renewal

in this age of renewal there are many firsts

first time walking into a new home

first time walking into a new office

first time registering for classes

first time riding the bus to a new campus

in this age of renewal, there are many emotions

I am sad, a river flowing to a lonely sea

I am happy, a pond filled with golden koi

I am nervous, a seed sending out a trembling stem to heaven

I am excited, a cactus flower eagerly opening to the night sky

In this age of renewal, there are many blessings

the joy of bonds between friends well kept

the sound of the laughter between new friends

the gentle hum of many people working as a unified team

and most of all,

the beautiful vision of your smile when we embrace, a string of pearls

friends finally together at the end of a long journey.

 

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a good memory

sometimes, I think of the day we met

of how different our pretenses were for meeting the other.

In truth, I wanted to scam you. To use you,

unfurl you like a napkin, wipe away the dust from packing my skeletons back in the closet,

and throw you out.

 

sometimes, I think of the day we met

of how you looked at me when I called your name.

In truth, I wanted to feel powerful. To use you,

wrap you up in my words, smear into you the greasy gaudy nature of my persona

and cage you in.

 

sometimes, I think of the day we met

of how I looked into your eyes

and in that moment, the apparitions came to me

In truth, I was stymied by your gaze. How could I use you,

ignore the bloom of sage that are your eyes, gloss over the smooth sound of your voice,

and throw you out?

 

Sometimes. I think of the second day we met

of how I looked into your eyes

and in that moment, the apparitions came to me

In truth, they met the grey green wall of your gaze and decided. To use you,

wrap themselves in your form, tear away the soft cloths of your words,

and trap me.

 

Sometimes, I think of the second day we met

of how I looked into your eyes

In truth, it felt like being in pouring rain, freezing and cleansing simultaneously

And all I wanted was to use you,

to let you wipe away the greasy gaudy nature of my persona, unfurl my crown,

to let you wrap me in a thousand soft cloths

and return me to the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

a secret?

hey, listen

blue eyes beautiful

you can’t hide

 

not yourself, not your feelings, not your thoughts

 

hey, listen

blue eyes beautiful

you can’t hide

 

not the shaking of your voice, not the quivering in your hands, not the crumbling of your thoughts

 

hey, listen

blue eyes beautiful

please don’t hide

 

can’t you see that I am hooked on every thought, every motion of your hands, and every shaken word

that tumbles out

from your perfect peachen pout?

 

 

surprise!

everytime I think I am finally old enough

have finally done enough work with people unlike you

have finally walked or biked or flown around the world far enough

everytime I think I have impressed every other white man with blue eyes enough

to forget everything about you

 

to forget every moment of hot-faced shame or every stomach dropping moment

where you all looked at me,

laughing with those perfect white teeth pulled back to talk about how much I suck

 

everytime I think I’ve escaped the shadow of all those memories

of thinking I could just sit on the jetty, on the cool black stones until

the bioluminescent sea carried me away

 

everytime everytime everytime

you come rushing back to me,

 

or really, I come falling back to you

like the day the sand disappeared from beneath my feet

and suddenly I was drowning in the freezing sea

nothing but sightless soundless blue water above me

 

desperately crying for help

each wide mouth scream filling my lungs with crystalline pain

eyes flowing their own tiny sea until the salt seared them shut

limbs thrashing desperate for a hold on something, someone

 

until the waves flung me back onto the sand

reeling and retching and crying

for everyone to see.

(surprise!)

hold me tight (or don’t)

hold me tight

(or don’t)

this isn’t that song, you know

you can’t just peep and pick and choose

the pieces of my latinity that you’ll worship to infinity

you either hold me tight

(or don’t)

 

this isn’t that movie, you know

you can’t just say you love

my brown skin my black eyes my sacred hair my divinity

just to reject the traumas you can’t fetishize into something you can own

you either hold me tight

(or don’t)

 

this isn’t that book, you know

you can’t just spend everyday

listening for hours about the million ways I’m nothing like you

just to dismiss this halfway house of an identity the minute your whiteness can’t save it

you either hold me tight

(or don’t)

 

So either hold me tight with a body nothing like mine

(or don’t)

If this isn’t how our story goes then say so

there’s a million stories in my culture that tell me exactly what you’ll do

I’ll keep a candle lit for you, because what else is love for but forgiving men like you

But I hope the distance between us cuts you like a knife

the next time you either hold me tight

(or don’t)

 

 

 

 

al otro lado de la pared

on the other side of the wall

that plexiglass fortress that keeps you

sequestered away in that little office of yours

complete with windows barred in rusted iron

there’s a million sounds to reverberate the air

 

there is

the sound of your tongue

tliq*tliq*tliq

against your teeth when you talk

 

there is

the sound of my feet as I skitter over to you

tuuk*tuuk*tuuk

a baby’s footsteps on the hard corporate carpet

 

there is

the sweet serious baritone of your laugh

heh*heh*heh

honey flowing from deep in that broad chest of yours

 

there is

the sound of wounds healing the

swish*swish*swish 

of your hand on my back the

scritch*pat*scratch 

of your fingers in my hair the

softest thud

tuht*tuht*tuht

of my chin on your shoulder when we hug the

prosaic hum of our bodies falling into safe rhythms

zoom*ziss*shhh*

 

all these million sounds to reverberate the air

in front of that red-iron barred window

where you’re sequestered away in that office of yours

a tiny fortress of gleaming plexiglass to keep you

on the other side of the wall.

 

las canicas

what if I told you that

whenever we talk I spend what feels like endless hours

staring into the depths of your eyes

marveling at the perfect smoothness of your irises

how there is not a single ridge or pore or dip or divet

not a single flaw in the perfect disk of your eyes

instead the rivulet of colors

the warmest hazel the deepest grey the softest blue

all flow outwards from your pupil

a hundred thousand rivers

crisscrossing on the flat plane of your iris

their overlapping flow uniting to make the perfect jade of your eyes

a sea in which I would glad spend

a hundred thousand years embraced.