Seas of us stretch like solar
systems. On all sides
she threads charcoal death.
Space between stars is space
between islands circled in gray.
Here, even air sinks heavy
into broken-hearted eyes.
I swim from the island of highways
and high-rises to the island
of roadless hills. Neighbored only
by sea nymphs and forever sky.
Dead wind whips like anger,
like sunrise, like avalanche.
If you stand at her edge, you must stare
right into her eyes and clench your fists.
Stand at the highest point turning
from the sea of gray to the sea of green
to the sea of gray to the sea of green
to the sea of
the universe of stars.
First published in San Pedro River Review
When you rise early from your wide bed
pull on your long pants, brush your porcelain teeth,
do you also decide to fill your mouth with pebbles
stuff them into your cheeks for stoning small children?
When you gather the keys to your reliable car,
drink your coffee, eat your toast and eggs,
do you then grab your territorial pissing sign,
join others pushing buses full of babies off the road?
When you kiss your mop-haired children goodnight,
stroke their cool foreheads, wish them quiet dreams,
do you tell them of slashing plastic jugs of water,
pouring it out into sand like a narrow-eyed bully?
When you brush off the knees of your own fallen children,
teach them to be fair and kind, grow up strong,
do you tell them how you dream of kicking the skins
of skinny brown legs, barely able to stand?
First published in Gutters & Alleyways: Perspectives on Poverty and Struggle 2014
*On July 2, 2014, dozens of protesters in Murrieta, CA, blocked 3 buses of refugee women and children from being processed in their facilities. In 2012, the humanitarian group No More Deaths documented border patrol officers kicking, slashing, and pouring out jugs of water left for desert crossers.
Several months ago, I was approached by Peter Basson to be a part of a new project he was working on. Like myself, he is a huge fan of the local Long Beach talent and wanted to find a way to showcase and promote as much as possible. He and his conspirators held a multi-disciplinary launch party to coincide with the launch of the website, longbeachlive.org. The goal is to feature local talent in a live performance series and through online promotion.
Each artist has a bio page with samples of their work, and I am happy to have two previously unpublished poems included, “Shed My Skin” and “The Congregation”. I was very happy the second one was chosen because it focuses on my love of the open mic scene here in Long Beach.
Please check them out and send them some of your own work if you are also part of the Long Beach (CA) area!