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


against your teeth when you talk


there is

the sound of my feet as I skitter over to you


a baby’s footsteps on the hard corporate carpet


there is

the sweet serious baritone of your laugh


honey flowing from deep in that broad chest of yours


there is

the sound of wounds healing the


of your hand on my back the


of your fingers in my hair the

softest thud


of my chin on your shoulder when we hug the

prosaic hum of our bodies falling into safe rhythms



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.



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.


please please please

can we talk? can I

bare you my square teeth in full grimace

suck in my body til I collapse

like a dying star?


I know I know I know


lift me up you are

the rock on which I stand the

reason for everything I am


please please please

just hold me once more

even if I


deserve you.


I know I know I know

your migraines don’t touch the


just ignore

the bruises the torn hair the ring



please please please

hold me in

that strong

grip, that warm crush of

two bodies together from disparate continents that

soft warmth

that wraps around me

like the ocean

like golden sun at the mountaintop

like the desert sand around my feet

let me breath in that scent

soft blue and sunlight like your eyes.


I know I know I know

we always end up here

tears on someone’s face

I know I know I know

the way

my makeup stains when

we remember what your

forefathers stole from mine



please please please

just like that first spring

when you saw me smiling


when my eyes watered and glossed

the image of you untwining

the flower from my mat of hair

when those thick curls didn’t bother

your hardened hands when

you first held this clay body;


just please please please

I know I know we know

soon it’ll be the last

but just one more

soft sweet sound

of your arms wrapped around me

before we’ll never be the same again.






safe (2)

I brace myself to race myself

force yourself up the stairs.

(its been too long)

you know full well, just tell

Let him know not listening is disrespectful

who cares that he’s the light of your life

the only reason you smile

(he has a wife)

get past the kind eyes that leave you tongue tied

Be the strong woman like everyone always tells you to.

I don’t need your charity, just for clarity

I could’ve done this myself

(with what money?)

maybe i just want to taunt

others with how well I get by in the cold.

none of this comes out in our roundabout though

just the sunshined scent of your skin

(cariño mio its you)

nullifies what I had within

i cry instead of yelling.

just let me be! don’t do this to me

my mind is a steel seive

( you’re amazing)

all brave no cave what a lie

I turn into a little girl in front of you

this is a little city quite pretty

but its one giant hell

(I’m just a puta)

if people knew you bought me things too

this would not end well.

i feel so dirty please don’t think I’m flirting

I’m spaced out on a flashback

(who would trust me?)

I brace for a chase as you get up from your chair

But suddenly you hug me.

what do I say as the world melts away

I press against you, trying to melt

(I’m flirty, just like the dad I never had)

all these words I’ve never said try to leave my head

I bite them back


you’re saying words but my thoughts chirp like birds


my arms won’t hold you but in my mind they do


(I just want to feel safe with you)

safe (1)

ssh sh sh

familiar little rasps

(you called, darling?)

tee hee hee

familiar laughing gasps

you smile, with your little girl’s teeth

 little opal wreaths.

(you’re beautiful)

you’re wearing no sweater today

despite the frigid air that blows in from the bay

you  don’t sit with me

you enter my room, resting knock kneed

(you still don’t trust me?)

against the wall. pressing into it

hiding in it

i open my mouth, a giant’s maw to caw

but then i notice the twirl of hair ’round your jaw

(something is wrong)

you’re nervous, scared

i’m unprepared

what you say next is the real shock

puts my soul in a headlock

(wait what no)

somehow I’ve been rude

my generosity misconstrued

is this why you won’t wear my gift?

please don’t cause this rift

it cost me nothing to buy

and you nothing to try

(don’t do this to me)

you start to cry, not outwardly

but inflective little spindles of pain, cowardly

little shakes that tremble your voice.

I try to backtrack, this wasn’t my choice

(I did it to be nice)

you shake your head again, short hair flying

please stop you’ll make me start crying

i beg you to accept it, use it, have it

But I see the fear, the wariness in your eyes

(it hurts)

you’re too street smart

you think im setting you up to play some part

i try to loop around, backtrack

this isnt an attack

(i just can’t say i love you)

i can see bad memories bubbling in your eyes

(don’t )

I hug you, keep you from going awry


you dont hold me: but just rest in my grasp


you press into my chest and softly gasp


“I just wanted to feel safe with you”

(I want to put a smile on your face)

Greasepaint (Memories)

Slinking back home

crawling into my bed

curled tight, finally alone.




Our eyes are red

as you scream

even though I tried to not make this a scene

I just wanted to be held

you wanted to be listened to

Our love, once of a seamless weld

pristine sculpture of the perfectly woo’d

in an instant, felled.




It’s been a month since our implosion.

I’ve a new paramour

and you’ve told Cupid, “Nevermore”.

I remember, that morning in May

when we were first together

Endless messages, speaking every day

thinking it would be forever

that our souls would be pressed in lavish ballet.

At night I dream of you

Dabbing on your greasepaint with a cloud-white sponge.

Lighting your oval face with a hasty grunge.

Even just once, I wish

I could have held that pyramidal cloud

sweeping paint across your nose with a swish.

You are always  in my heart

Countless days you made me smile.

Please, why must me part?

Little bear, return to me

Why can’t things be like they used to be?

When I was young and wild,

And you loved me like a darling child.

Now you won’t even look at me

Bitter as rotted black tea.

I reach out, and you ignore

Splattering my heart, animal gore.

Little bear, you taught me what love felt like.

That heat that burns like a pig iron spike

in the brain.

Come back to me, dearest friend-don’t let this line be cut.

Mine is the hand eternally outstretched–but

I fear yours is the hand that will never be held.

(You’re so cold without our love)