September: Kara Lynch
October: Abril Castro
November: Jennifer Donovan
December: Margarita Valencia
January: Lorena Mancilla
February: Jen Hofer (special guest)
March: Ali Liebegott (special guest)
We are in a forest. We take refuge in the largest trees with the strongest roots. Birds visit us and bring us news from the outside. Their wings flutter around us huddled in the pit of the cedar’s hollow. These birds remind us of skies and roaming winged.
Our skies are now filled with fighters. Pushing thru the clouds, littering our streets with notices: leave before the bombing if you value your life. trans: your life is not your own. trans: dig your own grave or we will dig it for you. The letters from our own hand, curls and loops dotted and broken but the words, the language belligerant and ruined, belong to someone else. The sentences don’t make sense the syntax is embattled and brusque. Confident in its graceless insult.
4. Are you Lebanese or Palestinian?
You are mean and ugly. You push the kids around in the playground. You think it’s funny. Ha ha ha. You laugh. Crack yourself up. so very funny. Nobody can mess with you. No way man. Just try it. By the swings you pound a girl into the ground then just walk away. And when she yells and screams for help, the prefects and the teachers tell her to stop her whining. Maybe they ask ‘who did this to you?’ innocent. She points her finger. You are on the other side of the baseball field by now. They shake their head and tell her, oh it’s not so bad, your okay. Just get up and brush yourself off, here, let us give you a hand. then nothing happens. You walk away scott free except for the cuts and bruises on your hands from today’s evil deeds. You go to the nurse later for comfort and she dresses your wounds. They might as well shake your hand for keeping things under control out there. If you are around, they don’t have to. Behind the scenes they even pat you on the back.
Beirut, Tripoli, Saida, Sur, Amchit, Jounieh Day 3
You should go.
We should stop things here.
push anger to tears
You should ask
I should ask
Why can’t you
Why don’t you have it in you to
You the one with all the laissez-faire and bravado
par hazard: You don’t. I don’t.
The walls go up
Miles and miles piled into one thin needle of stone and sweat and everything that never happens. could. never.
never again say a proper goodbye at the airport, send me off. The welcome partial anyway, send your friends to look for me as you hover in the drivers seat curbside
I pass by looking for you
Your description misses and they return to the car my bags already in the trunk. Two kisses quick marhaba. Hi.
You said short hair, not no hair.
Maybe a hat
Maybe you could be a veiled woman
Yea a hat. You’ll have to wear a hat when you come and go. What will the neighbors think.
what they always think when you press 9 in the lift.
Yalla let’s go.
never again meet you anxious at a café by the sea. sunglasses prove you are ready for something big and maybe no one will see this flashing in your eyes, or maybe just a hangover bright sun bearing down. 5 oclock just like you said.
My juice is not fresh. You point this out. An important detail. Here they serve me fake juice and I drink it.
We stop things here
Jenny Donovan: estamos adentro
La Mujer Exponencial / Exponential Woman
(Poemas / Poems)
Hay en el filo una mujer / There is a woman on the edge
[siempre mujeres en el desfiladero] / [always women in the defile(ment)]
Me despeño sólo para sentir el temblor. / I let go of myself to feel the shudder
Existe en alguna parte de mi lengua, / In some part of my tongue
una pregunta / there exists a question
Breve / Brief
Concisa / Concise
Trivial / Trivial
No intercambiable. / Not exchangeable.
La Mujer Exponencial / The Exponential Woman
La Peor de todas / The Evil-minded
La Mejor de todas / The Sweetest
La escapista en su jaula. / The escapist inside her cage.
Lo sé, / I know it,
Esto no debió ser, / This wasn't meant to be,
El amor se vuelve un acto radical, / Love becomes a radical act,
tras la era de la orgía. / after the era of orgies.
Yo prefiero sus senos a los cielos. / I prefer her breasts to heaven.
Soy mi propia ama / I am my own mistress
Mi propia lengua / My own language
Mi propia arma . / My own weapon.
Cuando yo vivía allá / When I lived there
[en este silencio debe escucharse / [in this silence it must hear
el rumor del Mar] / the whisper of the ocean]
La Gran Vía me parecia / The Gran Vía seems like
una metafora inaudita. / an intolerable metaphor.
Ahora que vivo aquí, sé que lo es. / Now, that I live here, I know it is.
Algo que se parece a la impotencia / Something that looks like powerlessness
me ronda el cuello. / circles my neck.
Tu saliva (que corre por mis venas) / Your saliva (that runs through my veins)
Es jugar a la ruleta rusa / is playing Russian Roulette,
con una pistola automática. / and loses every time.
Esa Mujer, / That Woman
lo presiento, / I foresee that
no es intercambiable. / she's not exchangeable.
Erase una vez, yo. / Once upon at time, I
Era y no era. / Was and I wasn't.
I burn myself when I shower, I like it because it keeps me warm during the day.
And well, it's not like I'm putting a cigarette out on my hand. Is just that I like hot water, but if I touch my back I can feel the tenderness of scalded skin.
I notice this when I read. My hand stays there as I go somewhere else. Into somebody else’s head, a stranger’s hell. I feel the words entering me as I read.
Words are like that, the sign floats, like plankton. I feed myself on words. I fall in love with words and I seduce with them. I see the constructions and the landscapes. I smell the characters, I hear the voices. If you were a written word, a spoken word I would know you. But you are silence, you listen, and this is just a recording. Similar to the call that you make to the bank, and you meet with a voice that guides you through imaginary labyrinths, she takes your hand and makes you press the numbers. Have you ever asked yourself why it’s always a feminine voice.
I am that voice. But I don't offer any service, I will not tell you how rich you are, or how poor.
I am only letting you listen. I give you these words. I violate the silence and I enter you
Durante el día pienso en como será la noche.
Manejo una caja metálica que contiene a mi cuerpo. Luz tras luz. Las ruedas pulverizan la basura, levantan un polvo fino y opaco que cubre los ojos. Los cierro buscando oscuridad pero solo tengo la sangre de mis parpados, transparente y brillante.
Y disuelvo mis manos en espuma naranja. La mañana tropieza con los periódicos y la radio. Balazos, sonrisas perfumadas, el bebé que bautizaron el sábado, un hombre de portafolios, la cartelera del cine y la nueva manera de asesinar a un narco al lado de mi café. Es como si la noche anterior nunca hubiera ocurrido, como si todo hubiera sido un sueño
pero nadie durmió.
Y limpio un cachetito, los labios algo secos de sed.
Me callo, pero a cada momento quiero el silencio a oscuras, escucharlo, sentirlo, decirlo.
Déjame que te diga en donde estamos:
Desde allá tu ves una figura mítica
Desde aquí yo solo veo un caballo con un cuerno de plástico pegado en medio de la frente.
Óyelo bien: he quemado mi sentido de la ilusión y para que no quedaran cenizas por revivir, llame a los bomberos. A ver, tráeme cenizas húmedas, pero que ardan y que vuelen y que canten.
Verdad que no?
Pero en la noche, creo todo
y en silencio, creo mas
y si respiramos lento, a un paso, es probable que me quede dormida
y sueñe con voces raspadas
o con gansos.
o con silencio.
divide — divide and conquer — — divided and conquered — —— conquered
We remind the Americans again and again:
If you enter someone’s house by breaking down his door,
that man and all his relatives are your enemy forever.
— Afghani Lieutenant Colonel Sheehin Shah Kabandi, Los Angeles Times
Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday
— blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently
suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies
were sprawled with their hands still bound.
— Washington Post, reported by Dahr Jamail
As callous as it sounds, every Iraqi was considered guilty until proven otherwise.
— Lance Corporal Robert Pennington, Los Angeles Times
next belligerence training, bombing as backdrop in the largest natural preserve in california?
next trained in the capacity to split, fake from the real in scorching sun, no sea in sight?
to scream “law and order” as we kick down their doors?
next to change facts, bequeathed to us by enemy signatories?
a broken hinge, more open or more broken?
guilt by nationality — —
as they do not — do not —
scaffold do not — provide —
parading greens skinny — laddering
spooling out spooling out
as they do not stilt
do not splint
do not swell fitted
hand over —
— splitting — —
next law next order
— hand it over — — as they do not — do not —
do not retreat
do not sympathize
do not redeploy
do not report
baghdad or bust
do not blister
do not char
do not forge
do not sally forth
indications of bodily injury, inappropriate striations, tried
and true. do not platoon, do not bereft, do not strife, strafe,
rake, immolate, slice, ligament, triumph, swelter, tenuous,
shush, shatter, deprive, delete. do not borrow. do not shut.
cuts across the face and then there is no face
sutures to the wound and will not knit, will not merge.
bombardments and will not listen, not listening
not not fighting, not not caring, not not deploying,
in increments not deploying, baghdad or bust, busted,
trust me, through the doorframe, your best busted
interests at heart, tenderly shattered, tenderly shot, incidents
of torture have dropped to acceptable levels, laws rewritten,
skeletons rewritten, not not caring, trust me, not pausing, not heeding
not understanding, no understanding, not having to, having to, baghdad or bust, blasted
in fits and starts
wafting or pushed
on the grey on the grey
to our death
unfaltered busted blue
burnished not anew
as it fades — — fades — flocks — flares — — ceases and desists —
——— — ——— —
the line of someone — the line
of someone’s skin — — to cross that —
— open — open it — open it — open it
the line is a line
broken into lines into
segments, points, bodies
in silent motion, bodies
in noisy motion no longer
in stop motion the body
under a sheet sparked
into shards can’t move
can no longer move
(from one, to be published by Palm Press in winter 2007/2008)