atheist riot

warm Sunday

City Hall lawn

young people

bright yellow

biker shorts

we too

sit there

moving slowly

watching smiling

at the

busy gnats

we drank

sour beer

sharing one

warm can

that took

three hours

to buy

our sisters

a yard

away talking

and pouting

smacking lips

laying out

their tired

patchwork skirts

they twirl

bottle cap

rosaries between

their stained

fingers etched

with cuts

and cracks

the brothers

coming out

of trance

acknowledge that

nothing here

will change

too many

men on

the job

too many

brains and

greedy wallets

planning our

fate and

we all

look up

at the

trumpeting birds

and we

rise in

arthritic waves

even though

were under

thirty one

and in

a hallelujah

arm stretch

above our

messy heads

our sisters

break out

in harmony

as their

washed out

bone bleached

bracelets jangle

snapping fingers

send a

thanks to

the heavens

the brothers

do a

little dance

and onlookers

stop to

stare with

smirking eyes

and jaded

quips against

the humble

family on

the lawn

who can

only address

God outside

of hypocritical

sanctimonious walls

la princesa guerrillera de la sur central

pequeña niña un sol con cara

triste que a la misma vez sonríe

porque así dice la ley paternal

florecita de todos colores

tus pequeñas raíces se esconden

detrás de palabras que ahorcan

tu garganta por no poder decir

lo que sientes en la casa

en la escuela en la telenovela

siempre debes de ser

de una u otra manera

pero cuando nuestros ojos

se estrellan los tuyos morenos

llenos de vida

los míos verdes escurridos

porque han visto mucho en la vida

tus labios se parten en dos

arrancas de tu mami y me miras con valor

oiga porque tiene esos dibujos en sus manos

y con mucho miedo me haces responder

son tatuajes quieres ver

y dices que feos tiras tu mirada al cielo

vuelves a la mano extendida de tu madre

pero solamente tú y yo sabemos

que un día vas a disparar tus propias palabras

a los cuatro vientos

mientras que las mías se quedan trabadas

en mis pasajeras manos

a princesa guerrilheira do sul central

menina um sol com cara

triste que ao mesmo tempo ele sorria

porque é isso que a lei paterna diz

florzinha de todas as cores

suas pequenas raízes se escondem

por trás das palavras que pairam

sua garganta por não ser capaz de dizer

o que você sente em casa

na escola na novela

você deve estar sempre

de uma ou outra maneira

mas quando nossos olhos

seus pardos quebram

cheio de vida

meu drenado verde

porque eles viram muito na vida

seus lábios se dividem em dois

você arranca da sua mãe e olha para mim com coragem

ouça por que você tem esses desenhos em suas mãos

e com muito medo você me faz responder

eles são tatuagens que você quer ver

e você diz feio você olha para o céu

você volta para a mão estendida de sua mãe

mas somente você e eu sabemos

que um dia você gravará suas próprias palavras

a quatro ventos

enquanto o meu fica trancado

nas minhas mãos que passam

south central warrior princess

little girl with a sun for a face

sad but at the same time she smiles

because that’s what the paternal law says

little flower of all colors

your tiny roots hide

behind words that stick in

your throat not being able to say

what you feel in your house

at your school in the soap opera

you must always be

one way or another

but when our eyes collide into each other

your brown ones full of life

my green ones drained

because they have seen so much in life

your lips split in two

you tear away from mommy and you look at me courageously

hey why do you have those drawings on your hands

and with fear you make me answer

they are tattoos you want to see

and you say their ugly while you look at the sky

and run back to your mother’s extended hand

but only you and i know

that one day you will launch your own words

at the four winds

while mine stay locked

in my aging hands

shameful irony

after a long afternoon nap on USC’s lawn i lift my arms toward the heaven in crucified form there’s hair in the grass and my skateboard is gone i sit there still wondering what happened to me was i just walking and then crashed to sleep or was i doing something i’d later regret people my age future doctors lawyers business men grounds keepers maintenance crews walked slowly on by talking about this or that getting up i fell down twice no one looked a second time maybe it was the grass stains on my shirt makeup runny laces untied LA Kings jersey hair in a nest from my left eye i catch the PD stares i smile a dainty coy like smile and they ride their bikes toward the black guy who’s finely dressed reading the medical text book

cicatriz de estrella

triste Celedonia

alma de ave

flor que deslumbra al sol

guardiana de tus dioses

tus remedios tu dolor

cuando llegaste a este mundo

tu alma marcada con cicatriz de estrellas

tener que dejar a tus valles ríos y montanas

tus lumbres tus plantas tus mañas

toda la magia heredara no te la puedes llevar

al cruzar al este mundo mecánico y vacio

todos tus retoños siguieron en fila

menos el más tierno bello y delicado

con el tiempo se marchito

los venenos extranjeros no aguanto

promesas antiguas rotas en ira

de que sería la más bella flor

en el altar de la diosa

Celedonia no hay caso en continuar

de regar el pequeño retoño con tus lagrimas

se fue no está ni hoy ni siempre

has tu vida con tus otros retoños

pero en tu alma herida

mantén en asilo al retoño perdido

cicatriz estrela

celedonia triste

alma de pássaro

flor que ofusca o sol

guardião dos seus deuses

seus remédios

sua dor

quando você veio para este mundo

sua alma marcada com cicatriz estrela

tem que deixar seus vales rios e montanhas

suas luzes suas plantas suas truques

toda a magia de herança que você não pode levar

ao atravessar este mundo mecânico e vazio

todos os seus otários permaneceram alinhados

menos o mais terno lindo e delicado

eventualmente definhado venenos estrangeiros eu não suporto

velhas promessas quebradas em raiva

Essa seria a flor mais bonita no altar da deusa

Celedonia não há nenhum caso em continuar

regar a pequena prole com suas lágrimas

ele deixou não é nem hoje nem sempre

faça sua vida com seus outros filhos

mas na sua alma ferida

manter o broto perdido no asilo

star tissue

sad Celedonia

bird soul

flower that dazzles the sun

guardian of your gods

your remedies your pain

when you came to this world

your soul marked with star tissue

you had to leave your valleys rivers and mountains

your lights your plants your tricks

all the inherited magic you can’t take when crossing

into this mechanical and empty world

all your saplings remained in line

least the most tender beautiful and delicate one

eventually it withered

it couldn’t stand those foreign poisons

old promises broken in anger

that she would be the most beautiful flower on the goddess altar

Celedonia there is no case

in continuing to water the little offspring with your tears

he left and won’t return neither today nor always

make your life with your other offspring

but in your wounded soul

keep the lost sapling in asylum

et ecce mulier

omnipotent dawn shawled in gray and pink delicately kisses her on her scarred forehead as it rests against the bus bench advertising the most prestigious real estate agent in town while seven nylon bags each with a logo from a market or a high end store warehouse her last prized belongings one ragged blue Nike sneaker and paper cups filled with grime a broken clock and red wires

militant she is in body in mind she could be anywhere beyond the stars when she smiles the image in her eyes reveal the fires from hell in a most delicate green other times she sings in laughter and waves hello across the sky to the graces never seen by human eyes the locals with finery of wear wonder why she’s there and crown her as a public nuisance not meant to be part of this community there is just too much of a great divide between her prophecy and their brittle decaying reality

look the lawmen arrive she’s more despised and made to carry her belongings down Dolores St. and then the dusk with iron claw he comes and she can’t run away from the hand of fair and righteous rule the goodly people have unanimously decided through tax forms and priority that she must go away the jury wash their hands for the people have spoken and so she takes her fate with a tired brave face not understanding the hate or what she did and where it got her

for three days she’s placed on a hold prodded with instruments of scorn and judgment pleading for her thirst to be mollified she’s forced to take bitter pills as the keepers of the places gamble on her kismet now she’s subdued her gown is sheared down to her contorted waist lacerated feet and hands are tied to the bed of loveless nails for the sake of the most upstanding people’s protection system

Chato

Chato wasn’t sure what to expect. He’d heard the legends almost every weekend. His fists curled into themselves, not quite tight, not ripe to make a punch. Through the sheet that separated him from the rest of the living room guests, he heard the women speaking. Some weeping, some whispering like the noise of ninja stars in mid air. Chato thought about Ernesto and his eyes watered a little. Glancing down to find a tee shirt to wipe his face, Ernesto’s acceptance letter to UCLA reproached him. Chato comforted his pain by scrolling through his phone to call Chino and the crew. No answer. Chato looked up the wall and smiled at Ernesto’s awards. The rage flooded him. In between blurred thoughts, he could not understand how he and Ernesto had survived so much and suddenly cancer took down the person who meant the world to him.