Skinnin' The Pachuco

I'm just happy to be here.

Month: April, 2014

29/30

I am singing Usher’s U Got it Bad
under my breath
past midnight
at a coffee shop
when the table I sit at
suddenly becomes the cafeteria
at my middle school which
on some Friday nights
became the dance floors
I would find myself wearing
a Ralph Lauren polo
and shoes that are not built for dancing,
but my sixth grade body don’t know that.

I am looking at a picture of my eleven year old brother
before his first middle school dance alone in my room
when suddenly my heart forgets its
hard promise, pours clean from my chest
like a punch bowl drunk with fresh fruit,
bodies ripe with sugar and the want to spill
everywhere.
I imagine the celebration that becomes of the cafeteria
as soon as he enters.
Wearing a striped Ralph Lauren Polo
with dark denim jeans, his hairstyle so slick
He smiles like he’s trying to earn his first kiss.
I imagine his ankles turning to air before all his friends
find their hips, and the girl he loves to tell me about
laughs at how he knows every lyric
to every Bruno Mars song that comes on
and I have already lost myself
thinking about how he tries to shake
the linoleum off the floor. In fact
I have already wept twice while writing this
but that’s okay cause my boy Kyler,
oh he is a King of loving things
even at eleven,
a boy believes in his body enough
to watch it burn down one night
only to have it back by morning—
That is my favorite part .

 

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28/30

I burned my throat while looking for you this morning
but that isn’t fair to say
because I was drinking coffee too.

On both sides of my coffee mug is a typewriter
with the words Just My Type beneath the brim
and before I can smile at the wordplay, I open my mouth
for a kiss. My lips slobber sleep, my tongue sits still
a tired ribbon pretends to do the same, as it stays
wrapped up in picturesque porcelain until it is
ink free and all my teeth are stained with something
remarkable to say.
But your name taps out before I can even say
good morning.
I type your name out, each letter lost keys,
turning into me, a jagged memory,
a picked lock, a space bar struck by a thumb
over and over again, the distance within
being without you
will always be a burning bridge
a fresh brew that caffeine chews the type
of silence you wish to remain so,
but even the rot rises, like it too
wants to be forgot,
a lock turning into a chimney,
lost love learning itself in these
letters of mine,
I have let my tongue bear the mark of brimstone
because my coffee mug is a typewriter and
I burned my throat when I tried to spill the stories like steam
because I wanted to say what mattered the most
and then watch it leave
but nobody knows how to do that
and how is that so?
That is, how do you speak the very thing that swallows
you whole?
 

27/30

27/30

Sorry, meet your mouth.
Your mouth is my mouth.
Sorry, our mouths have met
a thousand and one times today,
at least. Let’s skip the pleasantries.
We both know what we’re doing
isn’t love making.

It’s a scuffle of skin, I give, you take
I bleed and you make the red disappear
until I no longer crumble crimson. Fuck
I want so bad to be fixed
but your mouth made me forget my own
and now I don’t know whose teeth to trust.

Now biting my tongue is the same as feeling sorry
for myself, and silence is an apology I never meant
to grow into but the roots have already adapted.
I confuse truth for what refuses to leave, self-included.
What’s included with most of my self is a stairwell
of sorry’s, all leading out my mouth and back into it.
It’s a stupid kind of stuck, having a sorry mouth
It’s a stubborn kind of love, having a mouth
that is never enough and always sorry
for talkin’ too much.

 

26/30

It is Saturday night in Elgin, Texas and I have mastered
the art of standing still while spinning violently

I won’t blame the moonshine because there’s no need
no need to name the hands that take you from tenderness

Besides it wasn’t like that. See, what I did was soak what
sunk me in matrimony between the people that let me go

Without ceremony. I said a few words about how I’m tired
of loving the leaving, left some sentences in the form of dead skin.

The wind picked me up like a good friend, said things end
and set me like down as if it was the beginning, again.

I was so drunk I stopped recreating the past and didn’t even get sad.
I was so drunk I stopped recreating the past and just looked at what I had.

Looked at the night sky pinched by starlight and stillness and
couldn’t help but see myself similar. Hasn’t this body always been

Strewn about with bits of light? Skin so thick, it has to be borrowed
from the night. Heart so bright, has to be all alone with all that light.

I can’t blame the moonshine cause now it all makes sense. The stillness.
The spinning. Oh, I can’t blame the moonshine when I am the full moon

Tonight.

24/30

She told me                           
No one is alone in their suffering
then looked at me as if to say                           
Yes, even you

and my eyes met her mouth like
honest truth or fresh fruit
either way, she spoke slow and
I saw all my favorite colors fall out
her bottom lip, saw them blur 
into a bridge, or a plank, or some other
distance one must make if he wants to
see the day again.

I tell her how I keep every beautiful thing I see
that way I can leave it behind when no one is looking
and how I call that positive pollution, and that I am
overwhelmed every day by what some might call
the breeze, but what is most obviously a river of what’s next,
a universal breath knocking against the stars
we have stuck in our chest,
and she is glowing
like she knows
like she knows what it means to collapse 
and come back
brighter than death.

23/30

VALENTINES DAY

It is 5 AM, and I am holding a woman without fear of what may come
when the morning does, and this is the first time, since the last time which
no longer matters, except to say I have become an expert at holding on, which
is to say I am terrible at letting things go, and this is nothing new, but oh
the way she cracks my body open like allergy season is, and that ain’t nothing.

I should rewind.

You are on your bed and this is my first time in your room and
I don’t want to do anything to mess it up so I just lie on my back and listen
and watch you sing your favorite songs to me and oh now you are bright-
eyed, now you are a lighthouse, and I never even had to tell you about the
shipwreck.

I should rewind.

I loved a girl before you who never listened to my favorite songs because
they were too sad. Then she stopped loving me back and oh, nothing prepares
you for that. Except the sad songs, and there is never enough ice to break
the irony.

I should rewind.

Depression is an ocean and I thought since my father was a sailor this might
save me but it only made me more dissolve faster and that did not solve anything,
so I lifted my body from the bottom of my bed, and tried to make myself happen,
like how anything happens to anyone in the course of a day, but no one noticed
so I went back to bed and buried myself dead.

I should fast-forward.

We spent Valentine’s day getting drunk and eating tacos from a truck outside
next to a jukebox that played nothing but love songs. Just My Imagination
by the Temptations became the soundtrack at 2 AM for stumbling lovers and
I held your hand ‘cause sometimes my worst fault is falling too soon, and
oh darling, I didn’t want to ruin the music.

It is 5 AM yesterday now, and like I said before, you are gone, and I am terrible
at letting things go, but oh that ain’t nothing new.

Oh, I think
It was just my imagination,
running away with you.

22/30

 

Waiting for the bus in the rain
sounds like a sentence that belongs
in a story about nostalgia, you know.
Trying to remember, as if the mere
mention of memory does not make us a history book?
This doesn’t take that much work, though.

I am waiting for the bus in the rain.
With little effort, everyone avoids drowning.

Except me, and that exception applies to the entire
previous sentence.

With much effort, I am still no one avoiding nothing
which to say today is Thursday and I am waiting for the bus
in the rain.

Goodness, now it sounds like I’m trying to remember
but memory for me doesn’t work like that. What happened
is still happening, as always with me, an unhappenable being
and this mostly gets confusing due to the speed at which
I speak and that has to do with memory, too.

I’m afraid if I forget what I want to say, I will lose my tongue one day.
Once the letters and words begin to pinball I don’t want them to drop
like jaws. I want to say everything all at once.
Oh, my mouth is my mistress
and I want to make love like teeth
and fresh banana bread. Have you ever had fresh banana bread?
Well if it’s a no, you haven’t made love with your teeth like I know
and let me tell you, that’s a love you have to show. What’s the point
of being able to speak if you ain’t gonna sing? What’s the point
of being able to eat if you ain’t gonna make the food sing to you?

Goodness, now it sounds like I forgot what made me remember
which I didn’t because I don’t have to remember,

I was waiting for the bus in the rain and nobody drowned
except me but that’s mostly because I was born next to the ocean
and my father was a sailor and you know there’s something about apples
falling from the shipdeck and boys getting apple flesh
caught in his anchors, well that’s me.
The only brown boy who made himself a ballast and still drowns
in spite of it. In spite of the buoyancy he was built with.

I am waiting for the bus in the rain when the bus stops
like I don’t know how to do and now I am
on the bus with the rain outside when I look up and see a poem
by Jill Wiggins. The ending it went something like this,
“Into dark water—
I could drown
in words”

 

21/30

21/30

THINGS FALL APART

The last band we saw together was Built to Spill
over at Stubbs, when November was its nastiest
and Winter felt so true. Thirty degrees and dropping,
I pressed my body so hard against yours, I expected
sparks to consume whatever it was we could not control
like the weather
like each other,
and each of our expectations filled with what we
both wanted, which was not each other,
I learned that from the aftermath
and that is the hardest part.
To be a lesson and not even know it
until you have to.

But oh, if I had to do it all over again,
I’d do it just the same. Even if I know
our sparks won’t stay long enough to last
through the winter of each other, I will
still build the a fire for you,
even if I have to burn myself down
to do it.

“We’ve all seen enough, now it’s time to decide
The meekness of love or the power of pride
It doesn’t matter if you’re good or smart
Goddamn it, things fall apart

Let’s go for a walk, yeah, let’s go for a drive
Don’t know how to say thanks for being alive
Let’s go for a lifetime, let’s go for a fling
Don’t know how to say anything”

 

 

 

20/30

FOR BOYS WITH GRANDFATHERS WHO FORGET THEIR NAMES
BUT NOW HOW TO SMILE

Yesterday, my best friend Alexander told me his grandpa has forgotten his name
but not how to smile, and I crumble at the replay. He tells me,
his grandpa can’t help but use the words wonderful and thrilled,
how for him, it is just nice to meet everyone, again, for the first time,
for the last time, for whatever time is left and it feels good to
love the man that made the love you learn from, how kindness
filled his bones his whole life, so even as his body begins to break
the only thing to escape is music.
And I want to tell him,
Alex, we are boys who come from men who spent their whole life loving.
We are men who saw the boy in us burn down as soon as we
loved for the sake of it, as soon as we saw the music in everything.
Oh brother, we are sons still remembering, even as our grandpas
forget their favorite fruit, even as our names disintegrate in their throats,
at least they know how to laugh and smile in the face of forgetting.
Alex, we come from men made of music, and don’t we both
love to sing? Let me tell you.
The first time I had to tell my grandpa my name,
I don’t remember what his face looked like or what he said
but it was probably in Spanish and he probably laughed
afterwards. I remember my grandfather being so funny,
even if he didn’t.
When my brothers and I would visit
him and my grandmother at the house my dad
spent his whole life learning to love
My Grandpa would ask us “How’s ya ugly daddy?”
then roll his own cigarette and laugh
until it was lit.
My Grandpa would sit in the front room
the walls punched by tobacco and a man forgetting
himself, and he would play his guitar. I don’t
remember the songs, only the singing.
I come from a man who forgot he was a father
I come from a man who forgot his family
but not how to sing, and doesn’t that mean
everything? Even as I write this, I am not singing,
merely weeping at the thought of it. Merely sinking
back into the smoke he became, when the fire
ate his brain and I felt too unbrave to spell
my name out in the ash.

I am twelve when my grandfather finally
becomes a memory
for good.
My mother wakes my brothers and I up
in the middle of the night to tell us.
I thought it was a dream, something I woke up
in the middle of, only I couldn’t fall back asleep
or maybe I did but nothing comes to mind right now.
Only that,
when my grandpa was placed in a home without his wife
to make him breakfast, he would flirt with the woman
by smiling, or singing, or simply forgetting fear
and merely feeling. He would smile, like I do now,
like my dad does, and learned to, and now I know
my mouth has never been mine, merely a memory
replaying over and over again.

I like to think when he went,
the only thing he remembered was the way
my grandmother’s lips left him an eternal song,
something he’d never forget.

 

19/30

I am sleeping too much again.
Yesterday I woke to find the day dancing
and couldn’t find my dancing shoes anywhere.
There’s a story there, but I shut my eyes before
it sees the sunlight and decides to rise likewise.
I hit the story with the bunt of my fist
and it collapsed like snooze.

It is morning now. Afternoon, actually but
I just woke up so what’s the difference?
Nothing happens other than what is supposed to.
What is supposed to happen is the problem.
Overwhelmed by mostly myself, I run into people
who make me feel less alone because to me that
seems easier than the alternative.
There’s a story there, but I’ll replace it with a quote.
Octavio Paz wrote, “Self-discovery is above all the realization that we are
alone.”

Is there a word to describe the feeling of missing someone
before you actually leave? What about missing everyone?
I am trying to anticipate the craters my own absence
will create, the crashing and burning that will become of me
when I lose half my universe and though I cannot control
where the ash goes, I can be ready for the blood, or at the very least
the realization that I am alone. I can’t help but hate the way my sleep
repeats cast-away phrases like leave me be, like nothing ever stays
so what’s the use in staying awake? Even my coffee’s gone cold.  |
I am not losing, I just know I’m leaving soon, and I can’t even 
find my damn dancing shoes, and everyone I love is on the dance floor.
Everyone I love is staying around to see me, but I am too tired.

Snooze.