if only you’d see, W A L T, if only you’d hear 

Just had fun with this poem. I cherished the original, just thought id give it a bit of a twist.

        after Walt Whitman

America singing, the varied carols I hear,
those of crop pickers, each one the father the sons the mother singing
      a corrido in the making.
the welder yelping metal as if his knuckles hadn’t seen a ton already.
the young actress singing her part behind a red curtain, the
      stagehand singing along pushing her through the curtain.
the superintendent singing through an intercom as students take their seats
      or students singing the same as they leave for the day.
the truck driver singing radio messages as he waits for other voices on the line—
      on endless American highways.
the waiter singing Disney tunes for the kids, eye level
      to receive her tip from the humming parents.
the janitor’s mopping song, the boss man’s away for an hour in the morning,
      or lunch, or he decided to sing morning blues.
the hungry mothers tune as she cooks handed down recipes by great-
      grandmothers who sang it to their daughters, or theirs too,
each singing something meaningful to him or her, or however you plead.
the days no longer live by night and day, but rather breath to breath
      hand in hand, raucous by command, silent when needed—
harmonious until treated, these equal tongues sing their American songs.

Way of the W I N D

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My country is flame: red discoes on the edges
of chessboards of chiseled wood & vanilla.

Near the borders, waves waver man,
gods, & animals—monsters disguised

ginger fangs—venom, sharp as nail piercing—
wearing bibs as they chew wind.

If you would set aside gold & withhold nil
we would have cures, not roars, for dinner;

if you would heed rather than grind molars,
we would have parity, not inequity, for dinner;

we would, as we eat together, move the pawns,
& we would eat the wind, smother flame, & soar.

IV. W H E N THE DAY COMES

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My father can’t taste red meat anymore,
can’t see two markers to the left of his nose.

A bottle of emotions only needs a ring neck, just one
to detriment equilibrium, a tree sliced in half.
A father, like his father before, two halves of a whole,
carrying my culture on their backs, carrying my pain.

Don’t worry my son, he says again and again.
I’d rather be put in a home to relieve you of my aging task.

But when I question him if he’s had enough,
he says yes, he desires an undisturbed next of kin.
He wants his Dodgers to win again, just once more
so that I can witness what he had seen as a child.

He laughs as I grin, I took you in as a father should,
gazing at me as if I would ever consider his proposal.

III. Mystifying G r a c e

                             This is two people walking along the beach by the blue ocean at sunset.
                                                                                                                                 – Lieutenant Commander Data

To bewilder is to mystify another—
to be inflexed into one’s imagination
as you surf a scape
long enough to see it bloom.

                                                                                            Long enough to keep vulnerability at bay,
                                                                        giving every inch of yourself, spoken in palindromes—
                                           where the dreams are only there to decipher hieroglyphics.
                                    I only sing when I’m sure there’s not a soul within audible range
                              and the radio’s loud enough to mask my pristine singing voice.
    But what good is the mask as it were shed to only show color?
What good does a singular radio have on the rhetoric of your tones?
Your soul is beauty collected within vicinities of my beating heart
within the mass that boils crimson into life breathing mechanisms.
To hear falsettos, enter my canals as a slight chuckle—I mesmerize.
    I absorb all the words spoken in poetry along the line, I absorb
                              the manifestations you present to me in nothing but sincerity,
                                   I absorb your patience as you challenge my own, I absorb
                                           all that required my pristine attention above all, your voice
                                                                        inspires thus conspiring the mystification of ourselves.
                                                                                      Long enough to push vulnerability back to sea.

To bewilder is to mystify another—
to be inflexed into one’s imagination
as you surf a scape
long enough to see it bloom.

                                                                                                                                                                          for A

-JL

p.s. it took about 35 minutes to code this into WordPress and damn, what a challenge, thank you Sarah Pape…(-;

II. W I N N I N G

the jackpot
is about as lucky as
hitting the back of a toilet
after you have already lost it all.
after all
that you have worked for
is put back (generously)
into society’s greedy hands
by way of bright lights
and deceiving
BET MAX=EXTRA CHANCES images
on a digital screen.

as if you already put your life
on the line everyday
when you wake up to smell the coffee,
and make a wonderful lunch
because breakfast has become a hassle thus,
waiting for dinner
leaving snacks to rot
in your belly, just
so you can put it away

again and again and again.

as if the reels became your home,
those lucky sevens dance
as much as they want
in your face,
but you never seem
to grasp them quick enough.
you keep spinning
round and round you go
until finally
with all the work
you put in to get there, hope
is the only elixir
to achieve a bonus
you crave the most
to keep you going.

but what is
the ‘craving”
most applicable to?
the work at which you sought out
in the first place?
the end result
you wish to achieve?
or in between BARS
that you sorely
choose to settle for?

i say grab the white flag
and recuperate yourself
before a deadman’s ghost
haunts your every last penny of worth
before he tears you apart
and gives you a broken down home
where a prosperous family
used to live,
where everything in life
becomes colors and bonuses
and loud noises while
you see everyone else
already winning,

THIS IS A FACADE it (should’ve) said.

as if the facade was enough
to lure you win,
as if the facade should’ve been enough
to push you out of misery,
as if clouds of smoke could rise
to clear your air,
as if a rope of hope could be set at your feet
to give you a right path,
but the buy-in was too grand and
loud noises chipped in your last dollar
to push the lever down leaving all
you loved and cherished
in a pissed in pool of everything short
of W I N N I N G.

 

 

I. En r o u t e to Tucson, Arizona

a date I can never remember,
en route to Tucson, Arizona,

vicente’s hymns as feather strokes to the hear,
heat always rises in his old beaten truck,
a Modelo in the driver side tray, rather so,
in his liver as he drives one handed, so used
to having a shift stick to trigger the next gear.

my grandmother and her LIFE MEXICANOS magazine
reading up on her novela stars getting paid zilch
in the belly of Hollywood’s bullshit, telling narratives
that only attract her age definition, the ads
want to make her ragged face pretty once more,
she rips out the page, throws it out the window.

por tu maldito amor por to mal, oh my goodness
this song has been on repeat for about 13 years
and I don’t even know what it means
because I cannot fling my tongue fast enough
but I can sure sing the shit out of it. and so can he,
at least during that time he could,
maybe thats why he turned up so high,
so I couldn’t hear his voice
but I could hear it,
I could hear it,
I could hear it
as we sledged our way down
these sand dunes of the upper valley,
crossing signs:

WHEELER RIDGE,
PASADENA,
CATHEDRAL CITY,
DEATH VALLEY, past the GILLA into
PHOENIX

as a phoenix into
the new sun that stretched far amongst the dunes,
mystifying my eyes as an elusion to latter. I envision my mother
singing landslide, a cigarette destroying her lungs,
one puff at a time but her voice; an awe, an awe that
gave me mine to sing along as she lifted away like the smoke.

WELCOME TO TUCSON

this highway is meant for thinking,
it is meant for ensuring what I already know
but I continue to question it all
as we soar at speeds of 100 mph,
as a voyager to meet a great grandmother who
barely moves at all
but can still remember my name.

this highway is meant for me,
it is meant for us,
it is meant to sing songs of life
when all we know when we arrive will be death,
lets hope our laughs between now and then
will be enough to get us back home after the bury.

-JL

 

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