Monday, October 23, 2017

Grief Is Such a Cruel Turd

Grief Is Such a Cruel Turd.

This year, twenty seventeen,
Is among the hardest I’ve ever seen.
The weeks and days
Have been hard on me,
Prior to and including
October twenty three
Because Grief continues
To bare his teeth and bite me.
This I know is not absurd:
Grief is such a cruel turd.
The last few weeks.
Leading up to today.
Have stung my heart.
Shading my world dark and gray.
Grief slithers up to me
With his lips turned down
And he slaps me so hard
I can only cry and frown.
Some years, Grief waits
And crashes in after
To steal all my joy
And squelch all my laughter.
There is no way to avoid him.
He’s integral to life.
And he comes bearing gifts
Meant to reduce my strife.
But his one hand I have to hold
Allowing  his other hand to be so bold
That it will rip from deep within my heart
Those protective layers
That have been my protective slayers
Of unfathomable loneliness and pain.
He rips loose one layer at a time
As if our sons’s death were MY crime.
The first layer he rips loose
 is “love no more”, 
he tugs and pulls
Making a bloody gore
Of my sanity.
He continues soon after
by ripping “hug no more”
and “see no more”.
It really burns when he rips away
“laughs with no more”
and” touch no more.”
My tears flow as I cry
And wonder why
Must I
have to sit with Grief
Through all these years?
Haven’t I shed
More than enough tears?
Grief is such a cruel turd
I feel it is so absurd
That life is this way.
But now I’m able
That I know
I can be with other vilomahs*
Who’ve lost their glow.
And our painful stories we can share
Because we’ve learned how to care
In this most difficult way.
So now, all I can say
Is, "Grief is such a cruel turd."

*A viloma is a bereaved parent. I means: out of the natural flow, or out of the natural order.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me Too. Yo Tambien.

Me Too. Yo Tambien.

What have we taught our young men?

It starts when they are young,

When their lives have just begun.
“Stop crying like a girl!
You’ve got to grow up and twirl

The world on your finger.

Don’t be weak like a girl and linger

In tears that only bring fears forcing me to switch gears

And beat real manhood into you.

Don’t let me catch you playing house.

And don’t you dare complain or grouse

When I take away your soft cuddly toys.

Those things are for sissy girls not for boys.
Men grab the world by the balls.

While girls look pretty like horses in stalls.
Men fight in wars because they are strong.

Showing your feelings is nothing but wrong.

Bite your lip, stuff your feelings in.

Expressing them shows you’ve given in.

And a real man, you can never be.

You need to grow up and be like me.”

But this is not who we are.

Becoming that will produce a scar

Over our ears and our eyes

So that we will believe the lies

That girls are ours for the taking.

What kind of world are we making?

No more! I say. No more! I demand.

We will not teach our sons that they can command

Any girl, any woman to do his bidding.

He shall respect, be kind and be loving

To every girl and every woman.

For each and every one is a reflection

Of his sister, of his mother, of his daughter.

And he must treat them all

As if he were their son, their brother or their father.
We must teach our sons to nurture.

Without that, we’ll have a painful future.
We must teach them to be kind and to share.

When they grow up, they will care.

They’ll be protective of every living thing.

Making Mother Earth safe for every human being.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Flying Note

When I was eight years old
I was too young to be told
Too young to understand
That I was not wanted in this land.
A note carrying rock
From somewhere along our block
Came crashing through our front room window.
It landed on the floor.
I ran to the door
Hoping that I could score
A view of who had thrown it.
No one was there
As I stood and stared
Up and down our block.
I came back in and picked up the rock
And tried very hard to take stock
Of what had just happened.
I read the words on the note
“Get back on your boat.
Go back to where you came from.
You fucking wetbacks aren’t welcome.”
I didn’t know that it meant
Someone on our block was hell bent
To force us to move away
Right now! Not on some future day.
Tears flowed down my mother’s face
As she wrapped me in her protective embrace.
“They do not want us living here.
We have nothing for them to fear?
We are just like them. Don’t they know?
Where do they think that we will go?
We can’t just pack our bags and leave.
O Dios Mio! It’s hard to believe
That people, who we don’t know,
Could throw this rock to make us go.”
My mother stood up and glared
At the note from one who dared.
“We are going stay right here.
We won’t let racism or unfounded fear
Chase us away from our rightful home.
We’ll stand right here and be strong
Because this is where we belong.”

Friday, October 13, 2017


     Gente is an important word in my culture (nothern New Mexico). Gente is pronounced hen te.
     We always went into Tia Lucia's house through the back door because the front door was reserved for Gente. The front room had to be clean and ready for Gente. When she baked something special she would warn us, wagging her finger, “This is for Gente. Don’t touch it.”
We all knew the importance of that special word.
     One day, after Denise and I had become adults and we were married, we flew to Salt Lake City to visit Tia Lucia. To my surprise she greeted Denise and I at the front door. I wondered if something was wrong. She told us to sit in the front room. I started to worry. She went into the kitchen and brought us some cookies and something to drink.
A huge smile spread across my face as I turned to Denise and said, "Hey! We are Gente now."