On Lassen Street

our bodies lay as one
on one bed, under one cover,
between a heaven and earth
whose beginning and end we’ll never know,
we are one body—
one over one makes one—
you plus me,
you in me;
you, me,

How will I be different
from the men in whose arms
you once found love and comfort?
What about those you chose to leave for me
not caring whether they could’ve given you a better life,
or the ones that make you wish I were more like them,
those that still smile in pictures,
and laugh with their teeth;
their saliva sweet on their lips
because you don’t know yet what hell it spits?

What will I do to keep me here, to keep me yours—
draped in nothing but silence—
and be given a new name,
a new life, a new love
whose echoes rise from your crevasses
where my hands cannot reach,
where everything’s anew—
lying naked, as naked
as being without words
when you need not say a thing?

Te dire quién eres

It’s considered a blessing in Mexico
to be the firstborn male of the family.
In a culture where
crucifixes are carried heavy and golden—
the scrotums only as virile
as the wombs fertile—
the desire for your son
to bear your father’s name,
and his father’s name—
which was his father’s
youngest brother’s name who died at 21—
becomes so great that
birthing is nothing
more than a game of
“Let’s see who can hang from the monkey bars
the longest without falling”:
naming the nameless
names as a monument
built too close to its tragedy.
So, you don’t simply have one person
named Little Bastard Jr.
or Yet another Bastard III,
you get a bundle of Little Bastards
named after the ‘Grand Master Bastard’—
the only one who can never
remember who you are,
defeating the whole purpose
of even having a name.
“Hey, you!” becomes a more
civilized way of distinguishing
one person from the rest
of their similarly named cousins and uncles.
Any tenured arborist would take one
look at this family tree,
its roots and soil
and deem its long branches ripe
for firewood—
beyond any corrective
procedures of a skilled tree surgeon—
prescribing that its bug-infested,
bird-pecked trunk be chopped down,
hollowed out into a canoe
to be navigated down a waterfall,
a proper death to an improper dastard
that should’ve been drowned at the seed.
The ancient tradition of genealogical nomenclature
is a lesser crime against humanity—
a misdemeanor at best—
it’s public urination marking one’s territory,
a branding,
a form of physical,
living, breathing graffiti:
a curse.