Faded

I saw him before I fell asleep, a face—
Bearded dark with flecks of copper wire, wheat floret, coconut coir—
Graced with nothing more than any other.

His eyes grazed the multitude for an empty seat, once found,
Wedged himself in a library of bodies— stuffy,
Musty, still— where creaks, cracklings, and crinkling were all that was spoken.

Morning sun gently palming its warmth around my neck, the bus’s
Arythmic galloping on a quilt of mismatched asphalts
Cocktailed into a lethal doze.

“Stop looking at me, motherfucker,” syringed consciousness into my limbs.
The dose wore off the once welcoming
Congregation, joining knees in amity,
Now gouging a moat between him and the strangled voice imploring:
“Chill! I wasn’t looking at you, man.”

His face grew white as light
With rage— flames snapping, hissing, roaring
From his eyes and mouth— pestered by the sun’s
Brush-splattered sweat beading down his rumpled brow
Like blood, suddenly aware of the cross his face had to bear, heavier yet
In the eyes of unsolicited glancers, making mote in their eyes a beam in his own,

Of something which wasn’t completely theirs,
Nor that of the man whom they rent, cast, and dressed as villain with snake eyes:
His eyes; himself.
Why can’t we look at our neighbors as ourselves?

Cast out like a demon out the bus,
Temple of the unfortunate, a sacrifice in which he was
Both victim and priest.

 

Artwork

Shulman, Sandra. The Encyclopedia of Astrology. Picturepoint Ltd., London Title pages, 70-71. 

A Spirit That Seizes

All is noise;
Everything under the sound of purest sunlight,
The budding of petals,
Thoughts prancing over the mind’s crevasses.

Silence is noise, in harmony
They live as one, their essence
Human ear cannot discern—
Dark from light, clay from flesh, exhale of life from inhale of death—

In all that is done and undone, spoken and unspoken,
Seen and unseen,
All that is and isn’t
Alive here or in the hereafter.

Narcissus seeking serene beauty,
Seducing his coy mistress
Echo, who in turn, became the mistress of Silence, never
To sing from her heart, but from her ears.

Noise is all;
An ocean we seek to drown in,
Yet refuse the lungs of its nurturing waters—
Casting out demons when the ghost seeks communion—
One with the rippling waves.

The noise without to silence the noise within
Noise on top of noise; one to drown the second,
As blood shed on blood-soaked earth
So innocent blood will not be shed.

Rest does not reside in silence—
The sound of nothingness, noisier than the sum of everything—
To seek it amidst blaring stillness is foolish;
Accepting it echoes our ability to love ourselves.

Only by swallowing it can you find silence’s inner peace;
Only then will you be alone.
Only then will the tumultuous sonance that attunes life’s meanderings into perfect tension
Lull your weary soul to rest.

 

Artwork

Henry, Matthew. Water Surface Close Up. Toronto, Ontario. Date Accessed 02/08/2018.

Beatles Saudade

Saudade
A feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia.

The thought came to me as I listened to Abbey Road apathetically,
Glancing up at a mirrored ceiling—
En vogue in the late ‘70s, tacky by the early ’80s—
The more I stared into my eyes,
Pupils eclipsing their Milky-Way-brown irises,
The farther I felt from myself.

My past floated lazily like a striped, annular flotation device
On a pool of what I held in my mind up to that point:
Deep enough to drown in, but shallow enough to see the sun
Gleam past molten glass vitrines insulating the wet from the dry,
Dancing flames on the arabesque-tiled sphere.

I could see individual drops of water as clearly as pearl grains:
Each a moment in time—
Of pain, joy, sorrow, fear,
Songs I loved, ones forgotten;
Canticles of undying youth, sung out of the mouth of babes and sucklings,
Their backbeat jangling crystalline out of sunburst hollow bodies—
Multiplied as tears wept awakening from a dream,
Their imperfect sphericality, thousands of moons
Glowing with feeling-light— the tumult of being— thrashed the once still pool,
As tepid, calm breezes, unbeknownst to all, slowly morph into violent storms.

The lifesaver, exiled relic proving Pepperland’s existence,
Rapidly pinwheeled 33 1/3 revolutions per minute:
Candy cane, barber’s pole, lollipop swirl,
Moptops, LP-black, questioning a world full of questions,
Their melodies detaching problems from their consequence, not their weight;
A galaxy of neumes traversing the entirety of my ears.

The blackness of the gyrating disc concaved into a singularity,
A spider knitting its web in the midst of the storm—
A translucent house filled with empty people—
Strong enough to balance a walrus, high enough to befuddle an eagle,
Yet it’s frailty clear in the impending tide’s stultifying massacre.

Seemingly vicious, the arachnid invoked a paralyzing spell on all who stared,
But the fortress built around herself,
To protect her from a world much bigger and dangerous,
One whose full extent she would never know existed,
Relied on the architecture of others—
Man-made or God-spoken creation— to secure her livelihood
For nourishment, binding her wounds, and hiding forever in her loneliness.

Oblivion of the lifelines she cast out, one after one,
By one swift, five-fingered strum, could bring
Heartache’s wounding blow.

 

Artwork

Oseguera, Jose L. (2018). A Galaxy of Neumes[Image]. Los Angeles, CA.

Red As A Rose Was She

She rose in early morning, the day
Of new hope, spring in January,
As the Sun thawed her heart
Blossoming red once more.

The silk of a man’s tenderness;
Lost in her rent memories of a husband—
Bruised petals at his feet,
A youth he strew about
Wildly as if love were a trinket to torture her with—
Violence on her scars.

Years plot in bad soil, her rose wilted, waiting for
No one, allowing her beauty to shame from the Sun:
Falling backwards into his empty embrace,
Gouging the double-edged thorns of his promise blind,
Learning that mistakes can’t teach you a thing until you make them;
That even so, you make them again and again.

The blood she shed for others
In tears and petals withered,
Rid her of the flower befuddled by masculinity,
Palming grit aimlessly for romance’s indecipherable leaves—
The charm of his eyes, the vow of his smile, the succor of his virility—
But rather for what love had deprived her of;
For what it still owed her.

We watched as if we saw her,
But witnessed what she no longer was.
Miraculously, as dead as plucked on asphalt, arid by the
Everyday, at its core, the bud entombed in petals, ever so
Crimson fluttering on her cheeks,
Bled love anew on the day of her wedding.

 

Artwork

“Mexican American bridesmaid and flower girl” [Graphic]. http://www.lapl.org, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, ca. 1938, http://jpg1.lapl.org/00002/00002629.jpg.