Taino

it took about three hours to get to Los Angeles Street

from Mission Avenue

with its grandiose blocks of junked cars

guys who waved flags like bull fighters

funneling you into their driveways

to get your muffler fixed for $75

i thought about Hemingway’s story

looking down at the dirty greased earth

wondering why i wasn’t dead that afternoon

trying to find the lesson or the meaning

of that certain event in my life

my body hurt

the concrete was harder than i had ever remembered

the worn sole of my one right Chinese girl shoe

mouthed slowly at every step i’d take

as it “peeoed-peeoed” at me

like baby birds demanding food

i thought of my left shoe

it became a casualty

strewn under a fire escape at Werdin Place

i imagined my shoe there

embalmed with bum urine and cigarette ash  

never really felt self-pity

until that moment

my one black sock

still on my left foot

i stank like Camels and latex

i was dirty all the way

deep into the marrow

i consoled myself

tearing the bandages from my throat and my left ring finger

the bandages caused me to admit defeat

worst yet

victimhood

i sat on the curve of Sunset and Spring St.

to cry amongst the scent of taquitos and Peking duck 

knock knock knock bang bang bang

“Ay! I goingg, cheeett!” said a husky voice from behind 303

“Ciao, Taino,” i whispered

“Ave Maria! Niňa, what happen to juu?! Alvaro, Alvaro! Cojeme el first aid kit!” tisked Taino

“I’m good doll. I just took a little beating late last night. I’ve already seen the doctors,” i explained

Taino dressed in a paisley green red and gold muumuu

ignored my answer

heavy mocha hands gently pulled and tugged

at the hoodie full of blood

his thick long red taloned fingers

negotiated with my bruises

fussing over me

Taino’s fiery short red bob

swooshed back and forth

past his round jowls

right below the heavy rouge line

he ordered his friend

to go get dragon won ton soup

Gatorade and ginger ale right quick

while Taino spoon fed me

he would rattle on

about simpler times

in the Puerto Rican mountains 

about his mother’s cuisine

after a long day at work

Taino would look at me tenderly

eyelids thickly lacquered  

blue shadow and black fake eye lashes

akin to window awnings

while he lined me

i’d caress his thick indigenous cinnamon face

that is why i named him Taino

“O.k. niňa vamos a dormir now mi reina.” he whispered in my ear

as he spooned me

telling his roommate Alvaro

not to answer the “gatdam” door to anyone

“Taino, do you believe in God?” i remember slurring

“Oh, si mami, claro.” Taino agreed in a hush

“Taino, is your mom happy you are like a woman? I am Taino, I love you,” those words crawled

out of my mouth

“Ay niňa, so many questions,” i could hear him sighing

a million miles away

serial number

the beeping and the blinking

and the math on the wires

monitors and iv drips

blue and silver serial numbers

of the medical equipment

sent tiny shocks of stress

directly to his sweat soaked head

since adolescence

the only way he knew

how to soothe himself

after a stressful situation

or how to survive

a dry period

between snorts or shots

was to savor the sensation

of his rolling eyes

to the back of his neck

after a good junk score

it started with strained nerves

abstract jittery eyelids

tiny tear drops sweeping

from the corners of his eyes

then tenebrosity

gunning through pin-hole pupils

the relief of a private world now televised

his relief

the private world

painted with garish French carnival colors

golds that were green

reds that were milky blood pink

old ship ropes and Macaque monkeys

like the ones from a Burroughs’ dream

philharmonic

tonight
i will not settle
for chords
electrically or naturally strummed
nor radios or streaming services
i shall not partake
of what you have created
Tesla dear
tonight
i am happy with the cutting of the air
watermelon slicing sounds
of the ceiling fans
or the cricket
dressed in green and brown velvet
chirping at my cat
tonight the city bred howls of coyotes
at 11:43 PM
is what i want to hear
maybe i might decide to cut up pictures and squoosh a paint brush full of podge unto my board
the dowry for the clipping that will marry it before Fall
tonight i want to hear the groans of pleasure and of pain
rise up from sewer pipes and circulate out of the city drain
my curiosity will sustain
an unknown hunger
that causes me to sit
ever so corpse like still
and hear the birds
crackling the dried leaves
of the tree trunk lobby
during their intermission
while attending
their own mourning dove
cooing philharmonic


Taino el de abajo

the room is sterile

free from any love germ

only the tiny beasts of whatever

perfect in nature are adored here

in this sterile cold dry room

my gut told me

“She passed.”

referring to the death of an aunt

i hardly knew

i don’t feel grief

not yet

and

as i explained to my-self

some people might never feel it

to mourn loss is difficult

to mourn loss of a loved one is hard

to mourn for and carry a heavy heart for an enemy

is tougher

i don’t feel such loss for the masculine things in life

as i do for the feminine

to have had a physical mother

never to have experienced an emotional mother

or spiritual mother

has been loss

yielding veils of survival

darning lies as i went along

because for this ride

you must be tough

to have had to rip my addiction demons

from me without a cowboy’s hickory stick

to bite on

while all of Murphy’s laws

chose to shred themselves

has left a raw gaping hole

in my crippled soul

yet there is a certain life-long journey

a chipping away of the spirit

the grief polishes

nearly to transparency and vulnerability

that fake shine as seen on t.v.

we can certainly fight

for all our lives

against this erosion

but we will not win

in my age

i can now see

the entirety of who Taino was

what he meant to me

i could not

in my youth

see that deeply yet

*dedicated to Jose Montoya POET

complication

you ask why do i cover it
wandering around town
a million thoughts
abstract in their reality
answers swerve but then the questions haunt
im not a fitter in the jigsaw of today right now
just a passing sorceress with a spray paint can
strayed under the bridges dirty shoes bruised features
archangel seal on finger never ringed but broken twice
but even in slumber you complain
how can anyone ever hold you
your hand anchored to your hardened chest
it’s a reflex i whisper back
shes frail
beating hushley
neath this bony tattooed hand

where the dusk of the living sighs

You higher power

Holy Ghost

Dove of Peace

Lord of Abraham

i have always loved You

not in a temple home

or candles steeples crowns of thorns

i’ve loved You through his venomous smile

the flowers on the bush deathly sour

the raindrops of my heart

through the ruffian storm of my disease

the nails that bind me to this salt

that seasons human behavior

gawking at birds pinned in the drowsy sky

dots of tenuous freedom

i’ve loved You through his lips of lies

midnight dips

of hazed oblivion

through my veins i thought of You

hollering the choked mangled Hallelujahs

i have always loved You

on beds of death

i’ve laid my head to fester

my lips quivered caving inward

the name of the unobtainable Highest

cardboard hallowed sidewalk snares

i’ve loved You

fearful through the steps i took

where the dusk of the living sighs

the birds would sound

Baker Beach fog cold wet knees

sand deep cut wrists

knuckles bleed

cold sea wind seeps

into the cracks of the spirit

was around the time

we broke our peace

seagulls screeched wildly

above our coal black energy

you the pulling south

i the fleeting north

umbilical cord

severed forever

Artemis took this orphan in

taught me how to hunt

other creatures

such as i

for crazy cannibalistic 32182314155 rites

and wandering in every downtown desert

dawns spent in tunnels bent

from the neck down

every now and again

the birds would sound

toasting to paired up

cooing doves

that have flown away from me