quilt my American confession

i have nothing left for tomorrow everything is almost gone inside of my head

i am overwhelmed overtaken

i am just one person

i am struggling with this quilt that i have stitched over an entire lifetime

my fabric squares each a segment and time a lesson a book a song a smile anything shiny anything dull

i stare at my quilt

today it looks tattered

i see a little blood stain

i see big pools of blood

in my eastern squares where a lot of intersectionality began

i see struggle little wrinkles threads pulled to the side giving way

old old cotton that has traversed the generations

to the west of my quilt i see trails like the topography maps

blood gold hard labor fires metal beasts

i see part of the world coming together

a tic tac toe board the X’s over the O’s over here

the powerful always on top drawing the line over whoever they feel like

tonight i’ve turned off the volume on my tv set

i click from channel to channel and in my head i make up stories

i make up narratives  and conversations for those people on the screen

those who are better than me

have spilled a lot of bleach a lot of indigo a lot of oil

a lot of grease a lot of dirt a lot of bills a lot of vomit a lot of shit

onto my quilt

i don’t know how i can keep myself warm or cold or hot

i don’t know how to press buttons day in and day out and wait to be told what to do

i have lost my needles in a haystack in the world ran by wires

i don’t know where i am most of the time

i try to hang on and i look at the trees and they have branches and leaves

i tried to examine how the leaf stem sticks to the tree

i try to articulate argue examine breakdown pull together any instinct

of how the tree and its leaves stay together

i don’t know anymore

when i look at butterflies or hummingbirds they look gray

when i look at the grass or the flowers they looks black

when i look at my hands or my face it looks red

when i look at my feet and my veins they look blue

when i pass through my doorway every night i’m alone

i feel like my quilt squares are falling to the floor

while doing the laundry i meet my neighbor

she’s covered i’m covered but we’re both naked

our quilts in our baskets all have the same snags the same wear and tear

i a professional i a quiet person she a mother she a beautiful hard worker

yet our quilts make us sisters

her quilt is jagged my quilt is jagged

we look at each other but we’re really detached

we are left there for all the civilizations to see

for all the viciousness to scratch at

and we look down and we say excuse me

after i take my quilt from the washer i bring it back home

it looks the same as i seek for solace looking at my corners of the ceiling

wondering when the cobwebs might come in again

it’s so dull with no life no little creatures to give me purpose

no little creatures to cup in my hand or cup in a cup

to put outside so that i can smell some kind of air

i returned to my tv screen and turned up the volume

and there are hundreds of different colors different words and different weapons

different levels of hatred and anger and selfishness

i look to see in a crowd

in the sea

wired humanity where the unpluggables are

where my tribe is not on any one side of an aisle

i will not be on any side for any style

i am who i am

i turn away and pick up my quilt with its little squares

i remember fondly when i was four and a fried chicken drumstick hit the bee and flower square

and left a permanent shortening mark

then i look up toward the middle of my quilt

a Bohemian style square i see where there was a cigarette mark left by an old boyfriend

on the other side of the quilt with the tasseled square with cuts in it where i hid my money when i was 12

to run away because life was too hard

little did i know what i know now

toward the left side of my quilt there’s a blue velvet square

in the middle bleach marks from days lost to Neil Y’s needles

then toward the top the darker squares with the solid bold yellow flowers

that’s where most of the cotton stuffing is

hand stitches coming apart exposing nothing

i think of my neighbor and how we both looked down

to me she’s my neighbor a woman

to me she is somebody she is a life

i look pass the cemetery skyline and i can see all of the headstones

flower vases peppering the hillside

those were people alive one time or the other

zigzagging in and out of my own life

i wonder what their smiles looked like

i wonder what their voice sounded like

abruptly my meditation cut by a police siren

another fight somewhere down the road

i draw myself back on the tv screen

orange men

white men

brown men

black men

pink men

red men

yellow men

all kinds of men

all kinds of women

everyone just as righteous as the other one

do they see me

do they see my neighbor

do they see her children

do they see her pets

do they see the babies in the neighborhood

do they hear their cries

do they see their daddies as they comeback midday because they lost their jobs

do they see their mommies trying to type on swipe screen buttons

asking for help to feed the family

do they see the old man

do they see the old woman

can they hear what they’ve experienced

what’s going on in Chattanooga

what’s going on in Beijing

what’s going on in Australia

what’s going on in Anaheim San Antonio New York or Canada

what’s going on in the Middle East

what’s going on i wonder

i stop as my voice cracks and quivers

when i lay down and close my eyes

i relish the knot in my throat the hot tears sliding down my eyes

as imperfect as i am as imperfect as i have been defined to be

by the powers who were and those to come

i can still see the humanity

and i can find hundreds of thousands just like me

heirs

in the corner Chelo sold sweet tamales for her girls to have a place in college in the corner Reynaldo told of the Christ who loved us so that he hung alone in the corner a man got stabbed over a wallet with no change and a picture of his only daughter in the corner three children sold carnations to bury their grandmother who died of blood cancer three months ago in the corner the Mariachi band played trumpeting hymns to their Virgin mom in the corner moon weeps just a little longer rain drops wet the ground in the corner life an ebb and flow of those who will inherit the earth

gourmet two point oh

collaboration with Rob Banks y’all

car titty and payday organs i thought i heard myself think under the bridge with the tents mushroomed through it dry cheap malt liquor atomizer scent the Nordstroms lobby of the poor crosswalk to the weed supplier across the street the line begins on 18th opposite the Toyota parts dealer scooter boys and eyelash girls the latest in street fashion Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dolls Scooby Doo blankets fixed on car windows for privacy from the bleeding hearts and muskers with their guns ready for the crop shadows greased upon the pavement from the Great Depression and the miscellaneous gruel penny coffee who knew multibillion dollar hook to look good and begging cups with a winking siren who can’t scream at the scandal of it all starvation degradation insinuation of a world gone sane cardboard living is very thrilling for those who afford expensive drywall hung by the nephews of Cuauhtemoc before the Spaniards took the gold that now sits in microwaves next to Nancy’s expensive chest filled with 38 exuberant flavors

in one twenty twenty one

they the prophets write
words chilling to think all through
numb symbols of prole

could it be they be
saviours with synthetic inks
prayers that result

mbrazfield (c) 2020

tragedy smiling
far out into the clouds go
fumes of redemption

season of promise
idols showing their true forms
flowers in the eyes

mother of pearl moon
tonight the uncertainty
oozes out surely