Archive for September, 2013

September 22, 2013

the lost boys of a generation

Photo: Creative Commons

Photo: Creative Commons


a generation ago

along the sands of laguna

youth danced in a frail heat


though faces smiled, rippled bodies sank into sand

and we who escaped watched, waited

to see if they emerged from dunes for another day


at the Boom Boom

they stood in sandy corners

drowning in sandy spirits


brushing off listless grains

struggling to be heard

speaking broken words


then summer ended

and the boom boom faded

and sand rose silently


was it you

is it me

who’s the next boy lost


after a generation

the beach is once again a youthful beach

where feet leave imprints today after today


cool pacific breezes push sand in blankets

enveloping memories

in a patchwork of common threads


no one sees the sand

resting under layers of yesterdays

layers of lifelessness


what could have been

remains concealed under drifts

where living words seep without vowels


as their voices creep between our toes

we who remain still

hear the lost boys of a generation


September 15, 2013

The Memory of Leaves

Napa Fall

Leaves fall

   After my warm day

Colors letting go

       Thoughts adrift

In transition

             Toward consciousness

Moments in time

                   Losing contours

In translation

                        Toward memory on a shore

Lapping waves

                              Rocks smoothed over

In transcendence

                                   Toward subconscious nights

Silhouettes of branches nearly barren

                                         An autumn moon

Ahead of a first frost on a monochrome morning

                                               Alas, my mind at rest


September 8, 2013

tuesday morning

Photo: Creative Commons

Photo: Creative Commons

| |

bitter confusion

a cup of coffee


for clouds to clear on a clear day


until they reappear

_ |

the empty cup

sitting cold

waiting again

to find nothing there

awake or still asleep

insecurity blankets a silent morning

_ _

the drive to work

the workday

the drive home

still faces

blank time

floating moments in silent skies


the evening sun fades on the horizon

of a day that ends

with recurring bytes

of tuesday morning seared

into a consciousness

in mourning

” “







About the Poem: Fractured, confused, blank – these words describe my recollection of the events of September 11, 2001 as they unfolded for me, like many Americans, on television on what should have been an ordinary workday.

Just as unforgettable was the clear sense that the American conscience too was punctuated with profound change.

September 1, 2013

Death & All Related Absurdities

Photo: Death and Life, Klimt

Photo: Death and Life, Klimt

Seeing the embalmed body of my grandmother was a scary thing when Catholicism was already scary enough. In the rigidity of both aspects I was too young to think that she was in any other space than either the eternal fires of hell or among the idols of St. Patrick’s.

It was the first time I saw death first-hand. I can’t say that it had any profound impact on me at eight years old – I didn’t have the aptitude with which to contextualize my own mortality. Rather, it scared the shit out of me trying to understand where my grandmother went, wondering to whom she would now be speaking, in Spanish of course, not knowing if I would ever hear her laugh again.

Though my internalized questions garnered neither empirical answers nor meaning, something fantastic and Menippean did happen. My brother, sitting next to me in the cohort of my mourning relatives, was laughing.

I first looked at his face, his eyes had that “I can’t control it and I don’t know what the fuck to do” look.

I wanted him to see my “Oh shit, Mom and Dad are going to kill you” look but he couldn’t.

My impulse was to fight the wonderfully juxtaposed situation that presented itself. I couldn’t see my parents huddled among the familial network of the rational who only saw the gravity of Grandma’s present state.

“Shhh!” I whispered into my brother’s ear. This only made him laugh harder.

I tried locking in on his eyes but as the organ belched and the mourners followed, my possessed brother, in mimicry of the others, sang grossly out of tune.

The same impulse took me over. I could no longer look him in the face at the risk that we would further upset our already volatile Catholic Latino relatives. Though our singing was drowned out by the adults, we didn’t stop.

When I couldn’t catch my breath, I bowed my head as deeply as I could boring my ears deeper into my chest. An unfamiliar old man seated in front of me turned and gave me a cold stare, then turned back around. By appearance we were profane in the eyes of the somber.

We knew that the situation was out of our control. Feeding off of each other, we tried expelling as much laughter as silently as we could before the singing ended and found ourselves in another fit with each chorus.

I remember hitting his arm once. He punched me in the leg too.

And as quickly as it came, the laughter stopped, as did the music. We rejoined the grave world. As I looked at my resting grandmother and the large crucifix centered on the wall above her, I felt ashamed.

But somehow as I think about it so many years later, at least in the way I’d like to think, Grandma’s wake was more of an awakening. Grandma made us laugh that day. She needed somebody to laugh at death and all related absurdities. It was great to hear her laugh again.


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