Search This Blog


este lecho zozobra

a veces esta cama es una isla remota
un escollo apenas visible por entre
la marea de algodón y plumas de ganso

todavía conserva las marcas de otra presencia
otro cuerpo que zozobra entre las almohadas
en el preciso instante en que nos separaron
los resentimientos a flor de anoche

cada vez que amanece juro
por lo más profano
que no guardo nada de ti

solo el triste naufragio
de lo que no te atreviste a decir


a short story about the end of his story

Things are different now. Everything is, really, when it comes down to it. They are behind all these changes. Not in any perceptible nor quantifiable way, no, it is all much more subtle. Memories were the first telltale signs; Deyvid and I no longer shared many of our lifelong memories, after all, we'd known each other our entire lives. Certain childhood transgressions became debatable, questionable even, in his opinion. Apparently, he hadn't participated in the many voyeuristic expeditions that marked the onset of our teenage years. They had revolved around three particular houses; the homes of the two best looking girls on our street and that of the retired armed forces bigshot, always dark and full of boxes crammed with government documents. Apparently I had done so on my own, even though I have the distinct recollection of Deyvid pointing out the crazy veteran's house, one street over. I'd always preferred creeping around the girls' abodes.

If it had all been about misplaced memories, perhaps I'd have never thought twice about any of it. But then the disappearances begun. At first, they were explained away with the typical crap: so and so joined the Navy, the weird family behind Deyvid's house relocated stateside, a series of unfortunate car crashes had culled most family members five houses down, and so forth. After that, the mosquitoes took most of the blame; dengue and a handful of exotic tropical diseases spread throughout the island, causing amnesia and altering people's behaviors. The papers rarely delve into any of it, favoring instead the usual police blotter and violent ghetto stories. I seemed to be the only one noticing the steady decline in population, but as soon as I brought it up in conversation, even my closest friends like Deyvid made fun of my 'paranoid' delusions.

Then the acne onslaught. All around me, including Deyvid, whose darker complexion had seemed to spare him the worst in years past. I was alone at home one night - folks were at someone's wedding or something - and this big old blackhead was really itching and making me miserable. Deyvid was supposed to stop by to pick me up to go to his friend's evening pool party. There weren't that many pools in the neighborhood and everybody was expected to attend. So I did the only thing I could do, I tried to pop it.

I guess trying is the wrong word, since I was successful. It was much easier than I expected and once I had the blackhead on the tip of my finger, the itching completely stopped. Then it started moving, the blackhead. Obviously I was dumbfounded, frozen right where I stood in shock. It seemed groggy or something, at first, because it then spread its unbelievably tiny wings and took off. It flew like a hummingbird, hovering and executing precise movements. It hovered for a second before my eyes - was it clocking me?

And then there were two. Then three. All of them clocking me?!? I could feel how they were trying to tell me something. But maybe it was not me they meant to communicate with. Another spot on my face began to itch. And one on my arm too, which looked like a mosquito bite.

It's not the first time it happens, I'm sure, though I have no real recollection of it happening before. I just know it. I'm tired of finding myself staring into the mirror and forgetting what I was doing right before.

That's why I've begun writing about it. This time, though, I'm not losing the notebook.



sounds like a nombre, quizás por eso
es que i followed your lead
es un gut reaction - un reflex
a better way to succumb sin pensarlo
and again, la cuestión del pozo
(entre los pájaros y la flecha)
we drink local
porque no hay otra
y lo más seguro es Yess


Stahl Ihr Gesicht ()steel your face()

it was during fall, of course
amidst the swirling colors
of days toppling one over the other
the connecting blocks of the most
logical of puzzles like arms
around each other held firmly

not too tight, plenty
of breathing room
plenty of your friends
because plenty
was your ongoing supply

can you see yourself
in my words or detect
your smell in my yarns?

the realization you are gone
does little to remove you from
what little is left of this
music library with all your songs

somehow it doesn't surprise me
how soft your steel smile became

i hum and scream and wonder why
we never told each other
the real story of our shared fall

again the colors swirl
and whisper and trace
the fault lines of the bed
that exploded between us

i had no idea you'd leave
me shipwrecked and smiling


memories of these appearances


there is an incredibly strong desire to hope for one
for one would be convenient in the way a name is
yet, more often than not, the name's the first thing to go
or the last to actually matter, and, or perhaps though
definitely but, in some cases, simply a magnificent lie

sometimes it wasn't even memorable, the name

never said or uttered because there was really no need
not even my own, since i was sometimes not even asked
and when i think about it, those were the most intense
secluded moments of all, when our voices finally failed

those times that had nothing to do with words

let alone a name, an unexpected mistake in pronunciation
an odd way of remembering the way your body looked under
the sheets, a thought from elsewhere, a single note heard clearly
but nowhere near the force of impact, of our mutual accident

because sooner or later they all disappeared
without numbers, of course, without even the slightest strip
of paper with letters, numbers, dashes, and flourishes
tucked away in a drawer, a coin pocket, a hidden sleeve


- the first one was twice my age, at least
a foreign accent to boot, but the same tongue
warm as every afternoon on the island
with a handful of witnesses, unwanted
unavoidable and dirty, like the sheets
like i always can't help but remember it

-then there were many names behind her
names like kisses in a darkened playground
but she was pale like a bloated moon
obscured by clouds, younger yet more experienced
always waiting for me in the housekeeper's
quarters by the pool, eyes the color of empty
bottles--it was she who taught me
the language of skin and how to wake up
without letting the dream dry completely out

-an ocean later, i found one of three at the far side
of a city map, but the city was neither hers
nor mine; still, it belonged to us for days on end.
we wrote each other letters back then and it blew us
away to find out we in fact corresponded seamlessly
but again, geography proved too overwhelming

-distance would define her, as in an entire world
between her eyes, her ears, her arms, her legs
the landscape was a table that felt like a stove
where she altered my shape with her hands
and asked me “where to?” with the crack of dawn
i was working as a bus boy at the time
and although she was a regular, never saw her again

-behind the counter though, i dreamed and coveted
her eyes devouring pages and pages and her body
hiding under long skirts like drapes drawn over windows
many years later and, again, as many letters written
i found her in california, i saw her in the flesh
but by then it was much too late for anything more
after all that trouble, a simple hug would just have to do

-it was more a house than anything else
afloat in a sea of rocks, pines, winding roads
with many doors, many places to hide
and they all have different names, different
stories about so many different places they’d been
each one more time for memory’s sake, a form of truce
they all cracked their doors and a couple came out to see me go

-alleyways and clearings in the woods, an occasional
trailer without heat, an abandoned bus among the firs
an impulse to fall together and see how far we’d made it
many years apart, yet periodical relapses into wanting
realizing this is where we will be for the time being
everything reduced to a brief phone call in the night
and the same ending repeating itself all over again, and again


years like wild animals rushing through the woods
a coast unlike any other, something amiss with the air
long blonde hair falling like so many tears of joy
of not knowing when, if ever, it will all unfold once more
within the indoor twilight of a desperate eve, some
ready to go, others, like myself, finally comfortable
in that soft corner between your neck and shoulder
needing nothing more than to see this night through


the wisdom and the crumble

your leadership qualities will shine soon
and there's a candle burning
because there's no power

only fire

and all the bullshit
crumbling elegantly
around a handful of humans

nanobes, neurons
and the big bang in her eyes
were all part of the conversation

but the songs

crackled, hissed
and boomed through the living
room full of traveling, grace



Las palabras llegaron al tercer día
el roce desde mucho antes --
quiero que sepas a quenepa
a manzana, a árbol de navidad.

Pero cuando el sol se esconda,
como suele suceder
y no pare de llover, entonces
es hora de volver
de sentarse
de prevenir que se moje
la madera; el fuego es obligatorio

el fuego no cede
sino crepita

luego, Emilia.
así, con punto final,
porque por más fuego
que tuvieran sus ojos,
el momento de la quemadura
fue fugaz
como suelen ser los fuegos
en los putos cielos

lo peor de todo
es que no me dejó ir,
no me soltó. su voz
compuso el hechizo
del no poder moverme
del no poder zafarme


tal es la dicha del viajero
del caminante
del que simplemente pasa por ahí
y se tropieza con una ilusión primitiva
de un pretérito imperfecto
cautivo por la frescura
de un semblante claro
sereno y final

hoy no podemos entretener al tedio
de la soledad, hoy ya es tarde
para volver a empezar.
el comienzo quedó diluido
por el constante movimiento

si tan solo hubiese una pared
una muralla
un final
un lugar en el cual restrallarme
y descansar sobre el color de sus ojos


i wanted to write you a letter

 it always takes me some time to make up my mind, especially when it comes to language: Español or English? and then, the mind does not end made up, it just happens, seemingly out of my control, like so many other choices that aren't revealed as choices until much, much later

when it is okay to pause, roll another one - these days it's just not feasible to buy them all rolled up and ready to go - and think about the last time i read some of your words, or that other moment, jam packed with Drama and fabulousity, or so you claimed, while wishing me far, far away

back to that moment when it all went south, as if it was ever going any other way at all; the west may sound better and rhyme, but the south is where it all comes to a head and the mess is always better. there were times when i thought it would have to make sense - the motion, the passing, the ongoings going on

the one that got away back for more, the perils of online night visitations, to google or not to google, there must be a video of it somewhere... perchance the darkest web, where i know not how to tread, much like your constant screams and fists raised up to the stars, the moon, the big black nothingness

that always seemed to arrive just in time to soften the edges and hide the ugliness at arm's length away, on a night table, a round table, a periodic table of failed forays into matter, bodies i just can't remember in an empty, darkened house, pinky toes in for the pain

and when it finally dawns on me and i find myself staring out the window, confused by what i always expected to see out there, i know the memory resurfaces now for a reason that i will never be able to pinpoint with any degree of accuracy, let alone find your name where it was written so long ago.



cierro los ojos y empujo el sueño hasta lo más hondo
que conozco de ti, de tu rebelde insistencia
gimes, pero no eres tú, es mi mente
es mi carencia embistiendo contra el alba
con el despertar de tus pechos - néctar de sueño
nata de anhelo - aquí, donde tu molicie
es primero puerta y luego ventana
escenario para una defenestración eufórica


before and after Chi


the oyster was in your hand, the tickets in mine, the wind blew sideways – trying to tell us something? steaming coffee and the desire to go, go, go, the grand ol’ cliché, burning out like something out of the sky, the same sky that turns overcast or becomes a whiteout, depending on where you stand, but always above like some sloppy foreshadowing before we get down to business.

after a while, there weren’t many more left. mostly those who had nowhere to go, really, except for maybe an all-night diner, a bridge somewhere crossing over to elsewhere, leading up to that high lookout point, where it all looks perfect, like it always does from far away in that quiet stillness before it all rushes down into your center. a center you had no idea pulsated at night when you slept and gave out when the sun finally came up.

there were others, of course, as there always are, out and about. the smokers, the shooters, the sniffers, the swiggers, the lookers, the undecided, the puppies that follow you everywhere… they are all there when you wake up, with things sticking out from where they shouldn’t, from where they were supposed to remain hidden, out of sight. next thing you know gravity has been lording over us all for some time now, pulling us down, further down, where we never know what we’ll run into. It doesn’t matter how low we go, there always seems to be lower still to go. but naturally, at that point, the crowd has thinned out completely. then it’s only you, looking up at nothing you can actually grasp or understand. and that’s when you realize you’ve run out of cigarettes.


everything has a certain crisp to its edges, a brightness that must come from somewhere. after so many dreams, so many visions, and so many dives into our own ocean of unfathomable depths, well, there’s a light, isn’t it there? all bright and shit, as if morning took everyone by surprise. the beer’s too warm, the coffee’s cold – not nice, like iced coffee, more like tap coffee – and we are all sticky from whatever took place the night before; either no one remembers or they just rather not talk about it.

but there’s no need to look back, it’s always better to walk with your back to the sun. and a walker is what I’ve become, after so many sleepless roads, so many ruffled wants, and after so many times caught under your rain, the wind of your movements – your being plural, your being the night atop a glass tower in Chicago, resting against the cold glass overlooking everything but us, your being that horrible taxi becoming smaller and smaller, your being your middle finger, slowly unfolded in front of that devastating smile, your being that sunset, or this sunrise, or those shooting stars blazing unanimously in our night, your being all those porches, balconies, fire escapes, strange artists’ loft, wide open rooftops, the missing salt from our common coast…

so I traded your memories for this endless tripping over each other, failed pleasantries, and unexpected blackouts. it is not us who age, it’s our livers. and no matter where you end up, there’s always a hungry cat sitting by the food bowl, clocking you like a spurned lover before slamming the door. isn’t it odd how that cat can stare right through to you and sniff around in your deepest, darkest memory? so I’ve traded those neverending city treks for the scant solace of my own basement, my own hole in the ground. there are occasional transgressions, I admit, but nothing like you all saw back on that other land, the one behind, the one that defies the myth of the eternal return. there’s no real sense now of finding any of it out, only intuition of what it would be like.

and wouldn’t we all want to know what it’s like


Olivia y las demás

Olivia pours the coffee, steams our patience, mixes our expectations and provides us with the operative metaphor; there is much to consider in the empty cup, the frothy hotness, the out of our hands, tepid outcome. Olivia is not the slick image that pours from our thoughts, nor the star burning up over our heads.

She is simply the roommate, the one who locks and shuts off the lights before leaving. She will be here almost every day this week, because she is a working roommate, an independent roommate, a special kind of roommate.

And that’s just Olivia. There’re others, each with with their own swing, their own beat, their own escape route. There were days when we would cross, or bump, or perhaps it was a bit more than a bump, a la Allison, circa Manhattan 1994, under the Roosevelt Island cable car and an overcast sense of nowhere, fast. Her words, my mistakes, a confabulation with no respite. Disease ensued, planes took off, memories crashed and had to be rebooted, a new sense of nowhere arose. And her name is unknown. Forever Lost. Like a smile, fleeting between stations.

I called her Vera, but that was never her real name.

The many Emilies have also made somewhat of an appearance towards the end. On the sidelines, as observers, as witnesses, really, for then things got a little tense, then later huge, out of proportions, oppressive even. Things. Lost and safe, around your neck or your fingers, in your pockets. Broken pieces of it in every corner you happen to look in.

Several Annas showed up even later than that, which was never really the end, and shared their vowels with many other latecomers, a occasional “L,” not capitalized liked you’d think, but lower case, almost a one.

The oldest reduction, the final relief. One. Here. Now.

Nowhere all over again. Postings and faraway musings interfere, but ultimately will only add color, if that. You will not engage the same erroneous ways, there are always new ones, without a net, out there, where there are no warrantees. Only corners, to cut, to make your own, to get to know yourself. To lay the groundwork for what will come much later, when the names matter not so much.

Some will remain, like H. Both of them, the real and the one inside, running through my veins. But the one that actually matters lies elsewhere, as much of life does, giving off signs of life without much continuity. An afterthought, one that will permeate, hopefully even mutate whatever is left into something new.

To be oneself again.


one-night-run (but it really took years)

there was the time I got lost in another country and three whatifs crashed into me as that awful car sped away.

i caught the first whiff of your signature scent
somewhere outside cleveland after dusk
there was a certain twang to your essence
not unlike a tense guitar string screaming
quietly with finger picking precision back
in the lounge car with the other passengers

one window looks out into our ignorance
a rooftop is always in play,

the Thunder Carrot, the Pixie, the Triplets
of Railville come alive past midnight
there is no singing this time around
but there are spirits lifted, raised
like a glass of wine, a shot of vodka,
a splash of that cheap whiskey
while we all drink to the next stop

there was another time when I was riding in the back of a VW bus while the couple who owned it argued up front. that was somewhere in the eastern seaboard, south of DC if my memory serves me right.

which it usually doesn't,

like the time when your hard edges caught the small of my knee as i rounded the corner trying to find my way out of another senseless night, out of another bed, out of this clever combination of evasion and want. tell me, are we really this stuck up in our own fears that we cannot abide to accept? i sometimes drown in your ocean and it is the most beautiful, but lonely death i can imagine.

a bruise for every time she smiles at you from across the way
or how she will never leave a mark, a scar, something written
on the skin only meant for that awkward moment
between the two, and the three, and all the others waiting in the shade, in the alley
at the bus stop the following morning, cuando la luz se te cruza en el camino

alright, i'll wait for the time to expire and reset all the weird ways in which you decide to unknow me all over again, apply pause, that tiny, breathless moment when i open my eyes and find myself sinking in you, hiding within your doubts, and holding on to your mistakes as if they were my own,.

i'll meet your bluest eye
with my whitest lie
and raise you the blackest night

not quite beyond the pale
they said,
why do they bow to the reddest moon
you wondered

is this your yellow trick road?
i shoulda known the grass is always greener

by then it all comes together and becomes one more lesson to ponder in bed while the cat scratches at the door. i can never tell if he's trying to get in or out, and then it dawns on me the cat is not really a cat.

and then finally, there was the time nobody knew how to start all over again. and we all did what we thought we were expected to, drink a little more, stare across the bay, the harbor, or whatever body of water keeps us apart, and wonder if we left right now we might just be able to make the last train back to …nowhere.

it will all end soon enough, maybe even
after we’ve become the ruins of what we're looking for;
a dangling body, a swinging sentence,
 a quiet moment between the cars
where solitude is the undisputed king
of games not finished before our ultimate destination.

so this is how you describe that hollowness
so this is the best i can do
so this how my road unravels in your back country