Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'm gunna let my belly be round tonight
I'm gunna let it fill the form it should
push against the soft cotton jersey of this t-shirt
and expand in defiance of my culture's impositions

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Runner

"Are you a runner?" he asked.
"Yes, I am".
Instant response. No thought required.
I am.
I have run miles and miles through dirty trails in parks and the filthy cement side walks of many cities.

There was a greater volume to this answer though
...more truth to it than the tangled blond-haired boy with glowing teeth could surmise
for he didn't know much truth about me
well, at least no more than the squid's ink splash I'd provided.

I've run.
From so many things.
I've set my legs ablaze for seemingly nothing in retrospect.
I've floated up and out of potential situations,
and skipped at camouflaged speeds away and away.
I've run on two wheels. A loud engine.
and faster.

I've run in the air over oceans and waterfalls,
let the salt and cascades separate myself from the problem in a thick froth;
asked the fishes and sharks to distract the darkness for a moment while I slip off.

I've run from money
and run a little because of it.
I've run circles and hexagons around the illusion that I do or don't have it.

I've set records with dashes in matters so trivial
-like an answer to a tough question
or a pause, much needed-

Mostly, I've run from people and the relations that stem from them,
those people who dampened my spirit and wished to lock it in boxes,
those relations that have taken joy from me,
those people who would continue to do so throughout a span of years.

I've set sail enough years ago from the twisted carousel of confusing relations.
A woman so weak, a man too proud and another: an unholy combination of the two who spat in the face of logic.
I've cut that marionette's strings and run
and run
and run
for a possibility...
a translucent smear of hope that stays stubbornly on the advancing windows of life's phases.

I've run from love
and lovers alike,
from sadness undue and unnecessarily tragic.
I've run passed it in a lunge,
a bold attempt at being wiser, braver...capable.
And I've run from the past, most diligently...
shoved it behind a lead door locked with a gold-gilded key. 
And from this I race in an unforgivable rush.

I've run while I spoke the truth
and I've run while I lied.
I've run in reckless energy for life and
I've run while I died...

...little deaths,
that shed from my back like the snake's unwanted sheath.
...little deaths,
big weights that learn how to latch on with a lamprey's clasp.

I've released these burdens in drops that scatter behind me like the sangre from a slivered wrist,
reaching the ground in resounding explosions,
miniature while reverberating my heart's own cry.

He asked if I was a runner
while thigh high in the wet envelope of an early morning black Pacific.
And I, with pupils wide and heart exposed, replied to him from the antiquity of the answer,
"I am".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The Universe Wears Boxing Mitts

In March of this year I decided to time get out of San Francisco for an extended period of time, see the world, speak some Spanish, eat different food...generally just push myself out of the comfort zone in which I had nested, ultra comfortably I must say, for a couple years. Easier said than done.

Why is it that once you make a decision such as this one, to leave the country for months per se, the universe suddenly gets rowdy and wants to challenge you? As if suddenly it's annoyingly omnipresent ears hear your declaration, while its ubiquitous hands don boxing mitts and swing wildly in your direction? In the past I've failed to understand the beautiful irony of this phenomenon. But, through the years, as I have been accumulating various opportunities to acquire knowledge, a.k.a growing up, I have come closer to comprehending the tricky nature of this finicky universe, why it tosses these challenges at us and why at times this macrocosm taunts us seemingly out of nowhere. How astute it can be in it's timing, though.

The hardest part of traveling is not the traveling. It's the pre-traveling. And interestingly enough, this pre-traveling phase can be broken down into four distinct parts:
1. The "Piquing of Interest Period"
2. The "Committing to the Travel Period"
3. The "Buying of the Ticket Period"
4. The "Getting It All Together In Time Before You Leave Period"

First, there is the "Piquing of Interest Period". In this phase we are introduced to the possibility of a new place. Maybe we come across it in a magazine- something glossy, something exotic. Or perhaps a friend returns from this new place, bronzed and beaming from their own adventure. We ponder going there, though not seriously yet. But it exists in our fantasies...impregnating our minds in the dark corners of our daydreams, still hidden by cobwebs and tucked away in creaky cupboards.  If we are of a certain breed of human, as the weeks pass and we still have not surrendered to merely the possibility of this adventure, our smiles wan as we weakly watch the vision of this trip dissolving. And these particular humans of this noteworthy breed, they become anxious and aggravated that their self-imposed limitations are trapping them into this world without thrill, without risk! So droll is this period of time! So frustrating it can be. 

So, we arrive to the next part, the "Committing to the Travel Period". Maybe we don't announce our decision to others. It may be that we find ourselves not willing to share our decision in hopes of not being discouraged.  For as many people as there are that will congratulate and encourage you, just as many will attempt to scare you, chiding and warning of the infinite dangers and endless Boogiemen the globe over. Nonetheless, this second period, the most glorious of them all, enlivens you and shakes your foundation; from here you will most likely not be convinced to cancel your trip. After mulling over the possibility for weeks, months- hell, maybe even years- you will not be thwarted of your inherent right of seeing, tasting...and feeling...and knowing the world! First we make the agreement privately, and then it may become a topic of discussion amongst friends and family. From there we can be sure that Mom and Dad, Best Friend and Sibling, Professor and Boss will all want to know two things: When are You Leaving and Have You Bought Your Ticket Yet? (Okay, maybe a couple other things like: Is It Safe? Do You Have Enough Money? How Long Are You Planning On Being There And Why? And depending on where you're choosing to go: Are You Crazy?)

Part three doesn't approach with sugary kisses. Unless you are rolling in dough, it probably doesn't present itself with the mildness of an easy decision such as noodles or rice for dinner. In fact, it can be a major obstacle in this whole process, and more often than not, it takes Work. And Money. Sometimes a lot of both. The "Buying of the Ticket Period" has the potential to not only be intimidating, but painful as we instantly watch our healthy bank account shrink five sizes in two and half minutes once we hit "Confirm".  Whether we choose plane, train, or bus we will ultimately be looking forward to expenses which can amount to more than those of our ordinary lives. Potentially causing us to stress, this is the unavoidable aspect, one of them at least, of travel, and it shapes the itinerary of our trip in immeasurable ways. It's perfectly natural to stall in completing this phase, for the daunting number of transit possibilities is exponentially increasing and that only adds to our apprehension to spend our dinero on a ticket when there is possibility a better deal out there, something cheaper, something quicker, something with an instant refund or courtesy frequent flyer miles with a student discount, or monthly specials and annual club memberships that knock off 15 percent for your first purchase...
Of course we want to wait. Who wouldn't?
Regardless, even if capricious by nature, or made indecisive by the hordes of options swarming under the guise of "helpful" suggestions by Google, we must ultimately make a decision and command our overworked fingertips made sticky by sweat to just click the button. We must breathe, center, focus and buy the stupid ticket already. People will admire our resolution.
In this phase we may feel that we have triumphed over those who try to rob our dreams. Just by choosing a route, a date, and parting with that money we have succeeded over those who suggest seductive reasons of staying put in lieu of exploring. We scream, "No! I will not be tethered to this paradigm. There are other options!" Though shaking appendages may make it more difficult, by pressing that button, we have already won a little war.

Fantasy turned into reality? Not quite yet. Well, you've completed three crucial steps already and now here you are, possessing a ticket to somewhere special, possibly a plan as to what to do while there, and most imminent a lengthy, drawn-out, spiraling, forever-growing list of things to do before actually getting there. And of course this list is continually altered with addendums of the highest importance. In fact, the list will never be completed, and the chance that you will proceed to board your ticketed vessel on that divinely chosen day not having checked off each and every task is so great that I can say in unwavering confidence that it will happen. So, don't sweat it.  Maybe this wouldn't be so if life could just slow its pace down now that you've graduated from dreamer to actualizer, but it doesn't. And that ultra-busy, hyper stressful day that you may already weave in and out through will only increase its load once your ticket is purchased, for that departure date is always approaching, even while you sleep. When your day-to-day life not only adheres to basic survival but has taken on extra things necessary for upcoming travel such as passports, gear, books, research, and immunizations, it can get hectic. It can leave no room for tasks like urgent assignments for work or school. In order to leave on that date you so boldly chose, you've got to handle some business, and that also means that your bandwidth for dramatic distractions such as significant social interactions and romance is narrow.  Even exercise can seem to be impossible in this period. It can begin to feel as if the universe, with its exhausting preemptive attempts, wants to wear you out before you even step on that plane, train, or bus. 

This is where things get juicy. This period is where one gleams with the truest essence of their character. If you can realize the challenges in these tests for what they are, and not buckle under their exceptional pressure, you will be rewarded with the shiniest of prizes. Not only will you make it to that special place audaciously chosen and paid for, but you will have gained the knowledge that you can do it, whenever you want, no matter what obstacles arise.  And in this final period of "Pre-Traveling" it is indubitable that countless roadblocks will materialize. Take my situation, for example, when only two weeks after purchasing my ticket to Central America I was laid off in a side-swiping surprise that left me not only unemployed, but in the midst of University midterms, with two and a half months yet until my departure, very cozy in a not cheap apartment and burdened with bills.  
So, the universe wanted to box.

Sure, I had to hustle to make it through, painstakingly saving money and taking on side jobs that I didn't have the time for. And sure, I questioned whether visiting my southwestern family and friends for two weeks then leaving the country for three months was the best plan, now that I would be traveling with considerably lighter pockets.  But, I thought, at least it will add that much more spring to my step, and who needs all that weight anyway? And through the puzzling manners of this same universe that chose to crinkle my previously unwrinkled plan, I made it through those two and a half months, with money to spare and mi alma that much richer.

On June 4th I boarded a plane, face stained with tears for reasons that lose significance if truncated in explanation. Another story must be told for that.
I had completed the "Pre-Traveling Period" and was eager to drop the "Pre".  Empowered by each of the four periods, I could no longer allow my dreams of traveling to evaporate into the ether of "Maybe".  The flammable qualities of these dreams are enough to explode if not cultivated into reality, and once I stepped onto that plane headed south I understood this fully.  Every cell and every fiber that threaded through mi cuerpo was altered, not to be the same. No matter how many unreasonable phases I had to transition through, I knew then that I could do it. And I thought to myself,  "All travelers must have this moment. This Singularity when all rational and reliable predictions of the future are impossible, though completely natural, and feel right.

Let It Flow

I am steeped in the remembrance of your affection.
The memories are flooding my cup
and spilling over the rim in quick, steamy droplets…
thick with an opaque heartache that bonds instantly to the table’s top

My knees jerk
and the liquid jets through small holes in my soul…
mirroring the loquacious conversation that loops in my mind.
The one that reflects your image in holographic torment.

Your haunting is unlike a phantom’s
yet it’s phantasmorgical images dance in the colors of a kaleidoscope.
A continual repetition of thoughts
and possibilities
taunt me without end.

You speak to me in a buzz,
a Morse Code unique to us,
and visit me in dreams…
a few minutes of deliverance;
a modest recess from the separation that grows daily between our bodies.

I cling,
then push away.
I fight and bleed for the risk,
then scamper off in harsh reprisal of my own self…
of my own naïveté and unsophisticated attitude towards the viscosity of our situation.

For I fear.
I possess fear.
You are dear.
You possess me.

And no matter what words you speak that saunter to my eardrums
like mellifluous lyrics of a song too familiar.
Or what flashes of fondness strike swiftly through me.
Regardless of your smile so warm with the drifting colors of sunset…
or the buds of red roses finding bloom in my chest.
No matter what chemistry develops in the belly of a bubble
or sparkle of starlight that I understand in your eyes…

I must persist
with this route
and lay down the asphalt…over these rhapsodic wounds.
Even if tiny segments…seemingly crumbled upon assembly,
they remain elements of healing.
And agents of accuracy.

I cannot imbibe this potation
any quicker than it is intended to be.
If I try, I will fail
to absorb its remedial qualities.

I would exhaust my already weak resolve…or
drown it in the complexity of this cocktail.
My laboring energy would reach its noxious nadir
while the pound of my heart’s chamber would quietly strum to its death.
Overcome and disillusioned
I would be solitary yet, even with you alongside.

For we have yet to reach our zeniths
in individualized expressions.

(Written Halloween 2011)

Heaving Lifting

Women are usually to blame…
For having nothing to do
With men’s excuses

Women take on the red-blooded burden
Like an extra layer of clothing
Like a shawl of blue silk
Wrapped loosely about soft curves

Women understand the complexities of the man’s woes
Those he has no idea he possesses
Those he has no idea how to manage
The ones the feminine can sweep into her chest with a swift flutter of wrists
And bury under her folds of pliable skin

With flower of calendula she can heal those burns the man makes
The fires set across his life while in tumultuous relations

She can iron out the doubled over swatches, the gathers of his troubles
That seemingly accumulate from non-of-his-doing
That consistently manifest
From somebody else’s hand

The woman’s eye is unparalleled in its vigilant efforts
With intentions to protect
Those men she loves most excellently

She can’t ever fail them
Nor could she consider leaving
For her devotion and allegiance compose the characteristics of what man has fallen for

Of what man devotes his mind and physical self to
Of what man evolves to understand
Is rare
And valuable