Saturday, September 1, 2012


skeleton funeral

i don't need a man anymore
i have my children
i can raise them
i have my bills
i can pay them

i can manage my grief
i can heal my body
i can validate myself
i can love and give love
i have friends when i'm lonely
i can process the memory
of my mother's bones in my arms
without obliteration

but i have forgotten
how to shed tears

then sometimes you're here
your flesh is so warm
your bones are so strong
your chest is so wide
your drum is so fierce
slowly, slowly
my heart may be learning
to open


  1. my mother puts on a leather
    jacket, the inside
    covered with tiny needles that
    latch onto her skin and
    she can never take it off
    i am wracked with guilt
    even though the skeleton man
    convinced her to put it on

    i am hysterical and scared
    as my dad tries to break down
    the door to mine and my sister’s
    room the window is boarded and
    zombies surround the house

    my dad isn’t my dad anymore
    no matter how many times
    i yell for him to stop pounding
    at the door and save us
    and why am i in this room?
    always trapped in the same
    room i had when i was thirteen

    this is the room the werewolf broke
    in and dragged my sister away,
    the room i could only stick my arm
    out a crack as the house sank
    into a lake that never existed

    the same room we put our mattresses
    together to make a trampoline
    and turned up the radio to make
    the rats and mold and car accidents,
    of a real world, disappear

  2. 17. rise
    you seek to dehumanize, to
    euthanize, to
    burn down everything i am
    woman boricua poor i
    am worthless, or
    so you would like me to believe
    divide and conquer, you say, no
    wonder you celebrate rape culture and
    blame us for being putas. so
    tell me, man behind the curtain,
    does it please you to see me paraded
    about, a silly little fat girl
    brown skin, words
    thick like my thighs and waiting to
    you would love nothing more than to put me in a
    pile of dead leaves and light the
    match, see your
    little problem disappear in a cloud of
    smoke (the stench of stereotypes is a
    sweet perfume to
    but we rise, even if our cages are
    skeletal our souls are
    we undulate and wail
    never silent never
    unbroken (even if we
    have felt that way at times)

  3. Tomorrow

    Open my front door, cross the crab-grass lawn and narrow street,
    Crest Avenue, as though it was the edge of the living world,
    hop the chain link fence beneath dark green cypress,
    scamper over the broad emerald meadows
    then called the 17th and 11th fairways
    and there we'd find piles of extra dirt that no longer fit
    into freshly dug graves.

    Games to play: dirt clod wars (with the occasional pebble or chunk
    of sod); find the oldest gravemarker (something from the 1880's);
    jump across a newly interned resident; hide and seek; peek-a-BOO.

    Golfers frequently shanked 4 irons into the graveyard;
    we'd find the dimpled white balls on our explorations and pretend
    they were eggs from some alien creature
    or maybe a seagull
    before polishing them up like alabaster gems
    to try to sell them back to the notorious cheapskates who strode the fairways
    in awful tartan slacks and the reek of cigars.

    Especially as dusk snuck in with the rolling fog
    and the fog horn lowed its sonorous warning
    like a giant metronome, every minute,
    to meandering ships that might wander too close to the hidden shore,
    we'd stare upwards as the tip of the flagpole disappeared,
    and nearby the sodium lampposts would flare a futile yellow into the gloom,
    while pigeons cooed their lost love songs
    amid the old, dripping wet, grey pines. There
    above the bones and cherry wood coffins
    our voices might drop into silence
    but we could still breathe and laugh
    as though tomorrow held no meaning

    which, come to think of it,
    it didn't much. On occasion we'd vacate
    while the hearse circled the road and women
    in black strode clutching bouquets, kneeling, falling away.

    We didn't have tomorrow
    to worry about, even when the marker
    didn't go past a month: Here Lies
    someone we didn't know
    gone before tomorrow

    as though it never happened.

  4. Reading Georges Bataille on my professors recommendation, I can discuss
    the abstract, the intellectual, the
    a priori observations of eroticism and

    Ask anyone who has ever said that they would
    die for love, who idolised poor, passionate,
    silly and immature Romeo and Juliet.

    Ask anyone who ever thought they could die from the lack of love, not just poets and songwriters, not just the plain, plump girls
    longing, sighing, swooning,
    fal.l, fall, falling with no-one to

    La Belle, La Belle, with no
    mercy on her soft, red, lips.

    We seek that which is strange, estranged,
    the other, the uncaught, the taboo to break.
    Why should not death, to poets and lovers,
    not be the ultimate embrace, the promised love,
    the bridegroom whose embrace will never
    let go.

    What is the ultimate in abandon?
    How can it not be that
    which is his.

  5. The diamonds across the street are blinding me
    I cannot see the other side of the lake and I know you are there
    waiting and watching and wanting me to find a way
    to the other side but I can’t and you know I can’t
    Yet they keep shining, hitting the sun and their fragments
    keep blinding my eyes and I cannot see yours
    green and dark like pines at midnight.