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.


Watching the News

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.
It’s pumping.

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.

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.

My Bandera

I’ve never felt this latino.
Rummaging through my basement,
without cause. There are two sombreros.
Two ornate bongos that my daddy used
to play. There is a Corona poster on the wall,
next to a lei and an old metal folding chair.
The poster has a Mexican flag on it.
We are not Mexican. A few feet away,
draped over old Mustang car seats, is
a Puerto Rican flag, with a coqui sprawled
lazily across the fading banner. It is old.
Its fringes fray and its folds have lost their
crispness. There is a superman comic book
hung crooked in a gilded frame. And just
to the right of my flag is a thick poster board,
with a mansion and a helicopter and a Florida
waterfront printed. Beneath the show of wealth
a scribe had etched, in large Times New Roman,
“This is all I want.”
I think of the flag, and the poster, and the bongos
as my dad sings:
Que bonita bandera,
Que bonita bandera
Que bonita bandera,
La Bandera Puertorriqueña.
My confused tongue does not sing,
and I’ve never been so frayed.

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.

Waiting at Night

As a kid in New York City, I never stayed out very late. To do that would be dangerous. But now, as my first year at boarding school comes to a close, I’ve come to appreciate the night much more. I’ve learned that the most fun I have is sitting on the fields, listening to music with friends, and watching as the sun escapes our view. But once that sun is gone, a new world arrives. A world where we feel that nobody can see us, so we dance a bit more, we sing louder, and we feel so much more free. But it’s still night, and we can’t wait until morning.

A beautiful chill

Sets across the plain

With people still here

Darkness comes in vain

Because with night

We make our own light

And in the dark

We still listen

For the morning, and the lark.