Friday, October 30, 2015

Ofrenda (A Dia de los Muertos Offering)

Were I “that kind of Mexican”
I’d make an authentic
instead of this:

por mis abuelos,
for Trini
who always had hugs and
warmth in her smoker’s rattle voice,
y Juan
and his ever present stubble which
scraped my face with each embrace,
y Irene
whose caustic humor
belied a broken life and body.

Then there are mis tios:
Rudy the bear,
Ray the quiet genius,
Fernie the garage philosopher,
Eddie the passionate spark,
Kiki the gentle soul,
Carmen the humble and strong,
y Nancy the loud, proud eagle.

Then, there are my cousins,
Celia and Johnny,
both taken too damned soon.

mi Pop,
Daniel (pronounced Dan-Yell),
called Copi,
short for “el Capitan”
who gave me everything he could.

I send my prayers
to God
in thankfulness,
in wonder,

and I pray
for each of you
to send me
what I need
from wherever you are

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Things I Love the Most Are Not Things (for Anita)

You don’t need to
write me a poem,
or pen me a song,
or bring me a fist full
of fresh picked daisies.

A mountain of possessions
will not persuade me,
nor will a watertight argument
convince me to your side.

The things I love the most
are not things,

so bring me your passion,
long for me in your breast,
swaddle me in gold compassion.

Your joyful laughter,
your melody
sweet and true,
is the dream
from which
I never hope
to awaken.

Written in response:

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Kissing Contest

The theme of
her 8th grade
boy-girl birthday party
was “Tonight’s the Night”
by Rod Stewart.

Barely teenage couples
slow-danced and
laughed in the
nervous darkness.

Then came the
hotly anticipated,
much whispered about
“who could kiss
the longest?” contest,
a gauntlet
presumably intended
to discern some kind of
bravado and boldness
for its participants.

Despite my overweight
bookworm status,
I knew I could win this,
and I was matched up with
the only other Mexican invited.

The timer started
and the competing couples
all lunged in:

the others catcalled, hooted,
vicariously enjoying the
implied bravery
of this all,
it was just an act,
there was no passion –
just lip-to-lip suction.

Like most guys,
I learned how to
disassociate my feelings
from my body
in kindergarten,
when boys are taught
to ignore their boundaries
of privacy
and learn to urinate
standing next to
some random 5 year old
in an accompanying stall.

Compared to that,
kissing a girl
was a piece of cake,
a party game
to be won,
and we did,

and I still have
the prize:
a 45 single
of Peter Frampton’s
“Do You Feel
Like We Do?”

Friday, October 23, 2015


Even in your
unrelenting, oppressive darkness,
we see you
because your light still shines,
your spark still dances.

as you are,
we keep writing letters
to the warden,
and searching
for the key
to release you.

The next time
you go over the wall,
we’ll go to the library,
sing all the verses of ”American Pie”
when it comes on the radio,
and practice driving in reverse
so you can get
your license.

the sun is always shining
somewhere on this planet,
the trick is
putting ourselves
where it is.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Golgotha 5-1479

After meeting with
his press agent,
campaign strategist,
personal adviser
and astrologist,
Pilate thought
creating a martyr
would probably
come back to bite him
in the ass
in the long run.

There was something
about the demeanor
of the accused.
He was too cool,
too controlled
and it made him
rethink his initial

"This Jesus probably
had some kind of trick
up his sleeve,
like that
loaves and fishes schtick,
and maybe I should
find a way
to bring Jesus
into the Roman fold.

don't I always say
“keep your friends close,
and your enemies

He summoned
his Chief of Staff
to put in a call
to Mount Golgotha
to stop the execution.

As the rotary phone dial
slowly zuzzed and whirred






one of his lackeys
sauntered in,
sucking on a lamb-pop,
causally announcing
that Jesus had just died.

With that,
Pilate hung up the phone
and stared out
at the desert,
vast and unforgiving,

wondering at
the array of
the ramifications
now before him.

[For Fireblossom's Friday Challenge - here's the linkarino 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Rivulets of Desire

These wet
and slippery
tongues caress one
as lovers share
the same
hot breath.

A niggling,
drop of sweat,
down the small
of her back,

and joins the droplets,
the rivulets of desire,

the slick anatomy
finding and
reuniting with
one another,
resulting in
the grandest,
and most sumptuous
mystery of all:

how can so much
cause so much fire?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Even She Deserved Her Dignity

There were tales about her,
rumors and gossip:
she doted on the
decrepit star,
plied him with compliments
and sexual pleasure,
orchestrated his return
to public life and relevancy
as his days waned.

A friend of mine
who also liked
Hollywood’s dark side,
worked in a mental hospital
in Norwalk, California.

Once night she smuggled
contraband out of the hospital
she knew I would appreciate.

I looked at the photo ID
and I confirmed:
yes, that was her.

She gave me the card,
knowing I’d appreciate
it’s macabre and unique value.

I looked at her face:
crone’s wild hair,
wide blue eyes,
weather-beaten skin,
and wondered
about each ignoble step
that led her to that place.

I stashed the card

Through the years,
I learned when the star
she was kicked out of the house
where his children decided
she had milked his fortune
for too long.

Without an income
or an address,
she descended into a world
from which she never

I don’t know
if she really
was his savior,
his paramour,
his twisted puppeteer,
and probably
never will.

Years later,
I found the card
I’d stashed away,
with the shallow hope
I could maybe sell it
to an even more callous
and selfish freak
than I.

But I threw it away.

I no longer
wanted the proof,
the indictment,
of her insanity,
her weakness.

Whoever she was,
she was a daughter,
maybe a sister,
maybe even
a mother,
and even she deserved
her dignity,
her privacy,

even if the rest
of the world
thought she was
just a starfucker.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Mutant Messiah Speaks

“I hate that it’s come to this,
but this world just doesn’t unite

We need tragedy.
We need chaos.
We need an attack.

Only then is the world
set in the same direction.

Only then is there
a shared recognition
of life’s preciousness.

A plane flying into a skyscraper.
A twisted warrior in a kindergarten class.
Unidentified white powder in an envelope.

These are the things
that unite us.

Fear binds us
and perhaps
in our vulnerability,
we will learn trust,
and find love.

If you’re no longer
afraid of God,
then be afraid of me:
I’ve strapped on my explosives
said my prayers,
and am coming for you.

I am not trying to be
some mutant messiah,
but please remember,

I am
sacrificing my life
for you."

Friday, October 02, 2015

My Review of The Holy Bible

It took
seven and a half years,
a chapter a day,
five days a week,
but I finally finished
reading the Bible.

My review:

keep most of the
red letters
where Jesus spoke,

interpret those
red letters
with the same
breadth and imagination
as an avant garde

red-line everything else,
except Proverbs,
and James.

Ignore the Book of Revelation.