Selected Poetry

nine bodies
and an historic church
a friend asks
about the
flag and the ban
a parade of
off duty trucks
pass me tonight
red flags waving
double time.

time marches on
waving seas of grain
tonight I can write the saddest lines
trucks full
of mice and men
ban this heart
the question
asked and answered
church and state and
bodies still.

on this day, grant us
grain enough and time enough to fill these
lines, a prayer of
full silence and only love for the
men and their flags of cheap fabric and this
heart, out from it let grow trees like breath and let no more bodies fall,
question instead our varied stories, unravel the fabric and trace backwards the thread,
answer with the forgiveness of nine families for a nation of the broken
and let us dismantle not just the battle cotton, but the long-dead reasons for its crafting,
still the shadowed ghosts of the fire-eaters and let us greet the day as a healing nation.

at sixteen I walked in a river
to give god a chance.

the night before I’d gone to prom
with a boy cajoled into accompanying me,

there are many stories there. at thirty
he and I became lovers, but at sixteen

I tore my vintage dress, found for $52 in the backroom
of a thrift store, on the edge of his blue car, some sort

of a classic. that car would later turn
mangled, a combination of too fast alcohol and

night roads. last night I found the photograph,
tuxedo on a country boy with his arms politely around

a riverless girl bound in tinsel and crepe de chine. it wasn’t
until the spanish-speaking mountains that I found god living in my bones.

somewhere in memory
there are fireflies
and a broken glass jar.

enter the house: desert ode
enter the house
painted across the horizon
already I feel the longing
to guide along
with frozen breath
shaman robe
and well-sharpened teeth

dusty footprints now
desert skin where once
flesh knew rivers

hands of copal memory,
little sisters and masa
hold instead
empty plastic
2-liters of dust

to guide along
my feet
my mother’s dead body
to guide along
my sisters, and grandfathers,
father, holding grandmother’s hand

coyote said Venga
follow me, Chiquita
mythic landscape
now oily smear
horizon brushes fingertips
so close
to taste
to lick the greasy fingertips of
Mickey D
sting of ammonia in nostrils
now that’s the Dream
and god bless
if she had made it
god bless
the rest, though—
now that’s history

the silent margins
her footsteps occupy
her space
the space where she was
a shadow

enter the house
mountains have moved
these are dry deserts
a changed skin
enter the house
in the third country
the country that exiled you
the country you went for

enter the house
of my hands
my dead mother’s body

a dried out body
found by others
pushed past borders
arbitrary lines on a map
in the sand
between the words of
just another economic plan

journeying soldiers
follow the season
tomato harvest
to strawberries
to another dream
visions of indentured servitude

call it capitalism
call it progress
call it western hegemonic discourse
enter the house enter
all hail the conquering heroes
in the land of plenty
plenty of stolen merchandise
genetically modified corn
floods the market
subsidized frijol for farmers
who can’t afford to grow their own
because here we own
the land once known

when you couldn’t buy a plant
I mean Forever,
I mean its genetic code
when you couldn’t own the future
because who can buy a dream,
a hope, a vision?

enter the house enter
heavy climbing wind
dry desert
gnarled outcrops
of my father
old as a thousand hills
and my mother
old as a hundred rivers

and money is an invention
a system we create
because we buy into it
we buy those broken backs
that bridge they call
la frontera
we buy their deaths
for I-pods
the GAP
my lap top
your cell phone
National Security.
these clothes on my back?
Yeah, they killed her, too.

Sweatshops on the border
So we can objectify ourselves
call it identity
call it fashion
call it just another way to stay on top

enter the house
of my hands
the house of forgetfulness
and see a girl
turning her face to the sky

and god bless
that girl-child in the desert
she left home
she got No Where
she died in our arms
as we tried to push her back
back to her homeland
no land
for her
the desert
now home

enter the heart
her heart
her house
the house of my mother’s dead body
enter the house.


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