Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New Poem

Sometimes poems take a while. Almost everyone who knows me knows some of my story about moving to New York. I've always wanted to write about it, but I didn't have the words. Some conversations over the past week - with Marilyn Torres, Ernie Silva, Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran, and of course, Vincent - have really helped me. I also think that getting to the point where my coursework is done, my proposal has (for the most part) been approved and I just have to start the dissertation, has really scared the heck out of me. I've been blocked in some ways, but songs and poetry are coming out of nowhere, so I might as well share them. I think that maybe writing this poem is reminding me to keep on, despite those difficult times. I don't have a title yet. Please tell me what you think.

what do you do
when you are so super tiny small
that frijole kitchen talking never embraces you
or Mami or Tia or anyone without bold blast speeches
that sound super boombox big so loud so loud
drowning your voicewhisper under rivers of cancer kool aid
mind menacing threats of being called stooopiiidd
like playground slapshaking under monkeybar jungles
so you never ever talk so afraid to talk not even mouth
words that your face muscle nerve endings freeze
Chicago winter cold freeze holding your movements solid
frozen stuck in a goofy clown mask held in
permanent suspended disbelief, like an icicle that won't melt?

what do you do
when you are heartgut silent
hands covered in computertechnodance paint smeared
all over floorboard stomps and gingiggle nights that don't ask
about stooopiiid talk or blackbeatpeat history
entrails piled in loft corners smoke and siren
artists get shot and murdered every night and rise again
every night, dancing zombies slam and skank and clownsmile
because it is easier than speaking and saying who you are
fearfrightened of being nothingnada solalala
abuela gone only saw the gringa not the mujer
nothing to reflect back the abuela in the gringa
just an empty gringazombieshell?

que triste she is blind

what do you do
when you are on your elbows and face
blubbering begging at someone's feet at 4 a.m.
"be my friend, let me love you"
and he splinter slams a bathroom door on your anklebone
laughs at your dreams
throws carefully composed music carelessly
around your head like spike bombs with corners
that snip nip at your ears and chin
strikes your favorite wood chest into spine threads with one swoop
and seals chaos crashes with spit
between your eyes
as he mutters "you're nothing"?

RECUERDAAAAAAA! MEMORIAAAAAAA! PRONUNCIAAAAAAA!

you stand
higher than the thickest redwood with roots
that reach down to the hell source itself
and you spit blood-
filled songs and fire that's hot and warm and sticky
with stories that stretch from Africa
to Cuba to Colombia to Chicago to New York to San Francisco to San Antonio
from sad sad brother to lonely lonely brother
to earnest earnest father to brilliant brilliant mother
and you laugh at your dreams
because they are symphonies under your tongue
star storytelling under your curious feet
projections flickering before your eyes

so sad that he is blind

you jump
over the rubble rat mountains and giggle
at the screech-screech of crab mentality
instead opting for the green of grass-
hoppers and frenzied action of pill-
poppers without the pills or flimsy quitter motives
your freak frenetic dance takes you to
poetry and boys with bass guitars and shine
spilling out of their eyes and girls with
honest irony in their cigarette slide wit
and viejitos who cook for you, expecting nothing
nothing nothing
but to see you grow deeper into lava, higher into space

you fly
like the new millenium-falcon-eagle-perico-flamboyan
flashing tacky and Gaudi and color Caribeno
know all the while he's saying, she's saying, they're saying
"ah, who does she think she is"
not realizing she isn't thinking, she's flying and
all she ever wanted was for you to fly, too
like a Colorin Colorado comet alien invasion
un sofrito freedom de momento, mama
a Creole-lindo mundo swirling with shrimp and cayenne y arroz
an explosion, a bomb that doesn't crash holes into soil
no, a bomb that flies like fireworks fire, like warmth, like the sun
big and small and round and angular, all-encompassing, glittery and fine

only lost to the blind

6 comments:

Toro said...

All, I can say is... whoa!

The poem really builds momentum after the 1st verse, and the last verse is make me cry of joy beautiful. Also I can hear of Sandra Maria Estevez and Sonia Sanchez and Ntozake Shange, always a good thing.

Thank you for sharing, love.

You always find a way to surprise me with your light.

Toro said...

I liked it the 1st version. But your changes additions are tight. Like an Audre Lord poem, I think both versions work.

It's dope. You're dope. You're man is A dope.

-V

nova said...

wow...academia can't kill the poetry star...loved it...

Beth Wheeler said...

This is a very strong poem, Grisel. I love the way the words rise up.

Grisel said...

Thanks for the support, everyone!

devon said...
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