The Pretty Blue Bows

Every now and then
I miss the lull
and low buzzing of a good high.
Wow!
What a thrill after you
plug it into your arm.
Liquid lightening climbing
through the empty spaces of
yourself.

All those spaces that mommy
dearest left deserted
void, cut up
like coupons in the garbage.
And father wasn’t much
help at all
taking it away himself
with a heavy load.

That incipient surge
that belts out,
all the while
making the eyes tumble
backwards,
staring off into
the tiny cranial stars
making up
tiny cranial constellations.

Of course I couldn’t
slip the steel into my
own arm at first.
He would tie such beautiful
tourniquets
that would make girl scouts
wet themselves.

Pretty rubber blue bows.

I was kneeling on the
bathroom floor,
bending over like a virgin.
Spreading my legs out
and panting out loud.
I couldn’t tie a pretty blue bow
but a decent one I did.
Minutes carried on and
I heard the child within myself
scream
before I got the guts
to inject it.

I guess it does make me
feel a little bit sad now.

Anyhow,
my hands were wet and
slippery.
I didn’t know what the fuck
I was doing
but knew what would happen
if I wasn’t doing it.
In it went and off I went
into this land where I
drool on the outside
but blissfully float internally.

Anyone that tells you that
drugs aren’t worth it
has never ridden the heroin dragon
over snowy peaks of china white.
And how lovely you become,
about thirty pounds lighter
than August,
eyes about five shades darker,
lips beautifully cracked, bleeding,
unkissable.

I am the Reverend
of my own ritual.
Delivering the wine into
my thirsty throat,
but the bread never comes.
I just kneel at the pew
and worship.
Prayer makes to forget .
Prayer is better than sleep.
The more saturated I become
the cleaner I become.

It takes away the sin.

I forget how I’ve been
torn apart limb by limb.
I forget the men that came by
the apartment to see me hazy-eyed,
panty-less
propped up in a cheerleader’s
costume.
I forget how he said to smile
and they exchanged money.
above the bed.

Here I go… nodding off.
Prayer is better than…

I forget how old he was
when he sat me on his lap and
pulled my hair back,
pushing into my prepubescence.
I forget how they all denied it
when I came crawling
out for help,
still raw.

Sometimes when I’m praying
I begin to feel that
I am more beautiful
when I am soggy with poison
and bruised from a grip
and broken into.
Kissable.

But then I begin to remember
when all of the fairy dust wears off.

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Ballerina

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I am the ballerina
in the music box
bending and twirling.
when you need me,
twist the spindle.
I’ll dance.
Pretty pink shoes
revolving counter-clockwise,
the same way every day and every night.
When you’re done, close the lid
and I will tuck myself quietly
beneath my own body,
folded up neatly where I belong.
Tucked away in my own
felted cave
alone with the rings, the copper
and silver metals.
I am quiet and undisruptive.
I will keep myself contained.
Hidden I stay
in the little juke,
always tired,
always wearing thin.
Until you lift the lid.
Happy I am, again.

Trapeze

the Jupiter rings
beneath my eyelids
have hung themselves to spin
on hoops of speed.

it is a ceremony and every
night I wear my sacerdotal nightgown.
I am catching chalky loaves in my mouth,
and I am waiting for a ghost.

a drooling, steel baby, it is I-
coughing up bits of organs,
plushy, fat blue bulbs of Wednesday,
expelling my mother’s Tuesday.

a little bit of heat will do the trick.
a stick or two- three pumps
and the blood is baptized,
boiling blessings, blossom-bruises.

I, nestled on my glass trapeze,
am playing movies in my eyes,
licking my fingers and pulling up
pages of a magazine.

you are listening to the priests inside
of my stomach-
do they speak God?
does he speak English back?

out into the air I make words,
sounding out like beaten horses.
I let the floor catch my phrases,
I let the sheets decide to hold my weight.

when I turn
onto my pink heels,
I won’t look back to see the
wine I’ve spilled.

I am the hebrew crown
and they are the sutured tourists.

Thick and Happy

I peel the perfume sampler from the magazine.
it’s a name I’ve never heard of,
another Italian who-ever-the-fuck creating
scents to attract the opposite sex.
scents like “Midnight Princess” and
“Dynamite.”
the girl on the cover looks like
some chick I went to college with-
all thick and happy looking.
I think her name was Lauren?
what was my name?
back then I used to paint
and I’d pass in my assignments with
hidden cocks etched into landscapes.
I’m sitting here on the bathroom floor
identifying women’s shoes as they
walk in and out.
Pseudo-Lauren smiles back at me
in her bright Chanel lipstick.
this is where I am.
Pseudo-Lauren gets a salty-teared
facial, dripping down her glossy dress.
this is where I am-
rubbing Italian sampler perfume
on my wrists
so I can pretend that I’m just
as valuable as the thick and happy model.

Withdrawal

convulsing and eyes
peeling back on their own.
lips parting exposing white houses
biting at themselves, jawbreakers.
glasses of blood and spit evacuating from the
throat. noises like an angry frog
bubbling from the bell-tower.
one bottle too many.
three pills too many.
sizzling sockets
fevers breaking pencils,
breaking bones and clipboards.
blue tethers tying wrists down-
a preacher exorcising Lucifer from
an atheist schoolgirl.
there are pockets of sick skin exploding
and cries that don’t bellow from infants.
halos are tipping off from the heads
of angels, tumbling like dimes on to
the silver trays.

Welcome Home

On Friday night
I stood 1 inch taller than you in my
stappy heels, in my coral red dress.
The glowing Jesus Lives sign beamed
just below our feet as we gazed over
the buildings, the pulsing lights in the hills.
We stumbled our way to a gay club-
the one with the candy music.
What was his name? Antonio?
Glasses clinking, feet pacing,
we giggled over pets and slaves.
You brushed your hair back
and your shampoo smelled like home.
Exhausted, we left in a black car all the way home.
You fell asleep on the sofa,
but I woke up next to you somehow.

On Saturday
we woke up only to kiss, to eat,
and to satiate the hunger between our legs.
I ventured off to the corner market for
headache medicine and sparkling water.
When I came back, you perched your
body on the bed, crinkled your nose and
dimpled your cheeks.
The medicine worked and you felt better.
I couldn’t help but fall asleep next to you
one more time, even though it was
100 degrees outside.
Around 6 pm we finally stirred from
our lazy daze to brush make up on our faces.
I wore pink eye shadow for once.
You were quiet and pensive,
tangled in nerves about meeting my big brother.
I couldn’t help but smile.
Somewhere within the next two hours
we found ourselves in a warm backyard
with a live band at a retirement party.
I’ve always loved how you got along
with my family.
My brother loved you, despite the mania.
You drove me to a night club
and you looked stunning.
We spent the night spinning and stepping
to the kind of music that always brings
me back to you.
I would be perfectly happy watching you dance
for the rest of my life.

On Sunday
we struggled to peel our eyes open.
I must have kissed you one thousand times.
The sun followed us to Hollywood
to a small remodeled home where they served
us fresh banana bread and coffee.
You wanted me to feel that I was
having breakfast in a home because
it was Father’s Day.
I didn’t want to cry in front of you-
but it was just like my childhood dreams.
(thank you)
We didn’t want to go back home, so
we decided to visit a museum of death.
I held your hand when I felt scared
and I wondered how you were so composed.
I admired the look on your face
when we came upon the medical equipment.
Even the smallest splashes of passion
that explode on your face bring me joy.
We had nearly forgotten that we had
advertised for pets and slaves, so
we spent another few hours thumbing through
nonsensical replies, pictures of men in heels,
and video made just for us.
We laughed and hollered in amusement.
A warm, glittery bathtub called out to us.
We slipped in like mermaids.
At the end, our cheeks were sore
from smiling so much.
You wanted to watch a movie,
I wanted to kiss you in the dark in rows of seats
like two teenagers in love.
So we went and wept like children
at the end of the film.
Finally, you pulled up to my driveway to say goodnight.
This felt like old times.
This felt right.
This felt like something my heart had been
missing for a long, long time.
And as we pressed our lips goodnight,
I could finally breathe again.
You were back home.

A Puzzle Piece Poem- What does my DID mean?

You look at me and see
One whole piece
But what you don’t understand yet
Is you’re looking at me: 3, 5 and 13

Welcome to DID.

D is for dissociative.

For most, It’s when you finish the chapter to the new book and have to go back and look, to reread it because you weren’t paying any attention in the first place.

For most, It’s the moment you catch yourself behind the wheel of your car and you have no clue how you got so far

For some, It’s the moment you fall and skin your knee and tears start pushing out from your eyes until you realize. you feel alright, even though youve stopped feeling altogether

For me, It’s the moment when I had to find a hiding place in the bathroom, angry voices tangoing back and forth in hot and unforgiving Spanish, it’s me at 5 looking down at my wet dress from the plummeting sadness begging for my dad to come home to save me from the sounds of an alcoholic monster. Only to look up and find her- my first friend. The southern belle with the little pink bows. My best friend who no one else can see – this is DID.

It’s the moment my new best friend told me “honey everything is okay.” And then I stopped feeling that day because she started to feel for me.

It’s the moment when he walks into
The room and i know he’s coming for me
Yet all I can do
Is pretend to be asleep as he peels
Off the sheets and splits my little
Legs open like his Christmas doll.

It’s the lull of the eyes
When a hand flies to meet my
6 year old cheeks because my bedtime was at 8.

It’s the rate of my heart beat
When i hear my father has died
On the streets of LA
Probably with a heroin needle in his arm, anyways …

This is DID.

I is for identity.
That’s easy enough… But…Who is me?

Identity is the funny little cloud that has been following me around, shifting, twisting, sometimes white, on Sunday’s black, lightning licking out of me with anger and confusion.

It’s the constant trust issue because i never know if it’s going to rain, or snow, or be bright.

It’s the moments I wake up in someone else’s clothing in the middle of the night.

It’s the reason why I’ve been a Catholic, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, and a slew of other worshipping devotees.

It’s the reason why I come to and find coloring books scattered around me like a beloved book fair.

It’s my hair how’s it been red and black and purple and shaved.

It’s how I have ten different names

This is DID.

D is for disorder.

It is the carousal of diagnoses, medication, clip boards and hospital gowns.

It’s being on lock down after I tried to end my fragmented life.

It’s groggy mornings when my eyes won’t open from my slurry Seroquel state.

It’s seeing shadows and voices and feeling men’s hands running down my thighs in the middle of a flashback.

It’s checking into rehab, withdrawing from pills.

It’s the thrill of going to group therapy and trying to explain that THIS shit is DID.

My DID.

My DID is a novel of childhood, trauma, rape, incest, brainwashing, addiction, suicide attempts, lost relationships, lost money, lost time, lost me, my selves and I.

If you must know, no it’s not all bad.

My DID is an intelligent narrative of poetry, calculus classes, a published book, a theatre admission to Juilliard, it’s the reason why part of me can drum and the other part can’t use chopsticks.

It’s tucking myself in at night with stuffed animals and sippy cups. It’s wearing cowgirl boots on Monday and a combat boots on Tuesday.

It’s always having someone to talk to.

It’s being the most colorful crayon in the box and knowing even if I’m broken, I can still color the entire rainbow.

You look at me and see
One whole piece
what you might understand now
Is you’re not only looking at me: we are system of multiplicity.

This is DID.

The Thief

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Alzheimer’s stole my grandfather.

It started like any thief starts…
with something simple,
like his short term memory when he
couldn’t remember if he had left the sprinklers on
and the water began to flood down the street.

Then, the disease became bolder, more audacious,
amused by its own impervious power.
It began robbing days, weeks, months,
even the years he spent in Spain with my grandmother.

It stole things I never even knew we’d notice.
Before my grandfather could even ask
what was going to happen to his mind,
he forgot how to
dance to salsa music;
sing like Frank Sinatra;
drive me to school;
turn on the stove;
change the TV channel;
write letters;
read the Father’s Day cards I made him;
answer the telephone;
put a tie on.

I watched as my family had to reintroduce themselves
every time they walked into the living room.

Then, the day came where I had to tell him who I was, too.

He used to call me his princess, his pet, his puppy.

Alzheimer’s stole 80 pounds from my grandfather
when he forgot how to eat.
My once big and strong hero
now stood at 5’4 and weighed 88 pounds.
I recalled how he would swing me from his muscles
when I was just a little girl.

It didn’t stop there.

Alzheimer’s stole the light in his eyes, the very same
that had been my lighthouse, my torch.
What was left in his gaunt body
was a hollow resemblance of my Tata.

This once-stubborn, hard-fisted and intimidating man
had become a helpless child, clutching
at my grandmother’s apron, crying in breathless confusion.

The last conversation I had with him
was by his deathbed. It was a Sunday evening.
I held his hand in mine and told him that I loved him.
I told him I forgave him for the parts of my
childhood for which he could no longer apologize for
because he had forgotten how to speak altogether.

And while I confessed my own regrets,
and reminded him one last time of how much I
loved him as my father, as my grandfather, and
as my protector,

Alzheimer’s stole his life.

 

 

Hasta la vista,  te amo mucho, siempre, siempre.

The Gun.

We know the trigger. We know it well.
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
She sticks out her tongue, thirsty and writhing
from the scepter, the life-giving gun.

Thrusting, polishing the tool with her mouth.
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
When he’s done, she’ll be painted in glory come.
Twist the head, the bone-aching gun.

Hold her hair back, wet with spit (whose?)
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
Slam into her soft, small throat,
head against the wall, the scream-muting gun.

The same blood courses through her.
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
Bookends to a home ends at the
bell basin, the pearl-spilling gun.

Thumb on the violaceous mark.
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
“Sweetheart, where are your eyes staring?”
At the swollen childhood, the lip-splitting gun.

“Say ahhh… tongue out proud.”
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
A mercury nun collects the words.
She is born, Jude, beneath the still-growing gun.

The crucifix pendulum hangs around his neck.
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
Pray to her father, his father, their father.
The rosary breaks, the half-holy gun.

Hold onto her jaw, two hands at a time.
The gun, the gun, run the gun.
Here it comes, here it comes, “tongue out proud.”
Bathed in white beauty, the swallowed-down gun.

We know the trigger. We know it well.
The gun, the gun, get the gun.
“Say ahhh…. tongue out proud.”
Open mouthed, pull the trigger, the brain-blasting gun.

Twelve -another rape poem

it was the first time of twelve.
the clock’s hand slammed and hammered in
the pulse of his desperate, soused breath.
my blooming plum wept.
they had left the house that day.
December’s paternal comfort was long lost
in the convoluted patterns of wetness,
that which flowed from my mouth-
drooling foolishly at the thought of concern.
sudoral beads bubbled to the tops of
his shoulders, his brow.
this was unfamiliar to me, the ways in which
his eyes looked past me, now.
no longer was I his little gem.
(Oh, the eyes, I will never forget the
infliction- that which infected my matrix.)
now, four months before I knew menstruation,
I bled from the sceptre.
I glared at the back of my skull,
fixing my stare on anything but his big, bright grin.
behind me, my hands flew upward in
a futile attempt to crush his throat.
my face met fire when his hand came down.
minute explosions of starry embers filled
the room. Black, black, black.
my sad, white sheets were destroyed with crimson.
the plum wilted with guilt, lulling with uncertainty.
(should I not have poured out to him?
should I have screamed out?)
soon the palliative tears welled in his eyes.
I, the child of forgiveness, welcomed the man
into my arms, into my chest with budding breasts.
did I not please him?
did I not soothe him?
did I not stay still enough?
did I not say thank you?
he purred into me, onto the floor
and promised one day I would hate him
-for this moment.
my little panties clutched in his left hand.
how could I hate him like this?
so pathetic and woeful.
I licked the lithophanic pearls from his cheeks.
my innocence and bewilderment of the world,
were engulfed in his lust, his sickness.
they live there now in the dark corners
of my childhood bedroom.
they are captured within the stitching of my baby quilt.
they are dying in his brain, the ever-relenting memory
of the virgin blood on his hands.
daughter of abandonment.
daughter of abuse.
daughter of Michael.