log poetry...prose commentary


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

the way: home / back to life

i just finished an album.
i had friends do artwork
corresponding to it. that
art is up in a show here
in Austin. enjoy the music!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mi Hijo!

Whenever I interrupted weeks of silence with a call or came home after absence of months and sometimes when I walked into the kitchen or woke him from a nap my dad’s face would hold a momentary look of surprise. It was the look of someone not expecting friends waiting at home with balloons and birthday cake. Then, he would grin and exclaim “Mi hijo!” And we’re not even Mexican. At all.

He said it with a rising tone that went beyond pleasant surprise. He said it with awe and wonderment. He said it like he was completely blown away by our existence and presence. He said it like Little John said it in the Kevin Costner Robin Hood.

Little John’s wife is in labor and the baby is breech. Both mother and child are at risk of death when a mysterious Muslim Morgan Freeman volunteers to perform a crude cesarean section which he has only practiced once…on a horse.

The mother survives and the baby is born! Little John steps out of his Sherwood Forest hut into the presence of all the merry men. He lifts the newborn victoriously over his head and proudly shouts, “My son!” Then the dancing starts.

This is how my dad said it. But in Spanish. And he didn’t usually pick us up over his head.

He called me his son like he’d just got me back from the jaws of death. He said it like I was a miracle. (I was.) He said “mi hijo!” like I’d just returned from a five year journey. He said it like I was the love of his life, the source of his pride, the root of his joy.

He “mi hijo”ed like he was about to laugh and cry and sing and dance. It was somber reverence. It was humbly thankful. It was shock and awe. It was “I thought I’d never see you again!” and it was the first time he held me. It was steady and safe. Wild with whimsy. It was Peter Pan grown up with a wife and kids but still crowing.

I didn’t know it until now, but it was one of the best things he ever said.

Usually, I tried answering with “mi padre.”, a Polo to his Marco. But, it never carried the same weight.

Until now, I thought it was just a quirky catch phrase used out of habit. My “mi padre” was definitely that. It was a label, a formality, an acknowledgment returned. That’s okay. There are few times in history when son love has matched father’s. They usually involve senility and bodily fluids.

My dad loves me. When next I walk into his room or wake him up I hope he gets that shocked look, smiles at recognizing me and says “mi hijo!”

I’m thankful I can still remember the way he said it. It makes me feel like a kid raising midnight prayers from under warm blankets in a comfy bed in a safe house. He folds his tired hands, manages a whispered “Our Father…” and falls asleep.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Make-Up Easter

“I am the resurrection and the life.” The sentence rises immediately into my mind from the depths of dissipating sleep. Alone in the dark tomb of my walk-in closet made bedroom I realize I’ve been dreaming and weep.

A week ago I slept through Easter Sunday. None of its light broke into my heart’s thick walled room. I sat zombified in the pew. Everything sounded trite and cliché: approximations of dates and events.

I guess this morning is my make-up Easter. A week ago I slept. This morning, the absurd possibility of resurrection confronts me in the rising place between sleep and waking life.

My father’s exhumed corpse lay on his bed. How or why his body found its way from the earth into the house I grew up in escapes my memory. The end of the dream, however, remains lucid as waking life.

His salt and pepper hair had grown to nearly cover his eyes. I read once that hair and fingernails continue to grow for some time after death.

I thought we should check his pulse. To our surprise, his heart beat faintly. I reminded the family not to get too excited. Dad had been in the ground for months. If he was revived, he would probably be an unresponsive vegetable.

I left the room.

When I returned, my dad was sitting up in a slouch. His eyes were open but dark and confused. Head down, he stared blankly through his eyebrows. His jaw hung limply. His bottom lip protruded dumbly.

Slowly he turned his head. Slowly he raised the red-digited alarm clock from the nightstand and stared at it confused. He flipped open someone’s cell-phone and scrunched his forehead at the date.

“Dad, its March. You’ve been dead for nearly five months.”

The next thing I remember, he stood embracing me. I knew he would be just fine. I awoke smiling and Immediately began to weep.

Waking always turns dreams into nightmares. The most blissful dreams yield the most horrific nightmares. It is a rule as certain as science.

For a moment, I experienced the shocking elation of resurrection-the redemption of that which was lost. I didn’t fully appreciate my dad until he was gone. So, his returned promised the opportunity to enjoy his presence more than ever before.

Of course, I was torn away from him as I ascended into the waking world above. The tangibility of his embrace dissolved with each waking second. This is why I wept.

Jesus also wept. Then, just before calling their brother out of the tomb, he told Lazarus’ sisters “I am the resurrection and the life.”

This is my make-up Easter because today I rode the resurrection roller coaster of emotion. I empathized with Mary and Martha. I felt the pain of the synagogue official and his wife when they lost their daughter. I felt their joy when Jesus said “Little girl get up!” and she did. I identified with the ups and downs of Christ’s disciples as they saw him crucified then resurrected. In my waking this morning, I shared the bewilderment they must have felt when, upon returning from his absence, Jesus ascended out of their presence once again.

I am thankful for the tears and hopeful that the legend of resurrection is true- For Jesus, for my dad, and for me. I want to see all that I’ve loved and lost restored to me. I know they can only be fully enjoyed after a season of absence.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Mysterious Christmas to All

i come home and
see my father
through the window
in the dark

next to unlit
Christmas tree he
stands still holding
cup of tea

he is staring
out the window
but he does not
look at me

i just drove in
from the manger
scene i saw in
stranger’s yard

leaving home I
see My Father
through My new eyes
As they form

My new mouth can’t
drink a drop from
bitter cup My
Father holds

in His mercy
He will hold it
‘til He looks a-
way from Me

I just got in-
to the manger
I just came in-
to My world

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

like fragile-ghost-feet grass-blade gored on heaven's lawn i stand before you

discount porn picture
behind the 7-11 counter
mind of one holding
(word made flesh)
for the first time

pixilated print out
Michelangelo’s “Creation”
skipping Sistine
to subject itself
held at arm’s length
scrutinized through
one squinting eye
copy (crumpled)

“so that’s what he
looks like”

on hold
telephone received
into room where
hi-fi system escorts
in Sinatra
(big banded)
on vinyl

dat dat da da dat
dat dat da da dat
dat dat da da dat dat

Old Blue Eyes, himself
lifts stylus
zipping across grooves
extinguishes cigarette
and sings

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

As Christened Ships Set Sail – A Villanelle

Each maiden voyage has its’ stowaway
I backseat-rode the minivan with Jen
My mother came along on my first date

My father gave me cash enough to pay
For dinner lest my lovely date should spend
Each maiden voyage has its’ stowaway

Her father bought a boutonnière to trade
For mum my mother made with bow and pin
My mother came along on my first date

Both our teeth in braces as we face
The camera in her family’s humble den
Each maiden voyage has its’ stowaway

Dropped off at homecoming game and parade
But soon enough she picked us up again
My mother came along on my first date

She promised Jenny’s parents we’d be safe
She promised we would have her home by ten
Each maiden voyage has its’ stowaway

My mother came along on my first date

Saturday, September 01, 2007

no such thing

it never rains

clouds come near
so belly up
open river-mouths
open steins

water becomes ALL:

a drink

and there are no clouds
only tears the sun lifts
from our faces

Monday, June 18, 2007

life as a staring contest

oh God.
a staring contest
is underway only-

neither competition
nor hate hides
in either gaze only-

stubbornness (in mine)
patience (in your eyes)
as you wait with
no desire to drive
to desperation
or point of break, but only-

to embrace at the
exact second of
simple surrender
when i say only-

i'm ready.
i give."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Waiting for Henry

Though, everyone she talked to heard about him, no one in our town was quite sure if she really had a husband. She rambled mumbly about many things. But, when she spoke of Henry it was always in that clear loud voice of someone trying to convince themselves. It is the same tone people take when they want to be heard by someone in the next room with whom they are not on speaking terms.

“No thank you, Sir, I don’t need money for bread. Henry will be here tomorrow.”

“No, Ma’am, I don’t need to get in out of the cold tonight. My Henry is coming for me at half past seven.”

She had always spoken like this. There were rare rumors of times she took a bit of bread or a guest room for the night. But, these were mere rumors, you see. Not one was confirmed. It was always a friend of a relative from whom she took a biscuit, a relative’s friend who put her up for a winter night.

The woman had been in our town as long as anyone could remember. No one knew her age. When I first saw her face it had a few grey hairs and some wrinkles around her mouth that only showed when she spoke of Henry. That is, when she smiled.

No one understood how she survived. None of us ever saw her sleep. We had only heard of her eating. She never seemed emaciated or tired. She was simply sunbrown and filthy from being outside all of the time. It seemed her only source of food, of rest, of joy was this man on whom she waited. No one had ever seen him. Henry was the only person more mysterious to our town than the woman who waited for him.