Two lungs to swell in the moment
Two hands to ball up or raise
depending how I feel.
Two feet to carry me to the front lines.
Two eyes to witness interesting times.
Two ears to listen for a battle cry
or the storm that’ll carry us all to sea.
Ten fingers to count transgressions.
One heart that pumps.
Two watering eyes.
Two ears tuned to the right channel.
Two nostrils flaring like a bull.
One drummer boys heart.
Lips, open! Open up!
It’s me! Do something!
Silence and my heart
slows to a deadly march.
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.
In my bedroom, there are congas
that I’ve never beat and a Puerto Rican flag
that I’ve never hung. My dad gave them to me.
I don’t need that stuff like he did.
They call me and I put on my best gringo voice:
Sold on craigslist for 50 bucks.
How can a senator not be a working man?
Can he work for the people to fulfill,
without working hands, that which the
farm hands demand? Oh he must be a man
of men, a man of many. Who else can he be?
No the senator is a working man.
Yet something in his tone makes me laugh.
Forgive me if he is beloved, I, an iconoclast,
should know where he is from. His father
was the son of a son of some great other son.
He has never worked in anything less than a tie,
and won’t give but the best to his foreign bride.
Oh now I’m sure he is a working man, but a different
type of work, with smoother ale and hands.
The moon, with its crescent hook dangling above us
catches my absent gaze. Yes, that is it, a hook
in an eye. A hook to pull my eyes so that I look
on open waters. We were once fisherman,
and caught big catches, with rainbow gils
and thin long whiskers. It was beautiful,
when hooks and nets were casts
and the oceans teemed with life ready
to wrestle with our god-like hooks.
All fish prey the same way and a frenzy
is a revival. Come out on the water,
and cast your nets alongside mine.
We will cook and eat and pray at noon,
and at nightfall admire a crescent moon.
I hear demolition in the city and it forces me
to think of a donkey dawdling down waving streets
in summer, with its passenger along side him.
His face is timeless, inestimable how many times
he’s walked this road. He is manila with cement mixer
or dove hair. A rosary hangs like shingles in the storm from
wrists that sit above rough hands. His eyes are dark
and innocent. He looks through me at the road ahead.
He is immutable.
Oh I’ll find my place with the working man,
I’ll build my home with my own two hand
in the USA! Oh yes in the USA!
Give me few dollars and a couple cents
I’ll find a nice wife and a picket fence
in the USA! Yeah I’m in the USA!
Send me to fight in your defense
I’ll give my life as recompense
for the USA! I’m for the USA!
Just lend me a helping hand
bring me to the promise land!
I love the USA! I love the USA!
The song rumbles like Laredo and echoes
to Cologne. Pay close attention to the demolition
and listen for him droning:
I’m on my way to the USA
left my life to join the great
On the way to USA!
I hope it’s what they say!
There is a mix of knees and hands on asphalt,
grey sidewalks, and front steps. Show me your hands,
stained icebergs that will not recede without being scratched
and picking up some small pebble in its recession.
You will not recede without scars. You will not back down.
You will resist when they tell you to stop moving. And then,
with sudden tear of a curtain and thunder without lightening
you will stop resisting. Stop moving. Show me your hands.
The iceberg melts despite its temperature dropping. They rip
you from your shirt, like David. Made you look mad. Stripped,
The mix is settled and I see it clearer now.
Your stigmata and water in the streets.