I am so pleased to have two poems in the anthology Paws Healing The Earth, alongside such writers as Robert Pinsky, Xánath Caraza, Marian Haddad, Candice Louisa Daquin, Melissa Stoddard, and editor and poet, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis. Many thanks to River Paws Press.
Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within
Hell with a metal door
Lo and behold the first thing I see, when they rescue me just in time to
avert true claustrophobic panic, is a giant loteria card—la escalera, a
ladder. By giant I mean dorm room poster size. I mean the size of an 8-
year-old boy. I mean big as Jack Kerouac’s head. The card mocks me with
its simple image of an ancient labor-saving device next to a door that leads
to steps. A stairway with no angel to wrestle besides my guilty conscience
for not hauling myself up these stairs instead of taking the elevator. I see
Indians kicked off their land for somebody else to sell coal to generate
power for this elevator. This electric escalera. This stairway to heaven and
its dead god.
The fallen angel-that would be me. Like Ginsberg’s mom, lobotomized.
My nudity stolen along with my persona. They poisoned me. They
electrocuted me, like Plath. They took scalpels and opened my head como
un melón on Frida’s breakfast tray, sliced and diced. As if my brain were a
sandía and they wanted an agua fresca. But all they did was cut it in two
and sew me back together.
As the drugs relent, I realize I am trapped behind a metal door. The
headache is fighting my instincts, no holds barred. I wrestle angels while
trying to climb a ladder to heaven. But that ain’t me. Hell, no. Because I
am the fallen angel, my sole impulse is to kick all the legit angel ass I can
find, pluck their wings featherless as old Tom Turkey, oblivious that he’s
‘bout to die for Thanksgiving. Because everyone must give their thanks.
Give thanks for the metal door, the electrons and neutrons dancing
through my brain like spring maidens carrying weapons all aimed at me.
When the light disappears it’s only me in the dark, waiting for my lovey to
come hold me but she doesn’t come. She’s out dancing with sunflowers
and sucking Kerouac’s bloated dick. Sunflowers fall like angels the way I
fell from the world above. Feathers plucked. Naked. Helpless before my
captors. These men in white coats, these Big Nurses who shut me up with
shots and pills. Hush, they say, or they’ll give me another shot. Which
might be okay if it were some good shit but instead it makes you stupid
and paralyzed, with a foul taste in your mouth. The whole enchilada is like
the killing flu. Misbegotten misery.
I used to want to kill myself but when I forgot to love food, I forgot to
want to die then, too. Stuck in a metal box and no matter how hard I cry
no one ever comes. I never come. And finally I know all of this is nothing
more than inscrutable scribbles in the impenetrable night that is now my
I think of those stairways in Sunset Heights that lead nowhere I can ever
go. God made me a slave, a woman, and an unclean remnant of some
other sense and sensibility without a female principal. It tripped me up and
I fell down.
It found me here trapped behind a metal door. I wonder about coal miners
and birds, electricity and light through the dark. A fallen angel sent to light
the way to a ladder to escape the lightning-filled night. Longing for agua
de melón. Longing for Ginsberg’s sunflowers. Longing for Frida and her
breakfast tray. Longing for a ladder to climb out of this hell with a metal
My apologies to the publisher for botching their beautiful formatting while copying and pasting this from the pdf review file to this blog. The book itself is beautiful.