Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Poem

Only writing about one a week lately. This is it, maybe a few more edits to come.


Crossing the plaza with my beautiful young husband
Pink Houses, East New York, I was twenty-two,
second child on the way, heard that hair dye
hurts babies, so I let the wild silver streak
through my black curls, neighbors watched
and gossiped, You know the brother from 2H?
His wife’s a vieja with white hair!

Don’t listen to them! sniffed my sister-in-law,
and she turned off her favorite movie,
opened the kitchen window and yelled,
We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!

Go ahead, your turn, she said, and we all
screamed into the courtyard, people laughed,
It’s just that crazy Gomez family again, all in fun
until the pot hit the pavement, and our party
ended like they all did in those days…
police sirens, bloody heads, fists cuffed, bail money

Friday nights, how quickly the sky fell into Saturday
I remember Carmen’s cafĂ© con leche,
bunk beds and linoleum, long subway rides
back to my lower east side rooms, and then..
junkie death masks knocked, I answered, yes,
come in, life only lasts a minute, but
I was wrong again, neither my tracks
nor my memory expired

I still face the wall, close my eyes,
morning turns my face to glass,
my blood’s a transient boarder,
my body’s single room occupancy, doubles
for rent, my thoughts are king-sized lies,
the windows are nailed shut, the Gomez
family moved to Florida, my back’s
against walls, doors, and yesterday’s
windows, didn’t know it would hurt,
didn’t know it would hurt so much

Across the river, I hear your warning:
The tides turn, Puma, the tides turn…

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