every day we stand with our toes hanging
off into the precipice of tomorrow
hot equatorial sun, sometimes burning
mostly offers the encouragement of nuance
as we leave the ground and take to freefall
allowing time’s river to forge its course
arms extended in a swan dive
soft defenseless innards exposed in flight
we hope that this day’s predecessors
have taught us from their mistakes
and the smooth, graceful dive will take
making a splashless refreshing entrance
into a future of respite from life’s work

Dedicated to Joseph Harker.  Happy Birthday!


your apartment is barely the size of my childhood bedroom
when you invite me in I’m brought back to my youth
you, the girl my heart is set on and I still the fool
the apartment has not grown, but we have and then some
when you invite me in, there is no better place
dresser drawers stuffed to overflowing
wrinkled suits forced between dresses and lace
we could have better, but where would we stay?
leaving living room and den empty to stay the bedroom
so you’ve created our world in that small space
choosing to keep only what we’ll use
you and I, the girl who stole my heart and her bed
and no more

from the ashes


for some reason eyes hang heavier there
as if closed by conjunctivitis like a new born cat
groggy but propelled by a chill, work begins
gathering of twigs, sorted by size
food for a beast now laying dormant
dry instant coffee and oatmeal set aside
bending down and blowing softly
yesterday glows like the rising sun
some kindling added to gray silt
sprites of smoke now dance
heralding the arrival of their master
ashes turn to flame and new life
the rest will soon stir from their tents
paying homage to the newly created beast

the bitter legion marches in
ageless, lethal and merciless
defeating Bonaparte and Hitler
masses tremble at its advances
like the earth underfoot of an army
in the wake of its passing
empty quiet and destruction
trees lay stripped and streets desolate
as people cower in their homes
seeking refuge from the onslaught
living off of provisions lain in shelters
waiting for winter’s soldiers to pass

a tug of war has begun
flags of autumn’s foliage wave
gains made and then lost
mud churned and solidified
crystals melt and star back
windows open and close
allowing the flow of the battle
to waft in like gunsmoke
exchanged for the sent
of rotting leaves
knowing white death comes
to summer’s gay deity
arbitrated by autumnal wait
serving the iron winter silence



the water is tepid and murky
what choice does a man have?
if choosing between death and thirst
he will drink, regardless
the quick dispatch may have had its pros
dying of dehydration anyway
from Giardia induced diarrhea
his final rest in a pool of  feces



we are whelped into this labyrinth
the doors closing behind us
no guidance nor provisions
nature versus nurture
survival takes precedent
given only tooth and nail
our struggle is never civil
self preservation over death
until our bellies are full
and there is enough to spare
none cross a hungry man’s path
without the scourge of a fight
plunder and take without regard
knowing small victories
scars represent pride
we proceed as the juggernaut
until reaching the other side

good timing


I sat there for an hour
my thoughts collapsing my skull
like heavy boots on rotting planks
the decision was simple
the cool metal on my skin was refreshing
perhaps that was a sign to do it
I am the captain on a sinking ship
the lifeboats are dispatched
only one thing left to do
your phone call made me stop
I traded the gun for the receiver

when his uncle had come home
he had a less than warm welcome
called names for his servitude
insult to an already injured mind
unsure of what was worse
the spit in his eye or
patty soaked socks in boots

an older cousin stood tall
on a peril-wrought border
a foreign country divided
and our blood stood guard
lost in his thoughts at attention
his countrymen unawares
most forgetting his position
and couldn’t find him on a map

now the soldier sits in the sand
protecting his country’s interests
knowing little of why he’s there
but following orders to his best
at home he is now a hero
his uncle’s generation will salute
still a gluttonous nation is complacent
and is still too fat to complain
of being falsely represented

leaders of long ago
who held mettle in their words
a general as commander-in-chief
warned of an evil lurking behind the Dollar
that soon would infiltrate if left unattended
suffocating fruitful progression
like weeds in a fertile garden
reversing leaps forward for the public
and giving all to greedy leaders

the public does not mind
because the people do not notice
their bellies are full
and the stores are well stocked
they have not gone without
while their brothers bleed
believing the media and marketing
without any thought on their involvement
change will be hard found
much less now from the polls

Nonna esta cantando mientra froma las arepas
harina pan hecha en discos de blanco
cada una se convierte en una nota de su instrumento
afuera mis tios estan sentados al lado de una caja de cerveza
nabaja en mano, le quitan las escamas al parguito
de vez en cuando bajando el cuchillo
para transferirle la armadura del pescado a la botella
el tesoro del abuelo pronto estara lista para el escabeche
carbon listo, con la leña, pero todavia es hora del almuerzo
rojo vibrante de las Hibiscus redean el jardin
solo Eden tenia paredes mas vivas
Cambures crecen en una esquina
las matas de pequeñas bananas crecen juntas
se convierten en practica de karate
lagrimando sobre manitas con puños feroces
a nadien le importa, los nenes estan a salvo
la manga y guayaba lanzan un ritmo a la tierra
la fruta caida se vuelve a un tesoro tropical
contentando tientes de leche y encias ansianas, igual
la lima y lechosa no contienden con el ritmo
cantando una cansion mas lenta al merengue
despues del almuerzo nos vamos a la Bahia de Cata
y regresaremos a una parrillada ya preparada
que progresara a cuentos entre partidos de domino
ninjas en aprendisaje se iran temprano a la camita
para que no vean donde va toda la cerveza, todavia