus on blurred cream walls
Looking anywhere but where your mother sat
cradled reverently, like St. Nick's long-awaited
present on your lap. This was our clockwork
but only for two more years
Time is vigilant in its observation
duly noting a rewind, a screw loose, a need to tune.
Quinceñeara in the forefront
it was the theme of 1997's stifling heat
A trip to Los Angeles, a drunken rant and Sweet
Honesty powder dusting the air and the motel floor.
Disneyland both surreal and nostalgic.
Two months after, the humidity a wall to
the persuasion of autumn, you let us go
My rosy child and I
we swam in cooler pools
aimless and naive and relieved
Imaginary fish and imperious mother-lovers
in our wake
Buy in Bulk
and the hidden
the perfect word
and masks off
To the Sprite in Her Season
Where Summer begins to cradle Spring
is where I relinquished you
into pallid, anise-scented arms
you and your gaiety
you and your greedy, spilling love
there will be no cinnamon and honey
to sweeten your foolish mouth
and you will not care while the days
as fate dictates
in every affection gone to rot
you will only be starved
for my flavour come Winter
When the Curbside Pined for You
Do you think
of the pavement with each
graceful prance, each careless
step a mocking pressure
upon its squalid face?
If it paused
in its hopelessness
to take stock of
infatuation and take
offense at your naive
(note: sidewalks, to my knowledge
do not, as a rule
love, think, or bear grudges, still)
it would rear
and skin your
even as it daydreams
fondly of that night two
months ago when you, inebriated,
besotted, clung to it
for dear life
your numerous sorrows
as it caressed and soothed
your flushed cheek.
Teach Me How to Come Up for Air (imperfect thoughts in the throes of grieving)
at first I constantly awoke
I, who cannot swim.
the horror of your passing
flickering in my mind
and letting go
are a messy affair no one is ever prepared for.
in our short lives,
one receives no guidance.
good and horrific memories are entwined
pain is a daily companion, a loathsome one,
but also an unexpected friend. I've learned
to allow it in. It has become
part of me like sinew and blood.
there are good days, and on those days,
I feel you in the rumble of your sibling's footfalls,
I hear you sigh and rustle through the leaves,
I see you in each face that smiles
kindly, vaguely, in my direction.
watch over me.
I never thought myself a strong person,
but I was stronger when you were here with me.
I am adrift.
you wouldn't want me alone and frightened.
you would want me to go on.
I am not angry that you left me behind, but maybe I am more than a little angry that I let you go so easily.
who didn't yet know you were gone,
but who loved you very much, is so very hard
who don't know you,
and those who knew you well,
but who are indifferent at best, is harder still--
it fills me with spite and rage.
you wouldn't want me bitter and filled with hate.
you would want me to live on.
many things had gone unsaid,
but give me a solitary chance to utter
just one more long breath
before you are one
with the stars saying good night:
I loved you the brightest.
I loved you completely.