Are You Alone Now?

Day 4 Scattered plastic bottles of water
Bags of chips, large foil sheets
A refugee child changes diapers of a little girl
A toddler she does not know
The overhead lights stay on around the clock
A U.S. border patrol guard kicks
16 year-old Keylin from Honduras
For four days
Keylin drinks toilet water
She prays a lot.

Organ Triangulations

NaPoWrimo2019 #3 prompt: meanderings in body and time

Do you know about organ triangulations?
My Ecuadorian Doctora friend asked recently.
In triangulations you turn one against the other
To side with you.
Like we do with our friends at times
And then feel guilty right after.
Yes, she said. That is where the pain will be, look for it.

I know I have a triangulation:
the gallbladder, bile duct and liver
It is my asterism, my constellation, my Summer Triangle
Deneb in the constellation Cygnus the Swan
Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp
Altair in the constellation Aquila the Eagle.

At least that’s how it was when I was years younger
But now my constellation feels more like a Winter Triangle,
dark, insistent, painful
Like a barn owl with two eyes, black circles,
the nose in the shape of a shield, defensive
Or more like a serpent
ready to strike out

Triangular connections, held tight by three corners
Can store too much debris on one side
This is when rigidity sets in over time
Even if my face is a smooth rectangle
And my body looks like an apple
my gallbladder, the size of a small pear
hoards more bile from the liver than it should

Tested more than thirty years ago
the gallbladder was on the upper end of acceptable
That meant it could explode any day
Let me ask you gallbladder
now that you have my attention.
Are you the instigator or the victim?

I was the instigator from the time you were a child, the gallbladder said.
Remember how you and your brothers
Stuck your butts up in the air and inhaled and inhaled
Until the burbs came and then the farts. I caused those.
I sent psychic debris into your solar plexus, your bright jewel
I released a stream of long held sticky amber bile
~ Stockpiled from your liver
I have a wonderful collection, some of it is toxic
Some of it resembles microtektites
Food debris transformed into golden glass drops
by the mere pressure of my pear walls.

Remember when you had swallowed
a glass full of olive oil and lemon juice?
And more than 100 little stones were sucked
from my little pouch?
You called it a flush. That was uncalled for.
They were all my gems.
I am more careful now and release this yellow glowing bile,
capable of digestive fires of anger, resentment, guilt and doubt,
when least expected.
That is where you are at now.

My gallbladder just confessed, that he is a hoarder of psychic debris
And enjoys giving the bile ducts a surprise flush
So the two of you are in cahoots together? I ask
What have you done to the liver? How long has it been ignored?
The gallbladder shrugs.
You have to give it vodka now
To keep it in line, to override our strangulations.

Zeus the Cloud Gatherer

(Day 2 NaPoWriMo 2019 prompt: end with a question to further the poem)

Cow eyed, big and beautiful
She bent her eyes inside
And fell all day long
Into violent waters
Until sunset
Until she put on her high-heeled shoes
And wrapped her milk fingers
Around the cusp of her neck
And waited for his breath
Behind her
For his sensitive touch and hair knots
To coil around her voluminous arms
Nothing moved, other than her caressing hand
Other than the falling of the night
Until a whisper of wind lifted her skirt
And she asked
Is that you, Zeus, the cloud gatherer?

Any Instructions for Dying?

I have been contemplating this
Harmlessness, this giving up
On the sea of all words
Will I be all there when it is time?
In that moment, fully present
Shit! I am going to die
Will I curl up in a ball
Or sit up ramrod straight
Eyes half closed as if in meditation
In no time at all
~ I have skewed myself for too long
Will there be no blame or feeling sorry?
Will I know that I am
Unheard of?


Perhaps there are clouds, too many
From Cañar to Azogues?
Those skirts of turquoise, green knee socks
Double colored woolen wraps with safety pins
Red and brown or turquoise
Those full lips, make me want
To ask her
I do not dare
follow the color of mountains

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern #30

You take us on a tour of Houston’s old Buffalo Bayou Park cistern, the City’s first underground source of drinking water. Built in 1927 it provided decades of service until it sprang a leak, was drained and rebuilt as a monument. You walk backwards, facing us, your arms sway rapidly back and forth. You peer intently into dark spaces between cement pillars, between reflected light moving towards infinity. You mesmerize the cistern into an underground cathedral and offer us a song composed by Irwin Berlin. We wait, wondering what you will sing, perhaps They Say Its Wonderful, It’s a Lovely Day or Doin’ What Comes Natural. You position your body towards the cavernous space. You take a deep breath and you sing, oh my God, NO, you sing, God Bless America, over the glistening shallow water. Quick! Before the cathedral disintegrates, someone, please, get us some Tex Mex tacos and ice-cold beer!

Orange fugue #29

With a bright orange rake

you summon dead leaves from the ash

as if sweeping a monk’s skirt

I remove poem sheets

stack them into a palimpsest

to write anew about love.

When the wind is unpredictable

you breathe air from my blue eyes

I say nothing

drink white sky droplets

as if the Beloved and you

are my flesh and blood.

O tomorrow, may it never come,

when your aging handsome face

unruly eyebrows and sag of mouth

will be cut with orange scissors straightening

your lips into a pomegranate smile.

Only then will I lick

the luminescent orange to red drops

escaped into my heart.