Finding x

The funny thing about x
is that one moment it’s found
only to go missing the next time around.

Part I

My grandmother found x in a man
who puffed and puffed and shook her bones
with his voice. He grabbed her by the ribs
and said he was taking back what God had stole.
She saw the equation solved and complicated again
every time he said he loved her.
She could never tell who he was saying it to.

Part II

My mother found x in her children.
The x comes in infrequent, but savory scraps
of mothers-day cards and kisses goodnight.
But when our x is so faithless, I think she goes
looking in the Christian radio station.

Part IV
My sister found x in herself when she said
she’d never let another man touch her.
My grandmother laughed and cried that night.
She knows that x in our hands and hearts is like
finding x in candles that will always need to be
replaced and relit.

Part V

I found x in a Sunday service.
It was at the alter where I cried
and didn’t know who I was mourning.
It was underneath the pews.
It was in the stained-glass portrait
of a man who could’ve been my friend
if only he was around more often.
The funny thing about God is that I thought I found Him,
only for him to go missing from His tomb.


Between First Avenue and Bedford

I’ve been riding this train
for a very long time now,
much longer than the woman
who just got on. While all stand clear,
the doors close, and we
are locked in this silver eel together.
It is two minutes beneath the East
River until the next stop and I feel
the pressure pounding, my ears popping,
and her eyes perusing the train
as if it is her first time. She has goldfish eyes.
They are wide and forgetful eyes. 
Dark and beautifully unforgettable eyes.
This journey will always be new for her.
I think of talking to her, ask her what
book she’s reading. But all my thought
drift upward like hot air, and seep through
the cement and cement to drown, unheard,
in the East River.

As the train arrives at Bedford Avenue,
I am tired and the train lulls me to sleep.
My eye close like a camera lens,
but no photo for memory is saved.
When I wake up, she is gone. But,
I know tomorrow she’ll be back with those
glassy refreshing eyes. God’s most beautiful
anointment, those youthful Goldfish eyes.

If Able Was A Lover

How can I say, in a way that won’t myself defend,
how disappointed I am to this end. 
It’s hard not to think—

This is not new. No, there have been others
who may or may not have recovered from this harm
But will I be so charmed?

Imagine for a moment, a minute only,
sixty seconds is all it takes to endure all sadness
all guilt, all fear.
Imagine, in this moment, a battlefield.

The whistle weens into a petite roar,
and rolls into the trenches, bunkers on the hills,
winds over the wounded. The battle begun,
drums derailing all thought, and cannons causing
chaos in the roar of war. Jabbering guns
and callow flies prodding the long dead.
Jump from the trenches, quickly, heated
by the sun and racing heart. Feels like
at any moment, the clouds might close
a cold win might blow, and chilling rain
will fall. Chilling- thats the right word.
But in that moment, no saving grace
on the field. No! Storm the enemy lines,
be angry. Want what they have, want the
intimacy of murdering a brother. And now,
without meaning to, you murder your brother.

Ah how the the familial war broke you.
Recall this day when your pillow is that
rock you rested his head on, and when
only your chilling sweat can calm your body
to believe hell isn’t so close.
Who will forgive you, O Memory, after you are forsaken
to live forever? This is my fondest, most visited
memorial. A love never earned, but somehow lost.

We were not family. Friends?
But perhaps, despite my too quick knife,
you will survive and find me hunkered
in my thoughts, hiding from the skirmish.
Perhaps not all is lost, though my actions were disgusting;
some have recovered—but I doubt I’ll be so lucky.

New York in Short

after the night has ended, before

the sun rises I sit and think about

believing. something, anything to believe.

stories like my own, told by someone

who can tell them better than I can.

everyone else has long gone home,

likely sleeping off the memories

of bad jokes and misunderstandings

quiet quarrels, fighting words

wisely left deep in the throat.

but I am awake with the cricket,

with the moon whose crater filled

face reminds me of the boulders

in central park. I’ve never been

but I wouldn’t mind going. Earth

science taught me that they were

dropped by glaciers during the ice age,

an unwanted child, left on the steps

of a church it would help build.

there are so many unwanted ones

in new york. outcasts from one place

or another looking to build their temple

in the sand, where it may unscramble

the riddles of piety. where it may

crumble to the satisfaction of

its attendants, releasing all the

mystery of mysticism that

the orthodox would follow.

tearing the labels of the label maker

is the birthright of those who

have been reborn in exodus.

baptized in exile, who have refused

to be exercised of their demons.

because what is a demon?

is it not the forgotten child,

carrying its message long

after the glacier has melted?

is it not the outcast, left to clean

the nails from Calvary and going home

with his nails painted red;

his hands, drenched in salvation.

Brother With A Broken Heart

When she cut you,

you gave yourself stitches

with spare fishing wire we had

in the garage. You wove a perfect pattern,

just like abuela taught you. She learned

how to stitch herself when abuelo left.

She taught you how you need to pull the string tight,

like a shoelace or else the shoe comes undone,

or else the stitches come undone so easily.

Your stitches came undone so easily.

You came undone so easily.

The cut became infected with hate,

and self loathing. So more cuts came,

and you covered them with clothing.

Brother, I hid the fishing wire.

I’m tired of seeing you on the end of it,

you are not bait in the water,

but, my God, your arms look like they’ve had a few

hooks in them. Take yourself off the hook,

stop selling yourself to fish you’re just gonna throw back.

Throw back to when none of this was a problem,

to when fishing was a past time and you

wore short sleeves and I was too young to understand

that you were not okay. I get it now.

Show me your arm.

Let me stitch it this time.

You can’t do it on your own.

The Host

I would love to say I need you,

that I would be incomplete without you,

that you are the part that makes me whole.

But I was whole before you.

I was not a malnourished child,

that weaned off starvation when you came.

I was more like a complete dinner,

laid out for guests to devour and you

were the first to accept the invitation.

I hope you enjoyed the feast.

Theres no doubt you did. You devoured it.

When you had your share,

you left, full, and happy.

And I am left. Parts of me chewed,

other parts thrown into the trash.

I am left like scraps on a plate,

washed away as if they were never there.

The plates are clean again.

I’ll go set another table for one.

Let’s see if the next person,

has the decency to help me clean up.

Relationship Advice from Foster Homes

She says,

“When the waves shake your body

like a stressed father does to shut up a child,

do not resist it. Let it smack your chest

with a cold hand. Does that remind you

of the times your mother did it because she loved

you? Does it feel like love yet?

First you will try to run, but you can’t run in water.

Then your feet will try to kick the water harder and quicker,

but water doesn’t back down from a fight.

It tosses you harder and farther, makes you gulp air down

but you can’t open your mouth without swallowing water,

like it’s your first time swimming in rough seas. But it’s not.

The waves have you trapped.

They know you need to breath, they feed themselves to you.

They know you must kick to stay afloat,

they tie your feet together with ropes of satin.

You cannot move, you are weak against waves.

And if you defeat one, there are more out there,

ready to make you a Titanic,

holding you up to sky then casting you down,

forever bound by leather to the seafloor.

As you breath more water than air,

I want you to say:

“Yes. This feels like love.”

Try to believe it too.”