Nishi Ramen on San Antonio Street

I. An explosion of expansion has taken over these once dead streets.
Only they never died
Rather were pushed back
beaten with poverty and destitution
Beaten with regulation
70 hour work weeks
Standing in line for sustenance
I know those conversations well
I’ve stood in those lines.

There is a petition going around
To save their homes.
I didn’t sign it because I don’t always
See as clearly as this.

My brother understands
The pain of people
Better than I,
Objectivity has made me sterile.

II. I arrived about a half hour early
and parked, incorrectly
(I would later find out)
and decided to walk around Durango street
trying to understand a bit of the history
that would soon be lost.
Objectivity has made me sterile
And I sought to find within the buildings
A hint of the audacity
of a people
daring to hope.
(The hope of course being not to lose their home through no action of their own.)

Red stone buildings made to be dirty
Through their perseverance
Since 1881 reads the El Paso Times.
Red stone that runs from the ground to the sky
boils over to the next building
And the one after that.
(I didn’t need to leave my own city
to find brick roads.)

Union Plaza and all the night clubs
Empty on an early Friday night.
The buildings form a wide alley
Benches and street lights along the sides.
Here I Love You and I begin to think
Of how long I have been walking
My attention to the dull pulls of hunger
And the thought of you still not arriving.

I have to bring myself back, I’ve
Been trying to understand precisely
Where in this history I belong
Observer or agitator, worker or worked
Around the corner another bar
In front a man sits alone
His bag hanging open over the seat
Muttering to himself or me
To no one at all.
I don’t bring myself to walk past him
There is a bridge just beyond
Old dreams
Soot and the immeasurable silence of an underpass.

Above us a stadium
I haven’t been inside
it is not a history I want to inhabit.
A path alongside the bridge
colored with baseball lingo and ancestral figures.
I sit on the steps of the stadium.
In front of me
Two nations and a firmament strewn across the ground.
There is heaven in those homes
Gods inside every head
Keeping this city aflame.

I am between a mountain and a valley
On the banks of the Rio Grande
On the street below people shuffle
Carrying grocery bags
I can hear the train from union depot,
Machinations of the night.

Now I am observer
A thousand universes
And I am not more than the night between the stars.

III. As if I had been asking for a sign
or had hung my tongue out dry
looking to lap up new dew or old puddles
the city spoke to me,
a fountain of inspiration.

The fountain says
“we are truest in our repose”
Like water, it qualifies.
Only, the fountain was empty and I
An impostor.

I struggle to collect my tongue
Too big for my mouth
Too many tongues to count
I’ve forgotten what water looks like.
I turn to leave and step in dog shit
Luckily my soles have no depth
And cling to nothing
But the memory.

I am thirstier than ever now
And the city has misplaced my puddles.
The alley ways have brick roads.
In autumn or spring the leaves
never match the red of brick
or the green of the bay window
This is the street
Where the bulldozer tore down
A building
Prematurely
Shot its load too early
collapsed bricks
a chunk of history
tiny universes
scattered forever.
I rush past it all
I have so much to write.

Today I am tired, Genevieve

Today I am tired, Genevieve,
The dregs of the day have found me
Battered, broken and gasping for a word.

The prism of morning rose
To bloom, as it does, to
Languish its light and
Break the truce of night
Stain the peace of sleep and
It rose to rouse and
Lease a new life, to remind
of eager machinations
That teem with
the threat of our tendencies, but
Today I am tired, Genevieve.

I looked for you in the shadows, Genevieve.
I wanted to take your life.
I needed to take your energy, Genevieve,
I needed to steal your light.

I found you, Genevieve,
In the pages of our book.
In the creases of memory
and bright Ink,
I found you, Genevieve,
gasping for a place
And a chance at the word,
I found you speaking, Genevieve.

I saw your tongue, Genevieve,
Move itself, as it does,
And rise to a new stake,
held up in a new light,
the double symbol of fear and power,
I saw you moving your tongue, Genevieve,
Blooming like a bird out of
Your mouth, I felt your tongue
Move between my lips, between my fingers,
I looked for a word there, Genevieve,
But today I am tired.

All the times
You moved your tongue
To move mine, and hers, and his, and
Theirs, and all the times your tongue was cut out,
And made to rise, as it does,
To hang on to new stakes,
And grant us new tendencies,
has made me tired.

So, today, I am tired Genevieve,
but, I will look for the word
since your tongue seeks mine,
since your seek my tongue, too.

Tenor

A tenor struck is
made to toll, brought
to tendency and is driven,
taut and tense, it tends.
Unobstructed, it looms,
Resolves itself into atmosphere.

A tenor
holds its toll,
holds its tendency
to be driven
out and made to tense
before resolving to atmosphere if
it is left to loom,
undulate in its own language.

A tenor that moves
to toll is struck and
is left to loom. A
tenor to be taught
is struck and is left
to linger, undulate
in its own failures,
resolve in its own toll.

Given the dust

And the droughts, the flames
and the failures of vortex,
Given the dust and the floods,
and the blasphemies of hunger,
Given the dust and the poverty,
and the failures of economic titration,
Given the dust and the violence,
and the oppression of humanity
all ground down to dust,
And given this dust,
we will mote and mound, and
be reclaimed.

Let us

Let us end the
sudden urge, the sudden
travesty of hopelessness,
to be beat down in tedium,
to once be dust, once part now parcel, now urgent
now beat down in tedium
Let us be bent
and able, broke and able
Let us be nothing
more than dust, to drown
in our parts, to be down
and able, all part, all
broken and made up and able
and let us form
from our own fragments.
Let us be built
from our own foundations
Let us find our own fictions
Let us grow from our own
frames and frame our own
forms, and Let us function
with our own faculties.
Let us be built
from each other, Let us
be built in each other,
Let us build ourselves
without tearing down
an other.

Earlier this year I mailed out a manuscript

Earlier this year I mailed out a manuscript.
Since then,
The days have lined up
Like criminals fronting
A fusillade of faces
And half thoughts,
rapid fire logic
And a monument of loneliness
who is god in the crushing blow
Of night
upon
crushing
night.

In the morning I remember your mouth
And the lines I can never capture
In nascent sketches,
Crumbled in fist
Or thought.

In the day I remember a laugh,
Behind palms.
Sometimes too slow
And so
I see it anyway The slight overbite You try to hide
(I remember mine too)

In the distance, we cast our plans
Onto pale mountains, And every hour a step, Every minute a breath, Tiny movements.

From the valley here,
I look toward further pastures
And always beyond
the mountains,
Pale blue and beyond

In my dreams you are the garden.
I come from behind,
A patter of dogs behind us both.
Around the shed
a soft earth grows green,
Certain as your hands.

Here the nights are large and I breathe in the void,
I remember every curve of your back
that twists,
Dips and falls
from your flanks into
frenzy.
The fervor of your
femininity has tamed me and I
fall to shake in your shadow.
I wait for words to reach me from pale mountains
from gardens that fledge from your fingers:

Here your hands do not
Move to cover
A damn thing.

An Open Prayer

May I be pulled or chosen
from the clay, molded into
Something different.
I don’t remember
The last time I said his name.
Salt phantoms, air phantoms
Phantoms of the sun, of my
Father and the holy phantom.

My father’s ghosts wander my head
Stories of idyllic pastures
Of ditches brim, rifles slung
Endless walking into horizons.

Here my shadow leaves impressions
On the cushion, I never leave the
Comfort of my mind. I do battle
With head heroes
The heroes of my father,
All sun baked
Made mad with work
Maddening work
My father’s hands are cracked
And they bleed.
The chemicals too rough on the skin.

I inherited these legs from my mother
Ceaseless in rapport with the ground.
Her tales are never in open pastures
They retreat into bathroom stalls.

Here my shadow leaves no trace
Of belonging. I never leave the
Comfort of my mind. I do battle
With my mother’s head ghosts
Mother’s phantoms
All loving
Made mad with worry
Maddening mind
My mother chewed through her cuticles
And she bleeds
The stress is too rough on the mind.

I think of it now

I think of it now,
Before the revelation of you.
When I was thrown about
And floating away,
Like driftwood caught
in the push
and
pull of the sea.
I prayed
To the monument of loneliness
I thought was sanctuary,
I thought was truth and beauty.
I dragged myself further from shore,
Further from the lights and sound
Of the city,
Further from the hearth of home.

I think of it now,
Before the revelation of you.
When my heart knew, more than me,
That I would one day be buried
In the deep earth of your body,
In the profound night of your mouth
In the ineffable ocean of your breaking
eyes.

I think of it now,
Before the revelation of you.
How every line I wrote drew me,
Even then, closer
To the sanctuary of you.

Against All My Odds

What is it about the lull of the night
that draws
on the Senses?

Many people say that they do their best writing after midnight. After the cacophony of the mundane has settled back into itself, then the silent tendriIs of the night will scour the scenes of your Senses.

I submit myself to them. To be ravaged for my obscenities, for my secret sermons, for my sacred medicine, to be drawn up by the night against all my odds.