Tuesday, September 12, 2017


We laughed when we saw the sign: "Be wary of pickpocketers." Ha! In Chicago we've got REAL problems. It was winter. And it was night. But I wanted to show you just one more thing. That hill from that movie you loved. With the winding staircases. They were frozen. So we took the tram up instead. Hurry we're going to miss it. I rushed you through the little town. Taking minutes to scour the tiny galleries along the cobbled streets. Hurry! We climbed. And I'd like to think we held hands as we climbed, although I don't remember. I wanted to show you the view from above as the entire city lit up. The street artists I remembered and the painters- they were gone. The carousel was turned off. And the church was too somber. But we didn't put a coin in the binoculars. It was too dark. Do you remember? I said-- do you know where we are?! But you couldn't recall even the best part- the part of the movie where she meets her beloved. Or tries to. I don't remember, you said. And as you looked across the darkened plain, you did not see what I saw. A city lit up with hope and magic. You didn't see. And when I asked you to take a photo with me you refused. "It's cold out," you said. And you put your hands in your pockets. I wanted to linger, to show you more. But you looked down. It was dark, and it was cold, and you did not remember. Montmartre.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


The birth of our sons is a holy day
It should be set aside, remembered, and observed as such
For, on that day, we communed with God
We glimpsed our power and our purpose, and broke to become whole

I casted my soul into water on the day you were born
And was reincarnated in a new form
The one I had always understood least, antagonized most
And loved best

You are the gorge I willed into being
When I was a river, heaving and expanding with unbridled possibility
It is my blood that flushes your cheeks
It is my milk that hardens your bones

My choices are etched upon you
Like veins on marble
Marking the depth of my fear, the audacity of my dreams
You are my hope of promises kept

May you surpass me
In the reach of your perseverance
And the tenacity of your faith
And when you fall, may you rise again

Foreign Exchange

The coordinates of our affair are clustered in a three mile radius from this very point.
Stolen kisses on elevators, during short trips between offices
An exchange of confidential memos with tracked changes
Rendered invisible on command.
No one saw when you pushed me against skyscrapers in crowded streets
And buried my protests between your lips.
I felt Barcelona in the contrast of our skin tones.
The way your esteem rose with every passerby, while mine sank.
We turned public spaces into hiding places, as if the sound of a fountain,
As if the bitter autumn wind could blanket us, like night, a wall, a bed.
Aggravated by the casual come ons of other hungry men, you said "tell them you are mine"
And I would have, if it had not been a lie.
We spoke of belonging the way we spoke of leaving, like we needed more.
More than this love, than this yearning. More than this moment in time.
We merged into each other urgently, deliberately, the way one walks off a plane and into customs
With all our essentials on our backs.
But the wait. Oh, the wait.
I'll remember that instant when I stood at the border hopeful but exhausted, turned over my passport, and searched your eyes nervously for permission to cross it.
Maybe it was my hesitation and not yours, that made me turn back and keep walking.
But somehow, I couldn't cross it, wouldn't. Never did.
Everything we shared perished, left no traces.
It was the contract we adhered to, yet never signed.
You slept through the storms that kept me awake, in a home I would never set foot in,
Embracing a woman I'd never replace.

Friday, December 30, 2016

In Auspicious Times

Tonight is new year’s eve
And I’ve been counting down since I met you
Since you kissed me in the elevator
And breathed new life to me
And said you had a girlfriend that you would never leave

When they ask how I will live without you, I say “easily”
You were a gift from God
A mirage to get me through the desert
But my soul is no longer dry
My spirit no longer broken

Yesterday, when I awoke
My face was streaked with tears
I must have dreamed that you were real
That you could actually stay
But you chose not to

When you said you loved me
I did not say it back
I was too busy trying to memorize the weight of your arm around my waist
The rhythm of your heart against my ear
For the next time I need an amulet

I peeled myself from your embrace
Gently, but deliberately
The way you pull a bandaid from a child’s skinned knee
And I smiled
Because it happened
Because it’s over
Because I no longer have to bear the weight of your betrayal
Or the risk of your seed

My pendeja card expires
This new year’s eve.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


I have loved you
With the promise of sunrise
And the patience of spring
And it has not been enough
It has not been enough

Monday, November 14, 2016

In spite of orders not to ask, and not to tell

Thank you for your service
And by service I mean Sacrifice
And by sacrifice I mean Innocence
Thank you for sacrificing your innocence
For believing in something more than yourself, more than your hopes, more than your dreams
Thank you for believing in something so blindly, so completely
That you were willing to give your own life should it be asked 
If only for a piece of blue cloth with a bunch of stars on it
Thank you for believing, for falling in love
For proving that you -a young black man- are capable of love
When the world insists you are only capable of violence and poverty and depravity
Thank you for falling.. in love

When you fell they tell me your eyes were open and your fists were clenched
Courageously grasping the cold metal of a trigger
That weapon you thought would sound and make you whole actually tore you apart
You died a hero among strangers but you died a hero
Never mind that you came back a ghost 
A ghost with a cardboard sign sitting on a street corner saying
"I gave you liberty, can you give me a dime"
"I spared your life, can you spare some change"
"I saved your country, can I have warm place to lay my head tonight"

You came back a ghost but you came back
And the gasp of a bottle freshly opened is the only memory you have of your comrades' laughter, 
The ones who faded forever into foreign dust
The dull flame of a cigarette butt is the only memory you have of the headlights on that rescue van 
That dragged you home, that brought you back, 
Those lights you now wish you could crush and extinguish on the cold concrete you sleep on
Thank you for forgetting the rest, for forfeiting your peace of mind, a piece of your mind, 
So that civilians might chase money freely, oblivious to the indiscriminate carnage that is war, 
As we avert our gaze and walk briskly, our heels spraying sewage on the painstakingly written message 
You put on cardboard