Walking the Rain
Doors are rotten mouths/they shout in wooden frames, “Get out/you don’t fit here, what’s a sunny/old girl like you doing in these parts?”
When cries/Sprinkled on the feet of tyrants/They were swept away/When bones sailed the Atlantic/Dreams drowned/Into the womb of the sea
what is a necktie if not a symbol/of white male domination/and decades of cultural oppression?/amid diminishing colonial powers/the archaic rules remain/codified in the house of parliament
Standing in front of the gold feline pendant/I recalled one of my previous incarnations./The jewelry had belonged to me/and now it was on display in the Museum of Fine Arts/where I and others stared at it.
Dealing with the unnatural heat
The sun/boiled the oranges into rust & the birds grew gills to swim/the heat. How many twirling fans died that year when we/gathered swollen leaves from sun baked drains? Even the/air conditioning breathed like a bloated river.
I remember in high school, explaining to friends/the racism of the cartoon, Speedy Gonzales. His/”arriba, arriba” grito just a Chicano shuck and jive./His campesino hat too big for even the sombrero dance.
They held such strength/I felt that I could fly/so I leapt/knowing the ripcord safety net belay were in place/Until they weren’t
Mofongo, A Sensory Memory
No matter the efforts of the/Spanish to erase the Boricuas/to whiten them via colonialism/mofongo, pasteles, and the/countless dishes are additions/to our culture and proof otherwise.
Billie Holiday’s Deathbed
Who are these men that know nothing/about the blues? Inspiring jinxed history/with officious ink–corrections bled red/outside the margins, ignored or overcome–/their shared voice, warning: Be more like me.
Doña Maria is/the despenadora, the one who/takes care of the suffering./La que quita penas.
A Song for Grandmother: Daughters of Hoodoo
Can you see them/Those wide women/Wide like the earth/Dressed always in white/Ready soldiers of love
Once Was Black
Black shuns not in the respect of one another/It forgot the struggles of the previous generations./It isn’t unity anymore, everyone for yourself./Safe to say, once we were Black.
Black man you are on your own/In your own unmarked unknown grave/In your own land you do not own/With your own hands you own but lend to owners
How John Coltrane Learned to Play Jazz
Most people don’t know that when John Coltrane wrote “A Love Supreme,”/All he had to do was stargaze.
The Sympathy Orchestra
Conduct yourself with vigilance;/play your own instrument;
commonwealth primer for the children of empire
commonwealth/common wealth/common weal/commonstealth/common steal
Control, prosecute, sanction
Xenophobia is naturalized,/rational,/no need for Le Pen,/Macron is in charge,/Darmanin is on the clock.