The cruelest month
In memory of Jesús Guzmán
April winds rage in with a renegade posse of dust,
weather’s bad boys intent on stealing a body’s air.
And one cruel April, Jesús was killed on Easter Monday.
Day after resurrection Sunday, he fell from Jacob’s Ladder.
It was the sudden stop that killed him.
Undoubtedly ¡Ay cabrón! frozen on his lips when he hit the ground,
a tiny blood red rose quivering alone in the wind-blasted dirt.
Jesús killed, an angel fallen from the heavens.
Declared dead on the scene, mad scientists shocked him
until his heart resumed its beat, like all fallen angels
determined to return to lost paradise.
Declared dead at the scene on Easter Monday.
Declared dead in ICU on Tuesday afternoon.
Then on the third day they took away his tubes and wires,
and his heart beat for another hour.
He fought Miss Death until they declared him dead
all over again.
except in the memories of children he taught to be poets,
or the minds of workers who crossed the borders
from there to here.
He crossed over from this life to the next one,
neither from here nor from over there.
And the mesas crashed onto the freeway like waves.
The spring night bled teardrops like falling stars
because he’s still cheated of air.
Cheated of words.
Cheated of life.
The world cheated of him and his corazón, too soon.
Jesús was killed on Easter Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday.
His heart tan fuerte it took three times to kill him.
His death scene punctuated by the street’s beat
and the lullabies of the bereft.
Now the world is so cold and lonely in April,
when the winds carry the spirits of dead vatos to remind us
just how cruel a month can really be.
Published in Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press, New York 2014)
page 8 of the newest issue
Patterns of organic energy on a sub-atomic level
not ruled by cause and effect-
by looking we change the outcome.
Change is inherent in observing. The closer
we look the less precise we become.
Light bumps against flesh, moves backward
to mark where flesh was.
I try to define the reality of flesh and chairs,
become distracted by the buzz and bounce.
Newtonian physics. Einstein’s theories on relativity.
The more we try to comprehend the less they have meaning.
The theory of everything implies that we don’t exist.
The chair is new today but the wood is ancient.
Light bounces from tree to retina and I say chair,
but chair is nothing more than an artificial construct,
an approximation of a limited mind’s effort to name a reality
seeming to exist. Our orbits exceed experience of finite flesh.
By merely looking I have changed chair.
A non-existent mover makes me think tree.
I am lost in a forest of holes that leads me nowhere.
Out of nothing, everything.
Out of dying flesh, I find never ending,
the most vast nothing,
free of who I was.
Free of flesh.
Free of table.
Free of chair.
Free of words
Nothing is never nothing
written for a bottle with no ocean
The body atremble, the mouth a desert
Sirens so far away but still the jaws grind
Not even the dogs know what dogs always know
Hands thrust into what becomes a salivating mouth
Birds fall, frozen, from the sky to unyielding ground
Words without meaning
Ask the women, they all will tell you
An utterance shuts out objective meaning
Oxygen sucks the life out of a lying mouth
Not even the shadow knits truth from facts
The first page missing, the first line begins
. . . but that was long after Night arose from nothing
Dark void of space
counter-intuitively comprising Earth, Wind,
Water, and Fire, the gods both spirit and being,
but their answers illusory, begging the question
Something from nothing, they say
yet nothing was ever made of something
the first something from which gods appeared,
and from them, everything in the known world
A vacuum that yielded only luminous flashes
yet gave birth to Night and her brother, Darkness
And when Night and Darkness coupled, Night
gave birth to Light and Day, Sleep and Death
Time killed Space, his father
Night, hidden away in her cave, made oracles,
listened to drums, the raucous timpani, the tzils,
the celestial bodies’ thrum, as her daughter judged,
moving the universe in the rhythms of ecstatic dance
Time dreamed, prophesied the future, drunk on honey,
oblivious to Retribution that chained him within Night’s cave
A blank book
no longer wholly incomplete
Ink now scratched over ruled lines
filled with fragments, a two-lane highway
Leaves plucked from a boll of cotton
A vignette of tin roofs and stucco shacks
A stalk of bronze maize braided to the dusty green
An artist’s eye
no better than that of a witness in a court of law
Each untrustworthy as the basis for a just outcome
The mere act of observation will change the observed
Time lies incognizant of retribution yet prophesying still
With neither bottle nor letter, the world spins in a lonely sea
This is Poetry
a project of The Literary Underground
“Dead hands” was first published in Chrysalis and later in Unlikely Stories 2.0 and Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press)