A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: bluebonnets

7/30: EATING BBQ IN LOCKHART, TEXAS (LOVE IS A LEGACY)

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
Celebrating mine and my grandpa’s birthday
He is 77 and I am 26
We are generations apart
but my mother placed his name
between the first and the last
as if to remind me
the last thing I will ever be is
alone

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
I travel back in time to every holiday,
summer break, church service, family
reunion or party where I would run between
the legs of nameless cousins, battling for my
mother’s and brother’s attention
Trying my best to be seen by the sea of people
floating in the sea of love that is my family’s legacy

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
I am inside a palace of smoke
where every person holds a spark
in their heart
Love is a legacy we keep ablaze
in the way we say mijo,
in the way we say mija,

I see my niece crawl across the wood floors
where my Grandpa Caballero once stood
Leading me by hand into the heart of the smoke
Oak burning like an orchestra of ash

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
The world is crowded with everyone who knows my name
I am surrounded by bluebonnets and brisket
I am somewhere I am supposed to be
In this place where I found my face
in the hard heat
in the warmth of a ritual

Eating BBQ in Lockhart, Texas
I understand the meaning of a place
that stays the same while you are busy changing
Watching the smoke drift, I am drawn to
how it
comes
how it
goes
how it
moves
how it
knows
to come back
home.

1/30: SO SOME VULTURES HOLD A WAKE IN THE SKY OF MY MIND BUT I DO NOT GET EATEN ALIVE (THIS TIME)

“I wish I could tell you this story without being in it.”
– Michael Rosen, from Gaslighting in Several Parts

In the spirit of honesty, I think I’m finally ready to talk about it. Driving down I-10, the Texas sun writes the constitution of the sky. In my mind, another sky awaits my fate. On the side of the road, the colorless carnival or carcasses steal the bluebonnet joy of Spring as if grief ever had a season where it did not bloom. The song I’m singing is not exactly a prayer. In the air, a Committee of Vultures rise bright above the montage of Oak trees. As for me, I’m trying to raise my voice in this dungeon where I am. I spy a reason for living where death is a sanctuary. Death is a kettle. Death is the horizon above our eyes, where vultures circle the dead like a black Ferris Wheel alight in the sky. Whoever killed the monsters in my head left the meat on my memories. I’m waiting for the Committee to decide my fate. I’m curious if, each time I revisit the past, a vulture takes flight? My friend Michael reminds me there are stories I wish I could tell without being part of them. That I can’t just drown the past in a lavender bath. When the vultures of my mind finally swoop down to the ground, their bodies are furious and free. I’m not so sure I can say the same for myself. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve never buried the memories that kept me suffering and alive. What I’m trying to say is, there are vultures in the sky of my mind. Aren’t my memories a carcass by another name? I have a million stories where I am not the hero nor worth saving. Trauma tells but does not teach. Please don’t tell the vultures I’m here—all alone in my head, rotten and writhing—like I’m waiting for some bird in the sky to eat the idea of me like an elegy waits on the other side of my wake. Every day, I hold a wake for who I was and who I could have been. When the boy inside me lost his innocence, it was a life sentence. Sometimes I thank God I am not him. Why must I be a witness to my horrible history? The Bluebonnets come alive every Spring because it is a ritual. When someone dies, the family displays the body like a shadow everyone can all touch. A goodbye ritual. A wake. Have you ever seen group of vultures feed on a carcass together? A goodbye ritual. A wake. Ever confuse mythology for biology? It is a mistake to think every god-forsaken trauma entrenched memory is something we cannot help but inherit. What I mean is, driving down I-10 and seeing the vultures patrol the sky, I realized it is a blessing to know there is another creature who only survives on suffering alone. But in the spirit of honesty, I only have time for joy. Spring brings so many things back to life, I can’t help but smile at the power of wildflowers. I’m too sensitive not to smile at the sunshine. Even if there are shadows in the sky, I still choose to try. In the spirit of honesty, this song I’m singing is a prayer. I say, raise your voice in this dungeon where I am and a laugh blooms on cue from the woman I love. And I cannot allow myself to be destroyed.

11/30

LOCAL MAN GULPS STATE’S BEAUTY OVERNIGHT Last night, local poet and native Texan, Zachary Caballero, watched the sun spill into a field of bluebonnets, when he decided to open his mouth and gulp the beauty of it all before it set, devastating his body, scorching his throat, all in an attempt to store his chest with heaps and heaps of gold, his closest friends report. Mr. Caballero’s mother found the twenty-two year old optimist passed out drunk on her front lawn this morning, when thousands of Texans woke to find the sun weeping. Nearly every river ran scared when they woke to an empty bed for the first time. There is nothing left to sing about, as swarms of Mockingbirds roam the bruised body of God’s country, searching for life in the belly of a man, for what remains is not due to what is left, but who is left? The sun set last night at seven twenty-six p.m. The temperature stayed a faithful seventy degrees, while the entire day tried to stay awake, until all the petals, and all the trees, and all the people that spend most their time trying not to leave, arrived in the thirsty mouth of Zachary Caballero. Friends of Mr. Caballero claim he has always had a big mouth, with an even bigger heart. They know this because he swallowed himself whole once, and came back by Spring. They know this because he weeps at the grocery store whenever the mangoes go away. They know this because he has kept the grey of every day, and refuses to say so. So they say. Numerous attempts have been made to communicate with Mr. Caballero, as thousands of Texans are wondering when they will look at something beautiful again. It is difficult to tell how the wildlife have been affected, but it is assumed that unless the state begins again, even the predators will have to pray.  When asked to comment, Mr. Caballero opened his mouth without a single word falling out. Instead, the water returned to their bodies, and went back to bed. A chorus collapsed half of West Texas as mockingbirds heard the silence turn to stone. He took every part or particle of God from his oddly-raptured body and gave the gulf back its grief, scraped his bones clean of mercy and saw the devil towns disappear when he was done dancing. When his mother discovered her son, she saw him wearing the smile he was born with, and when asked about her son’s peculiar behavior, she simply replied, “He does this all the time.”