Skinnin' The Pachuco

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: law school

25/30: SUCCESS

In high school I graduated in the top ten percent of my class,
Guaranteeing my admission into a public university tho,the
Truth is I struggled the first year, stumbled in and out my sadness
Between classes until I did not want to answer the question
Of my own doubt. Finished the year with a 2.2 GPA, decided
To double-major in English & History because words were arks,
Language became a Lark. Hear me now: I took an internship
At a global law firm working 25 hours a week while enrolled
Full-time and also working at the Gap as a sales associate selling
White women skinny jeans, folding their clothes, and earning
a dollar above minimum wage and life moved fast like overdraft
fees and drip-coffee and sleep never came when I called, only
stayed when I asked to leave my bed, and I won’t talk about love
tho its absence did crack me open like a sun on the sidewalks
I’d walk cross campus just to see if the love of my life
could choose the light behind the dark flight of my goodness,
goodness what I tried to do all the time didn’t always work out
tho failure seems far-stretched, like a hamper of dirty laundry
I let rise and fall cause I didn’t have enough quarters to wash
Myself clean, and nothing came easy tho I smiled endlessly
At the storm’s shadow, decided I’d rather dance than be doomed,
So I saw my path form like dust on hardwood, instructions for
The future got me looking for direction, cause I can’t always
Tell the lesson. Success isn’t fiction, it’s a long-distance
Relationship with your vision. Check it: It took nearly
two hundred thousand dollars and seven years to hear
the song of myself and hear music. Have I always been
an instrument? I want to be truthful without being misleading:
I cannot guarantee anything but I know I’m not supposed
To be where I am, tho I am here, tho I walked the plank
of each mistake, spent days ignoring the dual ache
of the heart, of the stomach, of the wallet, and I guess
you’d expect every success story to run like a river
leading into something bigger, but I couldn’t have done
any of this shit if it hadn’t been for decisions made
on my behalf beyond my control, for the standardized
tests I had to consume like fake bread, worrying
and waiting for my future to rise in the oven, and
nobody wants to believe this but I never stopped
writing poems, never stopped returning to the
written or spoken word, even tho I heard my words
were a detour, I still saw the finish line like a couplet
out a Shakespearean sonnet, and whatever is asked
of me, I’m on it. I had to suffer so I could say this.
All my success is a blessing my family sings, and
Look at me, smiling like a lyric they picked
Out like a bluebonnet blooming through Spring,
And tho time gave back what it took, I still look
At the man in the mirror as a bowl-cut boy who
Spent his days in the library, lying his head
Down on the carpet to read the story written
For him to read. In less than a month, I graduate
Law school with honors, and this is now my final bow,
Where I catch the rose tomatoes thrown at me like
My mother’s lipstick crashing against my cheek.
I rewrote the story written for me. Now, let’s start
From the beginning.

21/30: IT DEPENDS

“You happy now, bitch?”
-Buck Moreland, The Wire

It depends cause when I was in Venice with my cousin Marcos I ordered a drink called the Papaya King, and instead of just telling the waitress the name of the drink, I told her I’m ready to declare myself the Papaya King, and for the rest of the afternoon, that’s what she called me, and I drank a sweet kingdom. I became a kinder sovereign to myself. Nobody ever looks at the laws we follow. I’m here to change my constitution and that takes time. Who am I to promise time? I am always giving what I do not have. I want to be less selfish but I want more time for myself. If it weren’t for the places I travel in my head. Dark passengers and all crawling under the flood boards. But that plot is boring. The plot where I could be happy right now is ideal especially since I just went home for Easter, saw my cousins and brothers, saw my grandma and grandpa, saw my aunts and uncles, saw my best friends, and saw my brothers, all the pieces to this puzzled person who processes an infinite number of ideas together at once. I pull a memory like a thread and run through the past and the people who saw me grow. But where I go isn’t always so sweet. Like if I explained to each person I met the number of sad departures my mind takes every moment without ever guaranteeing my return, it’d be too much. But god I love the rush of remembering. I keep the pantry stocked with details. I’m not even looking for the truth and it still surprises me. Admit or forget, admit or forget, admit or forget. Pride is a pickle so don’t call this confession. It’s the lonely in-between I run from. But my hamstrings are weak, the muscle memory is terribly tender. This game of hurt is a worrisome sport. The thing is, I hurt myself more than any contact with a woman could. I make a promise to pretend cause it’s easier to revisit the invisible futures we could’ve had than spitting up the apple. I want to anticipate the taste of temptation, tired of hesitating at the jump, just want to be done waiting, but ask me if I’m tired of wanting, or yearning, or hurrying the present like I need my faith in the future sustained cause in twenty-four days I graduate law school with honors and this year I take the bar to become a lawyer and this is history in my family, this is a dream I see on my calendar, like this past Valentine’s day, my first niece was born, crying in the afternoon heat, the love I felt then would’ve destroyed the demons of kingdom, would’ve tossed the tyranny of guilt out like rotten fruit at the end of spring, but spring is still here, and these days, a swarm of birds follow my car home and in my head, it’s the Flying V from Mighty Ducks, and I am not alone anymore, which is such a fucking relief. When people ask me how I’m doing, I usually reply, I’m happy because I’m here, and I’m here. I admit it. I admit it so I will not forget. Today the sunset looked like a papaya pulled apart. I stood in my backyard like a proud Papaya King. I tell my people who want to know, it’s not always yes or no. I rest my case, Your honor.

15/30: THE AUTHOR IS A LAW STUDENT IS A POET IS NOT AFRAID

After Angel Nafis’ “Gravity”

Are you going to get a job How much debt are you in How do you ever have
time Won’t you lose your soul What type of law will you pursue Isn’t the Justice
System Broke Are you going to get a job Aren’t you lonely Doesn’t the work
seem impossible What if you fail What if you fail What if you fail What if
What if you hate your job How will you make a difference You know lawyers
are really good at killing themselves Are you going to kill yourself Why
aren’t you raising your voice Why are you so calm How can you be so happy
You mean you’re not worried at all How do you have any time to write poems
Why don’t you just be a poet But how will you get a job Isn’t poetry dead
Isn’t poetry dying Why do you keep writing How do you ever have time
Aren’t you lonely with all those words Isn’t language big Why are you smiling
Why so grateful How is it you get out of bed every morning How do you care
about people so much How is it you are okay with being wrong How is it
you are lost and calm How How How

How do you have
more energy
than
god

II.

And behind this door, lies the energy of god. The door is my mouth.
Odd isn’t it. I crack a smile, and shadows turn gold. Darkness
knocked-out. I jab with joy. I run the religion of It’s All Good. Nobody
should be this bright. But I ain’t nobody. See my thighs? Christmas trees.
See this face? A night-light. My heart is a furnace full of faith. Watch.
I make the stars Yo-Yo just by picking my nose. Watch. I create without waste.
Out of the frying pan, I’m ambitious like fried chicken. I taste better than
fried chicken. The secret to both fried chicken and love is tenderness.
I’m professionally tender. Lonely only overcooks. I don’t overcook.
If afraid is a kitchen, gimme a cast-iron skillet. Watch. Attention pays me.
I’m rich in moments. From henceforth, the new policy of my sex life will be
caring is cool. Not all poems you love will love you back. Each time
a person says poetry is dead, I open my mouth. Resurrection for breakfast.
Every season is on my reading list. The river is a clock. Watch. I got softer
hands than time. I don’t do Brunch, but I’ll eat your How Does He Do That
For Brunch.Language is the only umbrella that won’t quit on you. Failure’s
got bad breath and success tastes like strawberries. I fucking love strawberries.
I can bury you with sincerity. Batman swears to me. If I fall, I get back up.
I’m not worried. Grateful is my toothpaste. I brush my teeth every day.
If you want to kiss me, you gotta say please.