Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Bar Poem

Brooklyn comes alive

The barbwire wrapped tire on the chain link fence reaches as low as my neck and I shutter to acknowledge the dog barking at my heels.

In the morning construction is in full swing. I get hootin’ and hollerin’ but they get diggers and 4x4’s. I love and hate the moments between their cigarettes. They sit around like stray cats sssstts sssst.

This is my home ‘cause Brooklyn is the place to find myself. So I walk for a few blocks and practice patience—waiting for the walking man to light up. The noise of traffic hits my mind, numbing it as my feet navigate the cracks in the sidewalks.

Finally I’m there and it’s a fuckin’ Russian Orthodox Church, only now it’s been sold and I’m going to dance all night where alters used to stand. There was a moment that night where I thought I stepped outside myself and I was painfully different than I once thought I would be.

I live in what some used to call the ghetto. I’ll always remember the grandma from a few stoops down saving me from the homeboys holding up their pants. I got a scar on my knee that night, from tripping over the rack of hipster bikes on my run home. Repeating the whole way, “I’m just trying to get there.”

And who can forget the sandwiches from the corner bodega? No one. That thinly sliced pastrami, on the day Puerto Rican flags flew as far as we could see, melted in my mouth and dripped down my chin. Then the cops told me to stay in my house while they calmed the crowd. All I wanted to do was get some cold beer to ease out of the hot day and into a warm night.

And sometimes there are moments when I step out into the sun from underground and I feel like I’ve found everything I need right here. Right in this little funky borough that’s so full of flavor. But other times I know there are a million mistakes to swallow down, it makes my insides break a part. Brooklyn is one situation during the day and an entirely different feeling after the moon is up. Just look at the stories all the graffiti spells out for us, it’s pain and beauty—fear and enlightenment.

Every time I see a Jesus statue in someone’s window, I wait for it to come alive.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bar Poem

Of the Sea

There were freckles
at my fingertips and
I followed them
down your back.
When you woke me,
softly by whispering
my name I was breathless.
By the moon,
maybe more so
by your touch.
Then we basked
in the light of the night
until the sun was on our skin.
The smoke of cigarettes
dried our tongues
and then there were kisses
all over me.
It was heavy and light
and we found the space between.
My name means "of the sea,"
and I swim your eyes.
My body feels everything
when you sink down in it.
I could start
my days with you
until I have no more,
but I love taking you in
at night just the same.
Let us follow the sweet
subtle sounds of a heart
until ours meet
the same beat.
I'll say it again
and again and again
that I'm yours.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


i dream about
that go like this and
that go like that.
my back hurts when i wake up
so i crawl to the shower.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Fast Forward Exercise From the Past

Swift Evolution

I kiss, I tell, I lose my virginity on a bed without sheets. It's the first semester of high school, then the beginning of summer six years later, and now I'm in love with a man who didn't even remember me the first night we talked at a bar from the class we had once shared. We spend the summer in Boston, in an old motel-turned-Harvard dorm. There are shopping squares, liquor stores, expensive cafes. The pre-college kids have video games and music they're always playing; even with the door shut you can hear them yelling at their televisions. My boyfriend eats peanut butter from the jar with his fingers. He's twenty-two and lazy, I want to unwind too so we stay in bed all weekend to make love and drink rum. A month later his teaching gig ends and we go back to Brooklyn. By winter, he's got a full-time job and we're at different points in our lives: One is a blurry-eyed movie animator in a studio downtown, the other is a struggling student with a full schedule. A couple with too little time and hardly enough love to still hold each other tightly while they sleep.