The Interview Process

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Come in, take a seat, make yourself
comfortable; this process will last as
long as your patience.

Show me your resume, the amount
of hearts you’ve wasted,
and tell me what you have to offer.

But don’t speak with your mouth,
speak with your eyes and show me
the force between two poles.

Magnetize me, pull me in,
like a thread through a needle’s
eye and cover this nude body.

Tell me a little about your experience:
Are you a beast in the woods, or a
baby wrapped in a virgin’s toga?

Are you a stone wall who never breaks,
or perhaps a flow of emotions which
sometimes pours onto the floor?

Have you ever curled up next to the
idea of perfection, or do your
aspirations lie pale on pale?

Hispanic or Latino, Native American,
Asian, Black, White or Other?
It doesn’t matter which box is checked.

Your references, I could careless
about their numbers and addresses,
boxer-briefs or secret dresses.

The sky is my preference,
from the top of the mountains to
the bottom valley and their streams.

Are you the rocks they course
through, or the misty daze at the
base of a waterfall?

Will you stay for more than a month,
a year, three years, or leave when in
the middle of a dream?

I have fired many before the
word “boy” ever had a chance to
blend with “friend.”

I’ve extinguished them, watered down
the embers and let smoke fly into
the air, and you no different.

Until you can touch my skin and
dazzle the planetarium within will
I let you count my freckle’s constellations.

Under skills you have placed the
tongue, the fingers and the pelvic area;
all the tasteful parts of a man.

But is your spirit able to be xeroxed,
faxed, sent in a message and delivered
to the mind’s office?

Where shall I store you, exactly?
In the returns, the write-ups,
the business deals or trash bin?

Are you the special kind of person
I’m looking for, the one who actually
tells the truth on their application?

Or could you be the liar, the one
who fibs about his education and
smiles like a training video?

The perfect fit, the cog, the morning
turn-over in a fog and a warm embrace;
what can you give  my company?

Everything or nothing? Something
old, something new, something
borrowed, something blue.

Are you single or divorced?
Are you a widower who longs for
his lover’s ghostly lament?

Have you ever been arrested?
Is your only crime that which bares
the guilt of pulling him under?

And finally, I want to know why
you believe I should pick you like
a precious honey suckle.

I’ve asked all I need to ask,
there are others who I need to see,
if I’m interested, I will contact you.

April 2017

Never Born

poem

You have said it before, you have said it again;
that butcher knife you throw at me in hopes to win
the Civil War. It’s about an infant, the crash and
death of girlhood dreams, an umbilical cord to
hang myself with like my departed cousin.

It’s something I cannot physical offer, and every
time you mention it I feel like an abortion clinic:
cold, sterile, a burning cap of bleach down my
esophagus which poisons my veins. I am, after all,
the ruined potential of hand-me-downs.

But what you don’t know is I’ve dreamed of
being a father and not some worn down mule
who collapses beneath a colorful arc, and I have
named these babies Lily and Brent; I sometimes
sing of them like a carol.

Perhaps my best option is to dig around in
the dumpster and find one who is plastic,
sign it over legally and let it devour my heart
as my sister consumed yours. That would be
an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

You remind me that I’ll never know about the
magic of fairies or feel the warmth of my own flesh
and blood like a soft pillow. I never did commit
suicide, but the idea kills me a hundred times and
I have felt smaller than a zygote.

Sometimes it’s a nauseating mobile above my
head, always turning with its crank music and
stars and moons out of reach. It’s a diaper I’ll never
change, feces and formula I’ll never smell, and this
damn compartment closes in.

Or sometimes it is like a revolver, the cylinder
spins and spins; there are no blanks, just wasted
gun powder and a soldier who kneels before the
temple of seeds. Could he be a father of needs,
or will he remain a temporary daddy?

The one night care, the sleeper who wakes
and never stays, the one of many that walk on
ice and slide from my covers. If by chance
Hell freezes over and he stays to grow a garden,
would Heaven approve that he isn’t a mother?

As always, the relentless cry of words make the
heart stop beating for a second and cracks form
where my love can never be given. Instead of
nursery rhymes I am drowning in a sea where
maternal requiems churn violently.

And hearing those words is the same as opening
my rib cage and letting all that is left spew onto
the floor, and believe it or not, it’s pulled the
salt from my lids, the mucus from nostrils and
left my throat sore from screaming at God.

Maybe his plan is for me to bury my seed in a
flesh tulip without touch, without passion,
without love, but through an addict’s key to happiness;
the way farmers line up cows and inject them
to bare more calves to milk.

And so it seems that my destiny is to stand beside
my statue of an abomination and hold the stone
in my pale, weak arms. Whatever it is, know that
beating a dead horse only peels back the inevitable
and it’s a senseless attack that kills me. 

— November 1st, 2016

For a Partner in Crime

homework2.jpg

Don’t bother learning their interests,
don’t bother finding poetry in their eyes
or the boy in their laugh, for they will fade
like the rest and become another memory
you want to forget.

Not because they are objects, but for the
simple reason that you only braille, or
frail ink they wash off and the goodbye
towel to wipe away anything that was
ever confessed.

They are not your priest, they are not
a Holy box with butterfly walls, they are
merely a reflection of what you desire
and love, whatever it is, will be extinguished
after the heat cools.

Don’t be a fool, know he is a Jack to
jump over and never become the candle
stick; you are the flame and always
remember that, because to not have
confidence is to be snuffed.

Out of mind, out of sight, out of touch
with their five fingers is how you should
leave them, like a closed book without
a mark so they will be forced to find
the place where they left off.

Somewhere between the conversation
and the sheets, and if they don’t care
to find the hidden meaning in the pages
then they were never important; just an
asterisk to white out.

Some will pretend to be your biography,
the scandalous tell-all, a cup of tea and
the feathers on Hedda Hopper’s hat; they
were, after all, only a mouth to begin with
and an ear to bite.

But nobody knows the hidden bullet,
or why you even crawled into their
chamber in the first place, except for
you, of course, and your heavy gun you
aimed that blew them away.

That blast which swept them off their
feet and caused their toes to curl like
angel hair, and an empty hole like the
“O” in moan, where a heart was never
a heart but just a club.

An ace of spades that tell it like it is,
a message clearer than glacier water
or the sweat on their forehead, it lets them
know you can read their hand and
every card in the deck.

The king, the queen, the joker, they all
shuffle around and mix things up,
always showing up in all the places
you least expect to find them, such as
the diner, the party or in the pool.

And as a wise woman once told me,
one cannot un-pluck, just like it’s impossible
to un-die or un-smoke or un-speak, and
that once it has been done it is done;
however, you can understnand.

But there is one who sees what the blind cannot,
they leave fingerprints and see
beyond the motive and down to the core
where the diamond sparkles; this is
evidence you shouldn’t destroy.

Because they will defend you and turn
tables to find the answer, they will testify
in silence to the death while listening
to every reason and to them you are only
guilty until proven innocent.

Coming Out

It’s a band-aid that covers wounds
they stabbed into your hands and feet as
a child, only it never heals and it’s always there.

Because at one point they thought you
would be the second coming of Christ, greater
than Sodom and Gomorrah, straight-laced.

A shoe, boot heavy, foot-filled and below
the sole is expectations: A child, a baby, born
of blood and flesh, never, ever adopted.

The birds never sing, the bees always sting
when your father explained tender feelings of
being a real boy, it made it you rot inside.

That same infection, growing over your
body and crystallizing you in scabs, the kids
on the playground picked at it.

They called you a f*g, they called you a
queer, girl of the year, cradling baby dolls
in your arms and trying on your mother’s heels.

Whether you are top or a bottom, you’ve
always wanted to be beautiful like her and
used her hairbrush as a microphone.

When you gazed in the mirror, there was
always the realization beneath your skin like a
splinter or the claws of lobster gripping you.

It never let it go, it grew in strength,
it tore you apart and died a millions times
when your parents said he couldn’t come over.

And when he did spend the night, this boy
was your friend and eventually the two words
between deteriorated and left only one:

Boyfriend; God, how you wanted one, a prince,
a bromance without the B, someone to sleep next
to and dream of another life.

One which hadn’t been buried by the church,
your evil grandmother, the cousins who disowned
you, the dust beneath the carpet.

Swept away, family secret, shame, shame,
shame, no matter how accepting they become,
they will never know the pain.

They will never what it’s like to want to die,
to hold sleeping pills in your palm or hang
yourself with a belt; they call it crazy.

As a matter of fact, even the ones who aren’t
suicidal are seen as insane, because the
desire to kiss the same gender is an illness.

They have no idea that God is of nature,
a water spirit, washed over by tears and
called upon constantly with every breath.

Eventually you had to do it, you had to come,
out accept the desire for his torso, his legs,
his eyes and his soul; you had to die.

Because coming out feels like dying, all
at once, a gunshot to the stomach, a fingernail
pulled back on a broken hand.

It swells up over so many years, it pours
from your gazers, sometimes it still kills you
even after the cuts have healed.

When you go to family reunion and suddenly
increase in weight, you become to the
elephant in the small room.

You can hear their thoughts asking questions,
you can see the look on their faces; it’s a
troubled stare, a pluck of the hair.

Eventually they find out at work, some don’t
care and some do, sometimes there’s one
who makes you never want to clock-in.

No matter where you go, you always come
out, over and over and over again, there is
never just one door.

But it’s better to keep walking through them
and never close it for good, because one day
you’ll never come out of the coffin.

The American Dream

I am a communist warlock in their eyes;
I ride my broom down highways and see
the warning signs stuck in the ground.

One will notice them on green lawns,
fertilized by dreams of a straight nation
and apple pies untouched by an immigrant.

This is the American dream, where those
who want to be heard are placed in boxes
and looked upon like screws and marbles.

On the floor beneath their big feet, they
are the tolerated: the ebony skinned,
the beautiful faces wrapped in a hijab.

The boys who love boys, the ghosts of
unborn babies which haunt them, the girls
on testosterone and proper commodes.

I am one of them, boiling in the American
dream; a fried egg on their big, black
pavement that lie before China and Russia.

Under the tar is a Native American burial
ground stretching from California to Florida;
perhaps that explains the curses.

The hombres burn their soles and swim
through rip currents just to see the headstones
and leave sugar skulls on top of where they rest.

Meanwhile, the children in the American
dream go door to door and collect candy
in smiling, plastic pumpkins.

Orange as a dictator, orange as the sun
burning eyes to blind crisps and black
as the lives of spirits that matter.

It is dead, my favorite holiday, drowned by
torrential rainfall and red, white and blue
fury in the palm of his hand.

A wicked X, star-branded, the evidence
when heritage was hate and the delusion that
Confederate soldiers will rise from the Earth.

To reverse time and put on a ghostly outfit
and burn the crucifixes; the narrow gap is
tighter than a noose hanging from the pine.

Every day in October shouldn’t feel like
July 4th, but only in such a patriotic realm
of poisoned sugarplums does it exist.

It’s dulled down my craft like a lead
pencil bubbling in a ballot and their fat,
sausage fingers have smudged it.

This is their American dream, where they
put words in Christ’s mouth and grab
black cats and skin them alive.

Where the good ol’ boy can be butter
thick and hard headed and drink from
the bigger cup while I get the smaller.

Filled with approval, filled with blessing,
petted like a dumb rabbit stuttering over
his nonsense for a bigger bigot.

A bigger gun, a bigger bullet, a bigger
truck, no Mexican and a wall for the
brain to close itself inside.

Religious freedom, discriminatory cakes,
tar heel stuck, a circus campaign on crack
and cocaine and absent seats at Thanksgiving.

Burned bridges to nowhere, fueled by
arrogance without gas, for they have drained
the tanks to fill their never-quenched engines.

Object to their ways and you are a terrorist, you
are painted dark and a walking perversion that
infects all morals like bacteria in a wound.

Garment for an African-American Girl

She works the midnight shift in a fog
thick as waffle batter and dark as
black coffee, only to wake up at six
to clean the schools
This girl sits outside on her smoke
breaks, takes a deep drag from a
menthol and exhales the anxieties
which kill us all.
Lives matter, mewling mouths which
beg to be fed, two children and two
jobs, it’s the struggle curled up inside
and slowly uncoils.
Her skin is polished with cocoa seeds,
her face untouched by centuries is
living proof immortality blesses those
crushed by a boot.
It was less than a hundred years ago
that her grandmother sipped water
from a fountain on the left, while ivory
was kept to the right.
The same goes for buses, restrooms,
diners, anything which had to be shared
was divided down the middle and
siphoned by the greater.
Believe it or not, when this girl is
naked and closes her eyes, she feels
the same way as if you were nude;
both freedom and shame.
And no matter where she goes
there is always someone who wants
to touch her hair and overstep
a common boundary.
It makes her feel like a walking
petting zoo, black sheep, a sideshow
attraction to be felt by ignorance
mistaken for admiration.
For beneath the wool is a
panther who wouldn’t hesitate
to claw out their leering eyes
and cut their tongues.
The Confederate flag, a waving
symbol. a wicked X, branded by stars
objects her heritage and she would
burn it given a chance.
Much like how the Ku Klux Klan
burns crucifixes on front lawns or
how the sun burns cotton fields
stretched for miles.
But just like her grandmother,
endurance is a strong trait she
inherited and it takes more than
privilege to do her in.
Nevertheless, this girl has felt
the same heartbreak promised by
a man, lived in love’s ruins and cried
for him in night.
A card dealer, whose deep voice
moved her soul, this girl has
melted at his feet and carried
this man’s ego.
Delicate as a press-on nail, easily
broken by counteractions, stripped
of armor and down on his knees
like a worshiper.
She has bared his children,
raised the flowers tall by watering
them with wisdom passed down
through gardening pails.
The matriarch’s sweat, tears,
and rain drops accumulated from all
the storms passed; tremendous,
clouds open for her.
Clarity, a gift rarely obtained,
it covers her like garments stitched
for Ala, the mother goddess of
the Ibo pantheon.
For she is strength, she is the
backbone, the rose petals fallen
and picked up by the wind and
carried through the seasons.

Hey God

I’ve come around again with this boulder
in my stomach, my bones rattling like an
earthquake and mind full of doom. You know,
the what ifs and maybes; they love to weigh
in on every second and minute.

The roads divided, lighting veins and split
hallways, it’s a merry-go-round of uncertainty
slowly prancing into a stampede. Full of
doubt, full of fear, a razor blade scratching
against a blackboard.

It’s in times such as these that I find myself
conversing with you, invisible monument,
big unknown, the candy clouds in stretched
baby blue. I’ve come to you as a child and
still echo to this very day.

Despite what the atheists say, that you’re flat,
lifeless, the contents of an alcoholic’s bottle,
I have never been able to bring myself to agree.
For I have chased it all down and been to Hell
black as near death.

I have brought myself up from the floor,
held the globe, tasted the acid in my mouth
and dragged myself like a cat struck by a car.
One time accidental, the other intentional;
however, without medication.

For I contemplated it, felt the coldness of a
belt buckle and romanticized greatly; only you
know that it wasn’t really serious. I did, however,
lock myself away to escape the world and died
inside a million times.

Sometimes I still die, just not as hard, when
I see those who worship you hold signs to keep
the dying dead, or when my mother questions if
I will be with her when it’s all said done and the
nerves become dry roots.

I wish you could tell her without being mute that
those who claim to have found the truth are
smoldering in their own hate. They rewrote your
book and painted your tongue red to have a reason
to speak.

And I will admit I am sometimes cross with you,
for it is inevitable for the scarred flesh to question
which cannot be seen. For instance, why did you
make my eyes and heart desire the torso of a man?

His appendages, his strong jaw and strong legs
supported by his feet; why must I gravitate around
him as a full moon bare? Pale, glowing, turning over
and moving tides gently with my deep, loving glare
sharper than an arrow.

Is it blasphemy to say I find sanctuary beneath
sheets and think about you after such a touch
has brought Heaven to Earth? Would it be wrong
to pretend you’re blind and non-existent when
I’ve unrolled myself?

Where is the line from always having you in
my heart and do you crumble along with it?
When his lips have connected with another and
my hands cover my face, are you still in my chest
or in my palms?

These are questions which have an answer but
can’t be heard, and the mere silence drives me off
a cliff where jagged stones come to meet. Again,
it kills me and I still walk and talk and carry my many
lives in a bag.

For it is something which must be done and no
church or pastor or deacon can ease the anvil
on my shoulders. Only you, my prized nickle,
my shiny drop of hope, the parts of me that
are still a blonde child.

Allow me to live, breathe happily, to flourish like
a hydrangea and move as the wind through
golden wheat fields. See me for my shutter of
mortality, keep me in your arms and as always,
amen, amen, amen.