Written in a Basement- June 27th, 2017

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.



I Want to Sing America

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!

Black Grandfather

My family has this tradition
of giving from generation to generation
clocks. These gears that have ground for centuries
are losing seconds every minute. The hands
clasp around each other: a moment
of peaceful prayer
or lonely longing.
These are the minutes of our grandfather
clocks. The gears are ground to nothing
but gums and blackened teeth.
Its feet are rotting away beneath it.
Its chest collapses in on itself.
It can’t remember the time.
Or the year. Or itself.
I don’t want the grandfather
who can’t tell its story.
Where it’s been. It only
shows me that elegance
is the epitome of stupidity
because even the fine grooves
have faded. They are deeper and less
refined. They entrap an idle tongue
and immobile eyes. These
are the minutes of my grandfather,
when he was given to me
and thus was mine to give.

Lillies and Orchids

When he told her to open
she unfolded two flowers before him.
A lily and pink orchid.

And when he told her to rise,
she gave him a mountain to stand on.
A city on the hill.

She gave him a cliff, and a view.
She let him drink her veins
and sell her soul.

She didn’t scream too loud
when he dug into her heart,
before asking for it.

When he says bleed,
she pours black blood into
his broken palms.

When she says stop,
he leaves. She blooms
new carnations for him.

When he says she’s empty,
she’s dry. He leaves.
her veins erupt volcanos under him.

He keeps saying open,
and takes the orchid.
Gives it to his family.

She is a mistress of mourning.
She is a justice’s widow.
She, our lovely concubine.

We drill those mountains.
Harvest those veins.
Abuse those grounds.

I said open,
and she unfolded two flowers before me,
I’m taking two lilies home to mom.

Inside The Crash

Tonight wasn’t my first trip

to outer space. Hold my breath

and feel my skin tingle

as meaningless silence pervades

every crater of this broken moon.

And the moon comes closer to

Earth and every sea rises up.

Every creek becomes a cascading

waterfall of vibrant pollution

and every wound stretches until

they can hold a bouquet of flowers.

And I still hold my breath and wait,

because I know that these walls

will come crashing down and my

pulse will become the rhythm of recovery

and the snare of hypocrisy will be forever

entrapped in the silence of the galaxy.

Prayer for the Giver (Spoken Word)

My mom says I’m a giver.

That my charity is a strength.

Like the ability to give

pieces of myself away, wrapped like gifts

is a gift, from God, in and of itself.

Like making loaves and fishes

of my body to feed an undeserving nation

is worthy of applause. This is not a miracle,

it’s a burden. Christ, born from a virgin,

made loaves and fishes, a bit like me.

But I’m not like him, he hung on a tree.

I’m just a boy from NYC.

Thats right, I’m NYC

Not Your Christ

so don’t look at me

like a I owe my life.

You undeserving nation

You ungrateful child

You unenlightened people,

I will not be your communion wafer,

distributed to everyone like welfare checks.

I will not be your wine.

Do not think, drinking the blood of a giver

makes you any better. You are still,

ungrateful. You are still impure.

You do not deserve this feast.

But neither do I. I do not deserve this body.

I do not deserve my voice.

I do not deserve any of this.

And why should I keep,

what wasn’t mine to begin with?

Body Language

My therapist said that my heart

needs to talk to my brain more.

They need to be in agreement,

on the same page. But my heart

doesn’t speak whatever language it is

my brain does. My heart speaks in

clicks and thuds. It’s always moving,

call it body language in it’s truest form.

I teach my brain this language.

It becomes fluent, studying every textbook,

it’s grammar is perfect, it’s accent is a bit off,

but thats okay. I sit the two down together.

The brain speaks first, like it always does.

It says something about equal and opposite reaction,

we must wait to react, until we can find out

what an appropriate action will be.

My heart just nods. Brain continues,

“What do you think?”

My heart just nods. Brain says,

“Do you understand the accent?”

My heart just nods but it can not form

an articulate sentence in its own language.

It is not educated on equal and opposite reactions.

It is a Mexican farmer coming to the U.S.

You blame his lack of english skills

on where he was raised, but he still

can’t hold a complicated conversation

that won’t complicate his need to articulate

his own tongue so he just nods away all his problems.

My brain is teaching my heart its own language.

My brain is destroying body language.

Destruction in its truest form.