When Flowers Were I n Bloom

When Flowers Were I n Bloom

Monday

This Spring-like Day In Chicago


This spring-like day in Chicago,
as I relax on my back porch listening to the Byrds,
two Mexican women scurry along my sidewalk. 
They balance bags of clothes on their heads.
Their alien tongues fade around the corner
as they head to the laundry mat
on Broadway Street.
Their children brown, beautiful and full of life,
unafraid of a strange land,
chase each other across my yard.
Their gleeful laughter frees my spirit.

If I close my eyes and listen,
I hear the footsteps of my grandfather's mother.
A basket of  dirty clothes balanced on her head,
she follows a narrow road to the river.


Friday

Sometimes we have to sit quietly and listen ...


After He Spoke, I Dreamt of Angelfish























Moon aloft an ocean
-- Strum Und Drang
-- under the quilt of guilt.
And still I feel the presence
-- this night of  Eucharist
-- beneath the star of Bethlehem
a million fry floundering
afflict my soul.

I slam shut the shutters.
Thrash hopelessly till I school.
A billion angelfish and I
falling
through the blue pool of heaven.
Immersing
-- in body
-- in water.

Thursday

American Mason Jar






















Jar
mason jar
canning jar
jar to preserve
jar to seal goodness
jar to forbid sickness
jar to eliminate isms
things that possess
beings
drool
head flop
arm flap
entities
seized by 
the creation
inside
mason jar
canning jar
jar to preserve
jar to seal goodness

100% All American Mason Jar: Cap, Lid, and Ring!

Tuesday

My Love (An Open Letter)


My love,

the roads we travel

led us here,

a moment we share

in  space and time.

Once in a while

I wonder,

“Has it been worth it,"

then I recall

something funny,

like your crazy Charleston dance,

or,

like when I tell

one of my silly jokes

and you bust out

in your wild, snorting laugh;

or,

I recall the summer night,

under a lover's moon,

when I serenaded you,

and the old women

across the street

demanded 

the nice cops 

arrest me;

or, 

I remember something pleasant,

you in my arms.

Your warm body pressed against mine

as north winds rattle the house

and raindrops tap against the window;

or,

I remember the scent 

of apple blossom in your hair

as I hold you in my arms

in that corner of the bed

that is our private world;

or,

when we hold hands

in the middle of the night

as we share secrets

in our hour of content.

Sometimes,

my love,

I wonder,

“Has it been worth it?”

Trials and tribulations

can weigh heavy

on a man’s soul;

but wherever our winding roads lead,

that corner of the bed

with disheveled linen

will hold a being that is us

in a world our love created

full of wondrous sighs

and laughter.

Monday

Spring



 Spring

Spring,
who does not love your gown
of green?
In each of us a flower blooms,
and in it is a word.

May mine be strong and full of wonder!

Tuesday

Keith Olbermann Prophecy 7 Years Ago


Science is more than a body of knowledge ...

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness."
-- Carl Sagan

When we hear a black man ...

“When we hear a black man describe police violence; when we hear an undocumented immigrant describe exploitative labor; when we hear a prisoner describe institutionalized brutalization; when we hear a young gay woman describe homelessness – our first response must not be to attempt to discredit, to rationalize, to explain away. Rather, we must give them the credit we would expect others to give to us, and try to understand experiences that differ substantially from our own. . . . This doesn’t mean credulously accepting every narrative or policy proposal that is accompanied by a claim of oppression; we still have to apply our rational faculties. It does mean treating every story with the solicitude we would reflexively grant to members of our own economic, social, racial, and religious tribes."
-- Brandon McGinley

Monday

evening notes ...

5


"Mary, it was nice breaking bread. I guess Amanda and Gabriel are officially hooked on tortas al pastor."



Mary, at twilight, I always look for the Big Dipper, then off of Alkaid, the star at the tip of the handle, I find the North Star. Afterwards, I settle into my lawn chair, turn on my music, pour myself a drink, and light a cigar. I often wonder if in another galaxy, in a faraway solar system, another being is star gazing and contemplating the existence of other intelligent life.

Usually on clear, star filled nights, I drift back to my youth in Texas, to my grandfather's farm.  In the evening, after a hard days work and after dinner, our dessert would come from the garden. Albert and I -- Shio straggling behind -- walked down row after row searching for the juiciest meloncito, cantaloupe, or honeydew. Before we ate our fruit, we'd place it in the fresh, cool water of the irrigation ditch, then we'd recline and wait for the stars.  We'd talk about extra-terrestrials, alien creatures, and space exploration. Time would fly and soon the moon would appear, and the Texas sky, aglitter with stars, would transport us to another world.

In those moments, I'd marvel at God's creation, and my believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being was reaffirmed. And underneath the umbrella of God's hand, my imagination ran wild unable to contain the infinite power of the Creator's glory. But ultimately, my thoughts would turn to the existence of man and what lay beyond: spirit, soul, afterlife, paradise.

When I sit in my lawn chair and gaze into the star filled night, I am face to face with God, and the universe makes me feel important and immense not small and insignificant. I am anchored by faith and His creation.  The stars call me home to the infinite, to the eternal. One day, somewhere beyond the Milky Way, beyond the hundred billion galaxies that swirl in space, I will abide in my Father's mansion.

Mary, I just want to say you're an inspiration, and I love you; and maybe some night you can treat me to a cigar, and we can stargaze together. And if you're nice, I'll even show you my special star which burns in the northern sky like the Star of Bethlehem. What do you say?

Well, talk to you later. And you know I love you more ...

evening notes ...

1

"How are you Mary? Hope you have a great day."


Saturday night, at around 10, I was in my back porch smoking a cigar and having a drink. Across the street neighbors had a fire going and were roasting marshmallows. I guess it was a fellowship of Christian women. They were singing hymns and such. I was listening to Al Green on my music box surrounded by my flowers and chimes.  Occasionally the chimes played soothingly as a breeze caressed them. It was a beautiful night. The moon hung like a pearl above the roofs and beside it, because of an astrological occurrence, Mars shone bright like the Star of David.

So there I sat smoking my cigar, drinking my tequila, letting my thoughts drift into space, when the women began to pray. I lowered my music, turned out my cigar, and listened. An older woman led the prayer and soon others joined in. Their voices rose to a crescendo, and my heart broke, and I also prayed.They prayed for healing of church and family members. They prayed for the worlds healing. I prayed for you, for your family, for me, that He would hear me. I prayed His will be done despite I wished otherwise. There I was in the dark, on my porch, in the midst of this crazy, weird, beautiful moment, praying.

I hadn't spoken to God in some time, but this wasn't planned, and it wasn't for me, and it just happened. After a while a hush fell over the gathering, until a gust of wind brought them out of their deep meditation. They hugged and there was laughter and hallelujahs. I remembered my walk with the Lord, though it seemed like a century ago, and a longing came over me. This was a hallelujah moment, and I reflected on my life as I stared into the vast universe and listened to their songs of worship. The moon, the Creator's unblinking eye, shinned its light on me, and it was good.

Mary, I sat there for a good bit thinking of you and how much I love you, but more importantly, how much our Father in heaven loves you. I felt mom and dad's presence and all our loved ones and it brought me peace.  Mary, I'm here for you, but the most wonderful thing is the Great Comforter dwells within you. He will always be there.

Well, I just wanted to share my moment with you. And you know I love you more ...

ring

It's gone.
35 years obliterated.
Swirling water:
churning, boiling, crashing.
A tolling ebb and flow.

Nothing is left.
No one to cry.
No one to mourn.
Only frothing sea
and a cerulean sky. 

Saturday

Evening, Just Before Twilight
















Evening,
forty miles west of Chicago,
a frozen field.
Snow spirits appear and disappear
as north winds howl
at the winter moon.
I light a cigar
and wish for a shot of tequila,
wish it were summer,
and I was pulling up
to the Baptist Mission in Texas
where my old man spoke the word
and the choir sang,
when I believed in tongues,
in heavenly utterances,
and the Holy Ghost was immense power
seething within,
and you the sacred vessel
I poured myself into.

My thoughts are of a time
when wind surfed the treetops
and apple blossoms swirled down
on an insouciant world and covered two beings
in its mystical cloak,
when I pressed you against earth
as it spun and traveled
around a star that moved
through space and time
to a point
that exalted you
and love
sacrificed self.

I wrap myself in a season
when I walked in the hullabaloo
of a day,
in the bell
of a lost Sunday,
when tulips were a lover's bed
and wild violets were a bouquet
arranged for you.
I remember a ruckus,
a riot
in my heart,
a hooligan love,
a rapture.

I recall
a time
as north winds howl
at the winter moon,
and the Big Dipper pours
twilight
into evening sky --

my thoughts are of you
as I follow the North Star home,
a thousand stars
lighting the way .

Monday

Sometimes (pome #7)

Laura rises
Christmas morning.
"Don't fuck with me," she snaps.
"I don't want to argue

-- you hear me!"

I drift towards the table,
bite into an elephant ear.
They're not as good as mom's buñuelos,
but Durango's are pretty good.

"Did you get me anything," she asks.
"Probably some cheap shit from Waldo's Dollar Mart?
You can take it back –

you're such an ass."

The tamale is hot --
nothing beats a pork tamale
with a cup of chocolate.
My great-grandmother use to say
in the old days
our people made tamales filled
with frog meat

-- I think I'll just have coffee.

"You didn't think of me --
did you?
Look!
We have a shit-pile of presents,
and not one is mine.
Not one!
I know we agreed,
but I bought you stocking stuffers."

The Christmas tree is gorgeous.
The tradition comes from her people,
but I've never seen Laura lift a finger
to decorate the freaking thing.
"You’re a jerk,” she cries.
“Last night you had your way with me
-- didn't you?"

"You’re such a bitch," I sigh.

She buries her face in her hands.
I want to hold her, but she'll push me away
then we'll really go at it.

I want to tell her
the kid shot dead last night
was Isaac.
I want to tell her
my nephew, Miguel,
is in Kendall
and could be going downstate
for thirty years,
said he was worried
about homosexual stuff,
and we both laughed;
but when I was in the parking lot,
I wept till I almost choked.
I want to tell her that Mundo
has AIDS and isn't doing well,
and they're all under twenty.
I want to tell her all this shit,
but I don't.

I want to tell her
I miss my old man and mom.
that I miss mom's
daily prayers for me,
that I miss my old man's voice
at church on Christmas Eve,
but instead, I mumble,
"You know,
the tree symbolizes the trinity.
You know, the shape of it --
the triangle.
The Father, The Son, and
The Holy Ghost."

I hear noise ouside the window.
It's Juan and Teresa.
They stumble across my yard.
Snow spirits swirl around them
and disappear in the wind.
They’re consumed by firewater.
Their laughter jars my bones.

"The other night," I begin,
"I caught Juan behind our garage
giving some old fart a blow job."
Laura doesn't even look at me.

"In the old days,
he was so beautiful,
gliding across the football field.
No one could touch him.
He led our offense,
and I anchored our defense.
We were Cisco and Pancho.

Sometimes,
you just need a break.
One fucking break."

Laura turns on Nat King Cole.
He was my old man's favorite.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
comes in soft waves.

"You know, ain't nobody better
than Nat king Cole."

“Yeah, I know,” she smiles.
“All we need is Nat King Cole
and a white Christmas.”
She walks over and hugs me.

Outside light snow falls.
A line of Mexican women
balance bags of dirty clothes
on their heads.
They disappear around the corner,
their strange tongues fluttering
in an alien world.

Saturday

She Hears Him



    

















She dreams
he scurries across the floor,
and through any nook or cranny,
disappears into the walls,
then she awakens to an empty crib --
the house settling,
windows rattling.

All night
she hears him crying
behind the woodwork. 

Tuesday

Happy Union: A Path To Enlightenment


Happy Union, Texas, August ‘71,
at the waterhole north end of grandfather’s farm
where Kirby keeps his cattle.
It’s evening and a hundred and ten degrees.
Barbas de Oro is whooshing in from south of El Rio Grande.
The chaparral throbs & the cornfields rattle like pissed-off snakes.
I float in a pond, listen to killdeer & scissor-tails.
Frogs plop in the water & ripple after ripple
pass through me.
I’m a buoy connected to Yahweh.
My penis bobs in the swish\swoosh
body of water & I muse –

if Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent;
if He is here at this moment,
has He counted every hair on my head;
if He knows me completely,
and I know Him,
having consumed the body

and tasted His blood,
if He is here, now, with me,
does He hover in the clouds,
arms raised, palms turned outward,
pale face, blue eyes,
a halo above His blond hair;
or, is He in the water
nude,
dark, shiny as a stone;
hair raven & in curls,
eyes black & catholic?

“Well Rabbi," I begin,
"It’s like this --”

I talk late in the evening.
And It’s just me & Jesus
-- neither here nor there --
in the heart of Texas,
in a slow spiral,
our heads bobbing
in the swish\swoosh
body of water.

Saturday

When Flowers Were In Bloom





















When flowers were
in full bloom,
I saw you.
You were more beautiful
than any blossom
in any garden,
in any city,
in any state,
in any continent,
in any planet,

You were more beautiful --

When wildflowers sweetened
the bee laden days,
and sudden northern winds
blew those strange Saturdays
into so many lost Sundays,
I danced like a dervish
whirling, whirling
till flames burned
above my head.

And though I offered days
of bells and honey,
your heart walked
down a narrow road
to a temple in the east
never  to return.
 And I lost myself ...

And in evening light,
I sat in a pasture
with a thousand bluebells
and waited for the stars,
and the cosmos dark daggers
shredded my heart,
and I hung naked
on the North Star
and wept --

Still,
I thought,
You were more beautiful
than any blossom
in any garden,
in any city,
in any state,
in any continent,
in any planet,

You were more beautiful --

although

my daughter screams
all you do is drink and write poetry
it's not true
i've never been drunk a day in my life
although
i've written plenty of bad poetry   

Driftwood


















An ocean of emotion. How cliché.
If that’s the case, then all I have is driftwood.
“I love your eyes, your smile, your lips.
The way you say my name.”

“Let me hold your hand.”
A kiss. A hug. I disrobe you.
Lick lines of dissent on your body.
“Let me love you?”

There is no shoreline.
Twenty-five years of flotsam
keep me from drowning.
I hang on in desperation.


“I love you,” she says.
I take a deep breath.
In this infinite sea, it exists for me.
It must suffice --

driftwood.




Tuesday

And It Was summer






















One night,
as I smoked a cigar in my backyard,
the old lady from across the street
walked over with her pit bull
and complained about the smell.
“You smoke mucho marijuana,”
she said pointing at my Backwoods.
“It’s a cigar,”  I explained.
“No,” she said, “You stop.”
“Listen, your dog barks all night long,
do I complain?”
“You stop,” she demanded.
I said, “I stop when he stops.
Whatever his name is.”
She said, “Doe no.”
“You don’t know his name,”
I asked.
She said, “Doe no.”
“Don’t know,” I asked again.
“Doe no,” she replied.
“Wait a minute, his name is Don't Know?”
“Doe no,” she said as her freaking dog
took a crapzilla on my lawn.
She gave me the one finger salute,
and marched back to her fortress.
There after, every morning
I’d find a steaming pile of dog shit in my yard.

One day,
I planted jalapenos in the enriched soil;
and when the plant was full,
I picked and gave them to the old lady.
It was summer and days were long:
bees buzzed the honeysuckles,
children played in the fields,
wives giggled like high school girls,
old men played cards,
and young men serenaded their sweethearts.
The old lady walked across the street with Don't Know
and brought ice cold horchata.
We sat by my garden and talked  about the old country,
and the breeze made circlets of her hair,
and Don't Know barked at passersby,
and I smoked my Backwoods.

And it was summer and dreams were long,
and bees buzzed the honeysuckles,
and children played in the fields,
and we sat in my garden,
by the jalapeno plant,
and drank horchata
and let evening light
wash over us. 
 

Saturday

And after so many years,

















And after so many years,
the world slides off my shoulders.
Elephants collapse
turtles flee --
pink evenings,
valleys and mountains,
Wednesdays and Sundays;
all, all is lost.
Believe me --
earth is flat, and the ocean,
well,
spills over the edge.

And after so many years,
you say, "My love is yours."
What colossal weight --
please,
not another word.

The autumn roads we traveled
led us here
to a graveyard in my chest.
Buried there
my heart --

please,
not another word.

u wear my skin


u
wear
my
skin
so
sweet
ly
these
caramel
ized
tiny
deaths
are
extreme
ly
tas
ty

every // day // with // u // is // dia // de // los // muertos

Friday

I want to be

























I want to be an ant. It travels a certain path.
It comes and goes, goes and comes. It lives to serve --
a part of a whole.
It’s connected by chemical // by the unseen.
Its life fundamental // elemental.
It’s an important part of a colony
but nothing
without the sum.

I saw an ant. Its pinchers ready to attack.
Only 2 segments of an ant.
Its head splayed // lifted to the sun.
How glorious was your death.
How perfect // beautiful // important.

I want to be
the ferocious ant that soldiered-up
and died on the lawn.
Its antennae vibrating //
harmonic // converging //
connected
to the unseen __

This day // Sunday // June 1st,
I want to be the dark ant
that’s led me down a certain path
that disappears into the earth
and marches to an octave
that rocks a cosmic tune //
stirs dust that settles on the dead
and unlocks a universal truth --

I want to be the ferocious ant
that soldiered-up and faced the unseen.
Its antennae vibrating in death,
in tune with the universe,
connected to the colony,
connected to me.

I want to be an ant __

Saturday

Leave Me


Leave me
my whiskey & cigars.
Let me blow rings
around the moon
& sing her
old man songs.

Thursday

u

u
were
chimes
creating
beautiful music
in
violent wind

Wednesday

i

i
am
caught
between
earth & moon
carpenter & burning bush
at my age
it's
a predicament
to find
self
in
the
surf & tide

Friday

Seven Words


Seven words
a woman should never say
to her man --

They attack bone
like arthritis
gnarl hands and feet.

A house wife removes her husband's shoes and says,
“I love you husband.”

He says, “Better these four words then the seven words
you should never say to your man."

Thursday

Santa Fe

The sky is bluest
in the clean, thin mountain air
of Santa Fe.
Seven days in the city
of Holy Faith,
but my faith is anything but holy.

It's 3:30 a.m.
The cottonwood's roots are buried deep
underneath the adobe house.
Its arms scrape the skylight.
Raindrops tap against the window.
She sighs and says,
"I always loved you."

I roll out of bed
and, in the dark, reach for my clothes.
By 4:30 a.m. I'm on the road to Albuquerque.
My thoughts are on the hot air balloon
that, for awhile,
will suspend me above earth,
above the candle burning on the horizon,
above the rattle and hiss of the world.

The clouds are icebergs
floating in an azure sea
carried past Sandia peak.
"How's the weather in Chicago,"
the pilot asks.
"Heat wave is blasting the city," I reply.
"My brother says the sky is hazy, dirty."

"Do you like the Midwest," he continues.
I shrug, " I love the city."
The roar of the flame drowns my voice,
and the hot air balloon rises.
My thoughts are of the adobe house
at the foot of Cristo De Sangre mountains
and the soft warm body waiting for me.

"I drove by Chicago back in '94," the pilot says,
"So, how do you like living in the Midwest?"
The balloon brushes a tree top,
the Tampa Bay newlyweds squeal.
I shrug, "It's okay."
No one listens.

Coyote sings to the vanishing moon
then streaks across open space.
The young lovers scream with excitement.
"So, how do you like Chicago,"
the pilot asks.
I mumble, "I loved a woman there once."
But no one cares,
as the hot air balloon descends
and the land of enchantment unfolds
before an ascending sun.

Tuesday

When She Surrendered Her Body To The Flame

At night,
when mother lay with father,
when earth moved away,
she would pray.
Her whispered word flashed
to an infinite point.
Her supplication was long in the night,
and the abating hush blended
in the thick honey drip of His presence --
the viscid flow textured by my mother’s sighs
and the crinkle of sacred leaves.
The woven hands of two lovers’ caught every drip
drop
drip.

A while,
a while --
she began again.

Always twice. A vow to the Spirit.
(When she was eight, in Brundage, Texas,
by the Rio Nueces, the moon in her pocket,
in the basin of the Big Dipper,
she faced Barbas de Oro.
She was resolute in her sprouting soul,
and she waited. And it came.
A stream beyond the Milky way --
a gentle
flow
gentle.

She drank deeply, tasted the space of her being,
and understood her journey’s end.)
And so, she spoke in many tongues,
and flames danced above her head,
and lit our house for the world to see.
My father always there
warmed
his hands
warmed.

She was a grand warrior in the Kingdom of the Ghost.
When she surrendered her body to the flame,
the incense of her love remained in the fumes
of her family’s lives.
There was no resounding gong,
no clanging cymbal,
no moving mountain
only the remains of faith, hope, and love --
but the greatest of these
was her love.

So, when earth moves away,
when the feathery bliss of tomorrow
fluffs my dreams,
I catch my breath
trying to discern the angel tongue.
My supplication is long in the night --

a while,
a while,
I begin again.

Wednesday

himno #13




















Lovely,
sanguine,
grand warrior
in the Holy Kingdom

-- O --

then the T-Bird honked,
ripped curtains,
shook pillars --

the Spirit fled.

Jezee’s luscious ass rippled
as she flew from Raven’s Nest and,
from the heart,
busted out gangster rap.

O

she was gorgeous in freedom.

The couple muttered,
“Sorry, it’s just that your sticker said ...”

Jezee,
in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot,
angel
less,
without comfort,
removed the cornerstone

-- the temple crumbled.

Waited 3 days for it to rise,
but it didn’t.
Lost dogs swallowed her up.
Left nothing but skin.

(This started the to and fro of Dali’s clock.
The swing to an empty tomb.)

I suppose

the garage was as good a place as any.
Bob Dylan singing in the background,
garden at the doorstep.

(Man,
she loved lilac.
Though she always complained,
“It reminds me of death.”)

So
there she swung
in the smell of it.

Bishop
back from Cajones, Mexico,
a village buried in the mountains
about 100 miles from Ft. Hancock, Texas.
Offered cookies and juice to Mestizos.
Tried to convince them the one true God is
blond
blue eyed
European.
They
always nodded,
“Si, por favor.
Una galleta y jugo.”
Yes,
one more cookie
please.
Sweet juice
please.
Free t-shirt with American Hippie God on it
please.
I’ll praise him
please.

Bishop
back from mission's work
-- agape love.
Bob Dylan wailing
-- agape love.
Garden in bloom
-- agape love.
Jezee in full swing
-- agape love
Death arching
-- agape love.

(All that’s left is tearing out your hair,
ripping off your clothes,
gnashing your teeth,
and weeping.)

O

but the Son,

the Son cradles the world
while chronic shadows bloom.
From head to toe they bloom.
And Jezee rocks,
to and fro
she rocks.

And

Bishop,

the only absolutes
are shadows multiplying 7 x 7
and Jezee rocking an empty tomb

-- O --

yeah

and sweet scent
from a lilac bush.