intrusive thoughts pt 3

I keep getting all this advice on how to heal

on where healing begins

and how and when it should end

I keep being told

you need to write out everything that happened

you need to speak it aloud to your lover your inner circle your own self

you need to leave where it happened you need to go back

you need time you need to hurry and forget

you need to be positive you need to be negative you need to imagine revenge

a seafoam eye for an umber one

or in your case milk fed entrails spilled out in clammy calamitous hands

instead of those fed fat on green bitter nopalitos and red sweet tunas

 

But every time I take out the see-through paper to write every bitter word you slathered

every time I try to imagine sinking my brown fingers into your white tummy

every time I acknowledge that I left the place but carried the home with me

no matter how many poems I narrate to my boyfriend my cabal of witches my self

every time I try and do any of these healing things

laying in the hot sun or in the cool of a vernal pool

hands splayed over the waist you so unkindly grabbed telling her over and over

that I’m sorry I’m sorry  I am sorry

 

I can’t.

because instead of imagined violence bathing me in sanguine healing

it drives me to remembrance instead

I remember your chuckle, how the air would be expelled from your nose at the end

like a jade-green dragon blowing smoke from his scaly scintillating nose

right before he snaps off your head in his million-mawed jaws

 

I remember how your eyes are the exact shade of green of the ocean in Puerto Peñasco

when you wade in at sunset to the spot right before you drop from the continental shelf

where black dolphins swim round feeding blue jellyfish to white belly orcas

 

I remember how heavy your hand was when you pet me after the election

because you were apologizing for other people expressing the same sick thoughts as you

about black men and brown girls and folks who are neither but love both

 

I remember that bottle of purple-throated merlot

the thought that I had lipstick that color passing through the tiptop of my frontal cortex

right before you tell the waitress to bring a straw so the baby can drink her juice

and I realize the juice is the glass of swirling merlot you placed in front of me

and the baby is me 

 

And I’ve left the place but when I close my eyes on the Bergen havn

it almost feels like nothing has changed at all and I’m back in that humid library

not realizing that your smile is actually a leer

not realizing that you aren’t listening to my gossip and the interest in your voice

isn’t about my words

its about how when I kneel on your carpet I’m at perfect height

not realizing all those times you were standing too close because I could smell you was

because you were trying to smell me under the perfume and the dry shampoo

not realizing the emotional buildup the community had built up around someone else

should’ve really been meant for you

because what was hotter to you than

reimagining what your petty life could be like inside a little brown girl?

 

And all this floats by me and hurts like the thousand flung needles of  jellyfish tentacles

the time I stepped in the gelatinous blue of a man o war when I was in Puerto Peñasco

because I was too busy admiring that green right before you fall off the continental shelf

 

it happens when I am alone in bed or in a sea of people at the market or

when I am laying in the cool of a vernal pool or in the hot sun

or when I am talking to that kind fisherman and he invites me for a drink

 

and all I can think of is how that merlot swirl, swirl, swished in the glass

as you told the waitress to fetch a straw so the baby can drink her juice

or about how if C and M and S and J hadn’t been blowing up my phone

that night outside the bar, vibration notifications a tiny earthquake in my hands

freeing me up to bury my face in my phone and my heels into the pavement

you would’ve really been able to reimagine what your petty life could be like

inside the abandoned body of a little brown girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

intrusive thoughts pt 2

I wasn’t brave enough to go to the bar today

don’t ask me why  I’m not sure

maybe it was the tumult and noise of the crowd

the kind that would ignore my pleas for help

just for one more shot of whiskey

 

Or maybe it was

the mix of tobacco smoke and hops laden smell of Nordic beer

that acrid combination that spilled from your lips as you screamed in my face

 

Or maybe it was the dank and the hot,

the cramped humid spaces

like the clamminess of your hands against my face

or the feel of your forehead against mine

 

Or maybe or maybe or maybe

it was a million other things

That you dragged out of the dark

that night you buried your hands in my tummy

and pulled forth more than just my hips towards your own

 

 

and even though all I want

is to walk those cobblestones down the harbor

feel the ligaments in my legs stretch under that cool sea breeze

my lungs expand with the full salt air

my heart race when I see that kind fisherman

to lose myself in the fuzzy grey of his sweater

or the seafoam green of his eyes

or the soft brown of his fine-fingered hands

I still keep the ice table between us

count the fine lines on his lips instead of looking at his face

no matter how obvious he makes it

that all he wants is to press his forehead to mine

 

because what if what if what if

one night it turns out

that he wants to add his own storyline

to the palimpsest of flashbacks

what if he spills an ocean from his seafoam eyes

as he shakes the life from me

or plunges his hands so far into my waist that my insides recoil

what if he, too,  is just like you?

 

I’d rather be alone and never know

what the velvetine notes of his voice sound like after-hours

or what his last name is or

whether his bed is as soft as his heart

than risk meeting another you again

alone in a hot humid bar

 

and this was supposed to be a poem but I guess now it’s a letter

to you

even if you don’t deserve it

or

the space you occupy

in my heart or in my head

 

But I thought I could bury you like I buried the first hurt

bury the feeling of being flipped over by coarse hands in locked rooms,

bury the feeling of being tokenized and erased in drafty labs,

bury the feeling of black sulfurous sediments sliding into my ear

by

wrapping it up in the good and the milk and the honey

in the soft dirt underneath pine plantations or

the smell of honeysuckle and sunshine on the mount

in the taste of freshly-cut pineapple and iced coffee and catered sandwiches

 

But I can’t I can’t I can’t

no matter how many times I try to lose the memory of you

every time I walk down the harbor

faster and farther away from men who look like carbon copies of you

because let’s be honest like you were

that night at the bar

when you confessed yourself to me

 

you were part of the burial before

you were a piece of the loamy topsoil

your smile every time we met and

your embrace every time we parted ways

the quiet way we would talk among the stately trees about anything at all

 

And I wish so much that that night hadn’t happened

that you hadn’t appeared in the doorway lurking like a ghost

that you never ordered that beer like hops in a glass

that you had never taken those hands

that once held me in hugs as soft as that fisherman’s heart

and buried them so far into my body

that you dragged out every black moment I ever had

from the interstitial space between my ribs

and into the space between us

that night at the bar

when you confessed yourself to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

intrusive thoughts

its been a month already, don’t you know

and while I try my best to audiate away

what happened

spending every second minute hour day week

playing music and singing endlessly

somehow

I always come back to the thud/thud/thud

of your fingers on the bar

to the ring/ring/ringing

in my ears

like the aftermath of a sad soprano’s solo

(you yelled so loud)

to the sloppy slush sound of my brain

colliding with my skull

as you

rattled me round

like so much sand in a maraca.

 

 

and somehow

No matter how many times I sing

or scream

or beg

my skin still sinks back into the form of your

hard heavy hands

on my face on my waist

that feeling of being frozen as my insides melt

a puddle in your greasy gritty palms

as you gather my legs into yours

your knees leaving dents in mine

 

 

And some nights

when I’m still trying to scrub the smell of you

out of

my skin my hair my soft palate

the trickle of water down the curve of

my face my waist

reminds me of the ocean that poured from your seafoam eyes

while you did everything

and

the smooth oval of your face

intrudes into the blank space behind my eyes

 

 

and once again I’m singing endlessly

frozen as my insides melt

with the sloppy slush sound of my brain

bashing against my skull

as you drag my face to yours

and our foreheads clack together with a click

and my hair is a puddle in your greasy gritty palms

 

and the ring/ring/ringing in my ears

is the only distraction from

the feeling of each of your fingers

reaching around my face like spider’s legs

your middle finger digging into the back of my ear

(could you feel the thud/thud/thud of my heart)

as you rattle me round

like so much sand in a maraca

every second minute hour day week

since last month.

 

 

devour

have you ever seen a man eat a peach?

after long days of work,

his forearms stained with inky grime

as he sits, knees apart, muscles twitching

to feast on the life of the peach?

 

 

have you ever seen a man eat a peach?

seen him pluck her tenderly from where she lay

take that soft gold body in his hands

smooth a thumb across her velvet skin

as he contemplates his feast

on the life of the peach?

 

 

have you even seen a man eat a peach?

how he rolls her in his hands

finally settling in to cup her round body in his thick hands

squeezing her insides to her pitted spine

and with wide grin and dripping lips

sinks his teeth in

to devour the life of the peach?

 

 

and now that you know how

a man devours a peach

seen how the muscles in his forearms

flex inwards and bow outwards

as he crushes her body

seen the life of the peach drip down

his face his throat

her insides spilled over his hands

flecks of gold velvet still in his teeth

 

tell me

have you ever been

a peach?

today

today is a hard day

hard and crunching and cracked

like the gravel on that middle path

where you greeted me

 

 

today is a hard day

like Samson I thought I slept among friends

only to wake up alone

to a bald head and barren lands

 

 

today is a hard day

hard and crunching and cracked

the sound of my voice or

the sound your straw made as

you twirled it in your iced coffee

 

 

today is a hard day

you heard it in my cracked voice

as I crunched cool tears back behind my eyelids

to try and talk to you.

and you know and know and you always knew

what was really wrong

the din hidden just on the other side

of this round face and these painted lips

 

 

but you try and you try and you try

to tease to talk to treat

to coax away the voices

of my mom of my ex-boyfriend of all those people

those resounding words of exclusion

 

 

and today was a hard day

but the sun kissing our faces

brightened my day

and that scent of

honeysuckle and fresh water and sunshine on the mount

the sound of your voice

the blue of your eyes when they peer into mine

the warm soft safe place that is your embrace

these are what light these sunset eyes

and these are the air in my lungs

and these

the gold honey of your voice

the gentle grip of your hands

the way your face is filled with love when you smile

these are things which carry me

 

on days like today

when I am hard and cracked and crunching

like the gravel on middle path

on the day we first met

four years ago.

disappointment

between us right now

this feeling, is like

that uncanny valley between hurt and rage

a place you’ve never walked

But is engraved with the footsteps

of men and women with round faces and high cheeks and brown skin

just like mine.

 

 

between us right now

this feeling, is like

the time I stepped onto an anthill

and a thousand brine lipped insects

poured forth and sank

their teeming mouths into my baby flesh

 

 

 

between us right now

this feeling, is like

the day I first stepped foot into the sea

And felt it, vicious

Bite back.

 

 

between us right now

this feeling, is like

that day working the makeup counter

when another latinx strode up to me and asked

if I could get her a foundation, one

“that didn’t make her look like an Indian”

as if we looking like our forefathers

looking Native

was the worst thing that could happen to us.

 

between us right now

this feeling, is like

every moment I’ve ever looked into blue eyes

and felt the void, gazing back.

 

between you and I right now

is every other gringo

with a sly mouth and cloudy eyes and hard jaw

so willing to say things to us

things like don’t worry or  you’re beautiful

or sometimes when I’m really lucky

And your mouth is dripping and your sharp teeth glistening

with want once again

to own worlds that aren’t yours

you even say things like I love you

 

And just like every other one of us

Struggling to breathe in the space between the wall and your body

I’ll sit there and I’ll smile and I’ll look into those frosted eyes

every next time the next person

with your skin and your eyes and your privilege

mentions what they think Caitlyn Jenner’s real name should be

or how the latest fascist isn’t really problematic or

how much our feelings don’t matter

or at least, they don’t matter enough to you

to keep you from sliding into the next white feminist

with DIY bangs and bad excuses

 

 

between us right now

this feeling, is like

the vast expanse between our lives

where you loving us is always optional

and we have to love you, just to survive.

 

 

 

 

on the late night

All Father, father of my family

the start of everything I am and the end of everything I ever will be

sometimes

I think of you

late at night when I’m trapped in White Man’s Land

 

I think of everything that I’ve done

the friendships carefully crafted

the books I’ve read

book spines peeled open from reading

all the essays that these hands

hands made in your image

have written.

 

I think of the family that I left behind

in that far away city

like when you would leave Mother Creation

in that little house of white adobe

while you lead men and cattle through the great north.

 

Sometimes I am struck with thinking

in that red clay where you and

Mother Creation

formed this face and this body

round and strong

like a clay pot filled with pure water.

 

I think of all the things I’ve made

of all the things unmade

of the hate that some have for me

of the love of others save for me

 

I think of the words formed

on this mouth that’s a carbon copy of your own

these lips that confront the impossibilities of being

and not being

here in the north.

 

Sometimes I am struck with thinking

all the sunlit day and the cool night

of

this Mexican blood

this Chicana voice, high pitched and loud

this indigenous body

broad and brown and bold

 

Sometimes when I see myself

reflected in those blue eyes

of pale face men who swear

that they love me they love me they love me

my skin enlaced

with that blue tinge

like Malintzin

when she was between the arms

of he who toppled Moctezuma

 

All Father,

 

when I get to thinking

I lay there and I ask myself

Are you proud of me?