My frustration is beyond resolve. Hitting me in the back of my neck. Causing my head to ache. I’m cold. Inside. Where I inhale icecaps. My heart in a deep freeze. My intestines gridlocked. Not a good time to call me. To ask how I’m doing. To talk about the weather. My thoughts are a dark forest green. Caterpillars crawl across the screen making my eyes itch. Wringing my tongue out. Discarding old stories. He made me sit on his lap. And so did he. And so did he. There was this one time a woman pulled me between her legs. Made my teeth sharp. Fingernails pulled back her skin. Blood ran across town. Now my skin drips while the news yells NAZI as my doors slam shut. Friends keep turning pages. Pretty soon I’ll slide off the scale and need a manufacturer's license to get back on. I have no idea where they makes those. I’ll ask my husband. He’ll have some sort of response that’ll never leave his lips. It’s like that broken chair in the movie theatre that I keep getting stuck with. So I cover my eyes and kneel before it praying to the movie stars like the mangy dog I am. Grafitti replaced the sunset. Fantastic shades of grey and blue with black felt marks across red paint. When I squint I see the words for this year. WAIT. COWARD. HOME. There’s a hand on my thigh pushing my skirt up to the 3rd floor. I need to find the down escalator. I know she’s here somewhere. I’ll look behind the couch. Rivers flow but I can’t find the bridge. I need to get to the other side before it’s too late and my ink turns to snake. Time to chew on his tentacles and quench my lust. Skulls knocking on the beds door. I ask him to grab the crowbar but he forgets what he came back for. My flowers dried up. And coughing is no longer an option. So I smear beeswax across my cheeks and hope for the best.
When I sit real still like the chickens come around
pawing at the earth like naughty puppies
making sounds like gargling under water
seeing me shy like looking through my hair.
When I stay real still like the world comes into focus.
I wonder why I don’t sit in the grass more often.
How I miss girlfriends who talk of their favorite positions.
Or how we may speak of an old lover.
How we laugh at jokes made at our own expense.
When I stay real still like I exhale my shoulders down
pull my pelvis forward so I’m sitting up straight
tilt my head upwards towards the sky.
There’s a quiet. In my beats. In my not so stiff. In my jaw.
No tears to swallow. Or ears to bend.
No explanations needed or tissues.
No I’m not good enough or too emotional.
There’s even a quiet in the howling wind.
I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower. It’s quiet there.
I’ve been to Crater Lake and Mount Shasta too.
I’ve walked the Louve and the Getty and MOMA.
I’ve ice skated at Rockefeller ice skating ring
and hiked Haleakala.
I’ve visited Stone Henge, Monte Alban and Isla Mujeras.
I’ve walked from East Harlem to Midtown
to the Brooklyn bridge.
I’ve gotten lost in the Santa Monica mountains, the San Lucia mountains
and the walled city of Lucca.
I’ve sat on trains watching blurs go by.
Sat on planes watching clouds go by.
Sat on laps watching time go by.
I’ve kissed the ground in Cuba and spit in many a grave.
I’ve sat on tombstones, smoked cigarettes and drank wine.
I’ve prayed in my pillow, stirred the pot, waited on the doorstep.
I’ve stared at my husbands profile.
I’ve held my sleeping baby in my arms.
I’ve washed my fathers body.
I’ve put my forehead on my dying dog.
Staying real still and quiet like as my focus honed in.
My life is a metaphor for something, I can’t remember what, it’ll come back to me later.
It’s not where it’s supposed to be.
“Dónde the fuck está el cráneo de cristal?”
Nobody in the Museum Of Cultures knows what I’m talking about.
I wonder if my wife and kid think I’m full of shit. I’m not even going to ask.
The girl on the bus is a handful.
When I string plastic beads around her neck, she collapses against me singing little songs in English and Spanish.
We’re the only Americans on the bus from Mexico City.
Before there was language, there were beads. They were the original mass media. My backpack is stuffed with lapis, coral, silver, bone, seed, and plastic. I can go anywhere, my currency is universal.
Hiro waits at the bus stop, with a peach fuzz attempt at a mustache, skinny, and dark, we might be brothers.
The girl won’t leave me behind.
In a suite overlooking the Zocalo in Oaxaca, Hiro takes her hand and says, “Vamos Anna, let your friend rest.”
I can’t stay in the room, they won’t trade beads in a place like this.
But Hiro owns the hotel, so….
Hiro’s brother rolls joints on the flat top of his Federale cap.
I’m smoking dope with a federal cop.
We need to borrow his car.
I don’t know why we need to borrow a car.
I don’t know why so many of my childhood friends had to die. I don’t know anything.
I don’t think that’s a metaphor.
Smoking weed makes me uncomfortable.
I always regret it.
There are unexpected consequences.
I am underwater stoned, traveling across an empty valley toward Monte Alban.
Feeling exposed in an open wash of mountain light with no place to hide.
Like a cockroach on the kitchen floor when someone flips the switch.
I feel exposed in the produce section if someone asks too loud what I think about broccoli.
The army is checking all the cars ahead.
Teenagers with machine guns.
I could be one of them.
Hiro has his brothers badge in his hand. His brothers gun is under his thigh on the seat.
I’m not worried about what’s in the trunk.
I should be worried.
I worry about rust.
Everything around me is rusting.
I think we might be closing in on my metaphor.
Monte Alban isn’t a mountain, it’s a city built on top of a city, over and over for centuries.
They’re still digging in the open tomb, collecting, and sending stuff down to the Museum Of Cultures.
Everyone is covered in dirt and afraid of Hiro.
I should be afraid of Hiro.
But I’m thinking about rust.
This place is rusting.
The giant is laid out on the floor. Buried on a mound of silver and gold, with a crystal skull in place of his head. His bones were hacked to bits.
Hiro is in the middle, offering a tiny gold bead on the tip of his finger.
I don’t want anything stolen from the tomb of a giant who was murdered with an axe.
I know I’m safe..... as long as the girl keeps wearing the plastic beads.
Click, click, click
Doctor Small’s shoes echo on the checkered hospital floor
as he comes to peek behind the curtain
I am in a lavender paper gown that is being inflated with hot air
Because hospitals are cold
And I am alone
Covid makes a undignified situation worse
without the option of someone to hold your hand through it
His lips are moving and I start to see stars
Golden stars falling like raindrops around the room
Did that fluffy yellow bumble bee get stuck in my ears?
I left her on the lanai thinking she was an omen of healing
But now I am buzzing
Heat spreading through my face and cheeks, yet I am cold and shaking
Pound, pound, pound
Liev is on Maui so how did he implant himself in the center of my heart?
With his matchbox truck
He is flailing toward my sternum
Mama, mama, mama
I am here but I can’t be with you
Mama, mama, mama
All I want is my boy,
my mama, mama, mama
And I think I might explode
If I do, maybe Liev will break out of my chest and into my arms
Not trapped as an invisible pressure behind the prison of my ribcage
And I will kiss him till I’m submerged in an oxytocin ocean
Not this fentanyl swamp they are drowning through my ruptured veins
It makes my brain melt and I hear the voices of angels
But they sound like Siri
Who is set to the voice of an Indian man I named Siresh,
because I thought that was funny after all my time in India
And a little bit of levity never killed anyone
But the doctor told me I might die a lot faster than I’m ready to accept
So fuck you, Siresh, just let the angels speak in their own voices
Maybe my grandma’s
Her voice was soft like her silk shirts
I want to crawl into grandma’s lap and play with her rings
Let her feed me those sticky, fruity candies from the pillbox in the bottom of her pocketbook
Panting, panting, panting
Remember I’m supposed to take deep breaths to activate the parasympathetic nervous system
To get those calming hormones to squirt into the center of my heart
Where Liev is having a tantrum that mama’s in the hospital and he is alone
Rest, rest, rest, Little Bug
Mama is getting knocked out soon
Intubated and can’t speak for a while
But my heart still beats, beats, beats for you, Peanut
I want to scream
But a cactus has sprouted in the pit of my throat
And my cries are obstructed by a tangle of agave blossoms
I read that the plant’s flowers are a sad event because
She dies, She dies, She dies
Right after she blooms
The Collective Underground