Whore of Márquez

Before the cholera
and the sores of syphilis,
our eyes met
and we knew each other’s name,
behind us only the wind
and the moon
our voyeur.

You became the usual smile
at the downtown hotel
where I slept off
my long nights
with the loneliness of faces
and arms
that could not wait.

Something had changed
after I let you invade 
my bed of cottons 
with the wordlessness
of my welcome
and after the hesitation
of your unbuttoning obliged.

But the crispness of your bills
did not sound 
like whistling,
the excitement of exiled kisses
or the frenzy of a mouth 
that could read 
the stuttering of impulses.

It was then that I began
to forget you,
the strength of your cologne 
subduing the burn of tobacco,
and your glance 
quick at knowing,
but never your tongue.

In bed while waiting
for the saddest song
of angels,
I thought of your thumb
probing the crimson of my lips
you said were bows
and also plums.

Your hands sure about creases
and wet folds
nudged me to remember
the clean color of your shirt,
the softness of the pillow,
and the texture of the linen
that dried your saliva.

I lived in the past
to recall that evening
on the cozy veranda
where we stood wondering
about the orchids
masking the strange odor
of dead wood.

This chronicle I wrote
to thank the man
who embraced the skin
that had fermented like olives
and who gave words
to the melancholia
of a whore.

Folsom Blues

Before my uncle
Johnny “Cash”
González died,
I had already fucked
my Russian girlfriend
countless times
and in several positions.
He told me about
wearing condoms,
gentle fellatio,
which my girl liked,
and bongs for weed.
He was against heroin,
hitting women,
and spit as lube.

Because of his insistence,
I could play the guitar,
read chords,
and sing blues.
He also taught me
how to roll dice
and bluff in poker;
it was all about
tricking eyes
and fucked up hands.
Right before
he closed his eyes,
he whispered and laughed
that I was ready to make
the world cry.

I got it when he said
nipples and kisses
were the kept secrets;
beer not water
was fuckingly good
for filtering smoke;
die or dice,
about surviving
in the streets of sharks;
Folsom … Blues,
a prison song;
or man’s worth,
his dick and pride.
But world crying
sounded Greek to me.

Not into poems,
flowery words,
or emotional fuck,
I had no clue
until I stabbed
my girlfriend’s brother
who wanted to pimp out
his sister for dope.
He hurt Oksana and me
and tested my manhood.
I was prepared to go
to jail for that disrespect.
So I willingly did
to stay there for a while,
and the world cried.

My childhood buddies,
friends at work,
and even neighbors
showed up to console
my mom and dad.
I was a good kid
with a good personality
and a good job
and a good future.
My baby sister
Elena Marie
suffered from asthma,
and I made her sob;
that fucking hurt,
and her hug was tight.

The trial began,
and my lawyer argued
self-defense;
that fucker was no saint.
Eventually I received
a unanimous acquittal,
but was never the same.
I used what I learned
from my dead uncle,
preyed on anyone,
and did not really care
if the world wailed.
Last spring
it was writing poetry
in New Folsom.

Doors

“No one here gets out alive.” 

—Jim Morrison

To the wooden door
of the apartment
on Rue Beautreillis
when the streetlights 
are mourning
for the disappearance 
of passerines,
my feet take me.

I knock thrice 
on the old mahogany
then turn the knob
still warm
from fevered hands,
and the smoke reeking
of tarred truffles
welcomes me.

My heart raising,
I wait for the odor
and the haze to clear: 
the vanity bench,
velvet-upholstered
and Queen Anne,
and the glow of the lamp 
flooding the floor.

I look around 
but everything is empty:
the guitar case,
the bottles of whiskey,
and the glass table
hiding the traces
of cutting
and white lines.

From the living room
to the kitchen,
I can’t find you
and the hint 
that you’re waiting
while the elevator song
is playing
in the background.

Sweating in excitement
and half worry,
I continue 
my heavy pace,
hoping the high 
of cocaine
won’t wane at the metal
bathroom door.

Solitary Storyteller

Although a solitary sorceress
confined in the utter coldness 
of this rusting wheeled chair 
to weave words and silence, 
the nudging boredom, I have 
been warned by death masks 
and their knocking as though
the demise of misery scares.

How can I tell a story about
the excitement of fingertips
without the clicking sound 
of the flickering flame, a hint 
of a drunken bonfire dancing 
on the nude quivering of skins 
and bones before the drizzle 
and the quiet of the embers?

How can I describe breaths
steaming on a scented nape
before the turning of a cheek
without the heated glass pipe
obedient to the inaudible lips
and meek to the slow wetting 
of the salty tongue craving for 
the warmest taste of smoke?

How can I illustrate to you
the quick moment of melting,
the weak movements of thighs
arching over curves to settle,
the slouching of drained arms,
and the satisfied smiles sweaty 
and unfolding on strange faces,
without the crystals that burn?

How can I write a tale about
the bare tiptoes of the night 
and the subtlety of its begging 
boiling underneath the linen
without that thick blackness
of the soot smudging on nails
as a residue and on palms as 
a grime of whiffs and inhaling?

Without the billowing clouds, 
I cannot dream of arid summer, 
the fresh peels of tangerines,
their seeds in my playful mouth,
the juice dripping off my chin,
the mutating memory of shapes, 
the soft solids, and the viscosity
of fluids before their evaporation.

Playing with Myself

It begins with Neruda,
the deserted carousel
at a standstill, twilight.
 
Then the long dance
of the unknown prima
undulating in the air.
 
It ends with Legrand’s
windmills, the wheels
quiet in their turning.

A Portrait of Long Absence

The iron stinging-
cold, he was judged
a subversive for a poem
he wrote, the floor his bed.

The spoon a life-
saving knife, the fork
an icepick honed sharp,
he still eats with his hand.

The plate an army-
tin, eating boiled rice
quick without a sound,
he drinks from the faucet.

The stares dead-
long, Grandpa hides
all the faces in his story
on the wall, his lips moving.

Antidote to Appetence

He tried pinching gently
his nipples one at a time,
rubbing soft his scrotum
for that tingling reaction,
but could not stroke his
tool and lightly massage
the bulge of his prostate.

Outside his room, rowdy,
the madman was talking
about bullets and blood
on TV, his folks frenzied,
clapping as if paid to do
so, he put the snap back
in his wallet, his girl nude.

Sonnet for Asexuals

I’m not going
to masturbate tonight
even if the news
are replaced with porn
or hold tight
my suffocated testicles
or wear down
patiently my prostate.

The walls ghost,
the cedarwood ceiling
empty, the bed
boundless, no, I can’t.

Robot bodies
are invented to suffer.

Symmetry of Light

Staring at the circles again or
trying to measure their shape
within the inch of my thumb
and forefinger both immotile
in my involuntary squinting.

Perhaps waiting for the edges
to dissolve like those ripples
of water upset by the weight
of slow drowning or the force
of stirring and tiny tornadoes.

After these, there are squares
to fathom and triangles to tilt
or turn bottom up in the scope
of my hand playing astronomy
to squeeze out their meanings.

Falling in Love with Bellucci

Searching for old dictators
who made lives worse than hell,
stone streets red
from bullet wounds,
the sky the gray of doldrums,
faces seeing all,
the horror of screams,
ears covered with hands,
the silence of wrenched tongues,
I found you.

Trying to cover the nudism
of your feet, looking where I was,
black hair falling
like untied curtains,
your short dress of tiny leaves
that contrived,
you their blossom,
the sad face that baffled,
your skin the Mediterranean sun,
you lured me.

Clicking more, the mania
of fingers, oranges on the ground,
the spite of dust,
grapes waiting on
the bare wood table for indexes
and thumbs,
how you stirred coffee
with no spoon, eyes shut,
Sangiovese clearing your throat,
I trembled.

Unbuttoning my pants,
the zipper down, but in my head,
lifeless, the woman
on the bleeding road,
the watermelon no longer whole
as if bombed,
scattered grains
as though for May harvest,
a can of sardines rolling to escape,
I softened.