The Big Blue Sky

The mid-afternoon dazzled, I dashing uphill to meet my friend,
Breathlessly flashing my sparkling new peter-pan collar.
Lovely, isn’t it, I squealed? Brashly enough to whitewash the not-so-new
fading blue corduroy that flaked around my knees,
My wobbly legs protruding in an abundance of joy and childhood.
Let’s race to the top, I mouthed: there, where no one will see us, where no one can stop us,
where no one shall make us behave como las chicas we’re supposed to be
instead of these wild creatures we are—loving the world…
We streaked to the crest of that hill, chanting our joy, our exuberance
at being alive, me not caring that mami and papi slaved away
trabajando, or perhaps not not caring, but no queriendo comprender,
because we were children and we loved our lives and the merry-go-round
and rolling down the hill so that my blue corduroy skirt became grass-stained & muddy
but it didn’t matter: I just wanted to love the sun and the clouds
and the big blue sky looming above.

When we reached the apex, I unfurled my arms to the sun, to the sky,
to the fluffy white clouds scampering like dinosaurs rampaging wind,
and I laughed at the speed of their getaway: where were these clouds going?
My friend and I threw ourselves to the ground
and slouched down, legs sprawled and arms outstretched:
we saw bears and whales and hyenas scuttling through the blue,
the face of God blowing them forward in an exodus of flight.
Part of my mind brought back my mami ironing the three hand-me-downs
I would wear to la escuela next week, plus the shorts she scrounged to buy me
because I came home one day llorando the boys would pull up
my blue corduroy and laugh at my pantaletas de refugiada…

I didn’t want to think of my mami and my papi’s toil.
So instead I thought of the tarantula my papi brought home one late afternoon,
its big hairy body with its multi-colored legs crawling about, trapped in a jar.
Wanting to please his flock of children—
this was one of the few things he supposed might bring us joy…

I would delight in telling my horrid schoolmates I was first to witness una tarantula viva,
yet my mami scolded: ¿cómo se te ocurre traer algo tan peligroso a la casa?
How dare you? she thundered. This horrid creature is poison!
Don’t we have enough troubles without having that insect escape, biting one of the children?
My mami could see no fun in the spider: she only fretted about doctor bills, worries.
But my papi murmured, head hung low,
it was crawling about, camouflaged among the stems of bananas.
The boats are filled with thousands of pallets,
and I’m sure a few odd insects come on board for the ride.

Much later I found out this was the festering legacy
the United Fruit Company shipped weekly…
I knew it was hard labor what my papi did:
for months he carried those giant banana bunches on his ailing back,
hora tras hora each day,
Moving them out of those massive white boats
reflecting the sun so as to keep the temperatures down.
The company cared more about the stems of bananas
than ever they cared about workers.
For measly pay, my papi slaved, his life in tatters.
El dinero no era bastante to feed the entire lot of my brothers and sisters,
yet it was the only job he could get—not speaking the language—
at least the United Fruit Company paid him enough to help us survive…

I closed my mind to it all.
I would look at the clouds now lingering across the big blue sky,
I would forget my mami and papi and even my best friend Marlenè,
I would stargaze, that big blue sky with the clouds swimming by,
I would fill up with dreams we could survive these painful days
crammed with worn-out corduroys and many-legged tarantulas,
bursting with broken English and sueños perdidos.
I gazed at the clouds and peeking past them
I would create a colossal benevolent snow-woman
kindly showering me with gifts, fantasías y dragones
dancing through the red blue sun-streaked skies.
I kept staring at that big blue sky as it turned orange sunset.
I would forget Marlenè and my mami and papi,
I would forget the tarantula and my refugee panties…
And then as I conjured the azure skyline turning violet orange
with the clouds ambling off dreamily past the horizon,
I witnessed a splendorous phoenix emerge,
its magnificence overwhelming,
giving me fuerza,
the strength to get up, to go down that hill,
to walk into mi futuro,
Head held high.

© Coro Coras

New Day Dawn

The windchimes quelled with leaden silence.
The stars shone glory in their predawn dusk.
My footsteps rustled, crunched the tumbled leaves
briskly crackling beneath the overhanging eaves.
The wolf dog sniffed the stillborn air,
searching for his morning prey.
Of course he knew he had no chance of darting past,
pouncing on that rabbit ambling o’er the trellis fast,
or the squirrel scampering up the tree limb.
The quiet of the morning air lay thick as fog descending
yet soon the sun would break its silent inkwell,
would streak its loveliness in streams of joy and warmth,
reminding me that even when days’ toil is heavy plight,
these morning walks are miracles that flaunt a new day’s flight.

El amanecer

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

Las campanillas de viento sofocan el silencio brusco.
Las estrellas brillan su gloria en el crepúsculo antes del amanecer.
Mis pasos retumban, crujen las hojuelas caídas,
desmoronándolas bajo los aleros colgantes.
El perro lobo olfatea el aire muerto,
buscando su presa matutina.
Por supuesto sabía que no tenía chance de fugarse,
abalanzándose sobre el conejo que ronda por el enrejado,
o la ardilla que corretea por la rama del árbol.
El silencio que sopla en la mañana se espesa como la amenorada niebla
pero pronto el sol despertará su tintero silencioso,
Lucirá su belleza en corrientes de gozo y calidez,
recordándome que cuando los días de trabajo son difíciles,
Estos paseos de madrugada son milagros alardeando la primera luz.

© Breaking Dawn/Amaneciendo

Ivied Jungle

Incandescent fires malign
the serpent of my desires
as I sit vacantly staring at the
Brazilian instrument that shimmers
like a sumptuous sculpture,
radiant against the brown-skinned tone of wood,
the pellets of its music hanging
string by string to lyric, soundless of
hubris, hungers amalgamated
to form one tone,
one sound,
one pitch of nightfall.

Yet the horse neighs quietly in its corner
and listens to the wood, cold with expectation.

The silence of the snows deepens
in the winter of her discontent
and she cannot shake the shadows
beloved but abandoned,
bemused yet so bewildered…

Where are we headed?
Why do the wind chimes linger when they sing?
When will the headstone cross its picket-line to revel in
that moment of forbidden time?
What will the rood bear if not the burden
of the ancients, the worries of her history,
the tribulations of a life gone wrong?

The masks upon the wall all stare at her
beyond the ages,
the shadows lurk in silenced dreams to shutter her
misunderstood vexations.
But she gets up, looks over at the wind chimes
purposely pealing their yet not blossomed bells,
and then she shepherds slowly over to her ivy,
to her green-eyed forest,
as she begins to water the jungle of her heart.

© Green-Eyed Tangle 2020

Hiedra enselvada

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

Alumbrados fuegos calumnian
la serpiente de mis deseos
mientras me hallo vagamente espiando el
instrumento brasilero que brilla
como una suntuosa escultura,
radiante contra el tono de madera con piel marrón,
el perdigón de música colgando
cuerda a cuerda con la letra, sin sonido de
arrogancia, hambrunas amalgamadas
para formar un tono,
un sonido,
Un paso del anochecer.

Sin embargo, el caballo relincha en silencio por su esquina
y escucha al bosque, frío con expectación.

El silencio de las nieves se profundiza
en el invierno de su descontento
y ella no puede sacudir las sombras
amadas pero abandonadas,
perplejas y tan turbadas …

¿A donde vamos?
¿Por qué persisten las campanillas cuando cantan?
¿Cuándo cruzará la tumba su piquete para gozar
ese momento de tiempo clandestino?
¿Qué llevará la cruz si no la carga
de los antiguos, las preocupaciones de su historia,
Las tribulaciones de una vida que salió tan mal?

Las máscaras en la pared la juzgan
más allá de las edades,
las sombras acechan silenciados sueños para cerrarle
las molestias siempre mal pensadas.
Pero ella se levanta, vela los cascabeles
sonando sus timbres aún no florecidos,
y luego pasa lentamente a su hiedra,
a su bosque de ojos verdes,
mientras comienza a regar la jungla de su corazón.

Día del trabajo 2015

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

El sol fluye a través de los años
en la era blues de Nunca Jamás.
El trabajo arrasa pero la música se eleva,
pedestales duermen desnudos en el monte Coatépec,
y verdoso crece mi valle.
El hombre salvaje de Anáhuac ferozmente gira
cadencias del ecléctico sonido de ayer.
Pero el sublime éxtasis de la música zumba magia.
Se queja de una melancólica flor de glicina,
calma la cadencia que sube y baja,
La inflexión, la entonación que late
el ritmo y el pulso, el canto de los
tempos, arriba y abajo,
mientras balancea mi pulso con frágil andar.

Ehécatl suavemente acaricia los rizos de mi nuca,
y me sacudo una chispa de sudor vacilando en la frente.
Mi mente vaga, se eleva con las palabras
que me susurra al oído el dios del viento
mientras observo a los niños jugando rayuela
a lo largo del jardín enrejado por hiedra.
Una majestuosa mujer indígena
se sienta serenamente, tranquila,
observando a sus muchachos jugando,
saboreando el ensueño de la música
robada de los oídos de los viajeros,
el zumbido de los tambores,
el latido del corazón de la serpiente azul
y los chicos saltando piedras uno dos tres
como la grieta que me lleva de vuelta al
tzompantli que mi hija excavaba
bajo cientos de años de miseria humana.

La construcción de civilizaciones sobre las espaldas de esclavos,
migraciones enloquecidas.

¿A dónde vamos con nuestros sonidos tecnológicos?
¿Nuestros centros futuristas, smartphones, tecnología desatada?

Escucho su voz de falsete elevándose sobre los cielos,
calmando al niño saltando, pescando a su hermano en el juego.
Escucho el cambio de ritmo cuando su aire disminuye,
cuando se altera, modifica, transforma y revitaliza
en otra dimensión, en otra esfera.

Y entonces me siento,
ojeo a los chicos, los veo respirar
el aire lánguido y caliente.
Contemplo a la madre levantarse
firme, incluso cuando los llama:
Es tiempo de irse.

Veo el pedestal, solo un pedazo de piedra,
el enrejado, el jardín de Quetzalcóatl opulento, mantenido,
y me doy cuenta que todo es transitorio.

La música se detiene, el canto termina.
Las voces mueren.

Labor Day 2015

Sun streaming through the years of experience
in an age of Neverland blues.
Labor ravages forward yet the music soars,
pedestals lie naked in Mount Coatepec
and green is our valley.
The Anahuac wild man fiercely twirls
Tunes of yesterday’s eclectic mix of sound.
But the music’s ethereal ecstasy hums unearthly.
It whines wistful wisteria,
it lulls a cadence that rises and falls,
The inflection, the intonation that beats
the rhythm and pulse, the lilt of the
tempos up and down
as it swings my pulse into fragile stride.

Ehecatl softly caresses the tendrils at the nape of my neck,
and I wipe a bead of sweat hesitating on my brow.
My mind wanders, it lifts with the words
the god of wind whispers into my ear
while I peer at the boys playing hopscotch
along the trellis bound garden.
A beautiful indigenous wisp of a woman
sits serenely, self-possessed,
watching her boys at play,
savoring the reverie of music
stolen from the ears of passersby,
the humming of the drums,
the beat of the blue snake’s heart
and the boys skipping one two three
as the stones crevice and take me back to
the tzompantli my daughter excavated
underneath the hundreds of years of human misery.

Civilizations built on the backs of the enslaved,
migrations gone amok.

Where are we going with our technosounds,
our buzzing centers, our smartphones, our technology unbound?

I listen to his falsetto voice rising up above the heavens,
soothing the child jumping, catching his brother at play.
I hear the change in rhythms as his air diminishes,
as it alters, modifies, metamorphoses and re-energizes
into another dimension, into another sphere.

So I sit back,
and I look at the boys, I see them take a breath
in the hot languid air.
I watch the mother get up,
erect, even as she calls for them:
it is time to go.

I see the pedestal, just a piece of rock,
the trellis, Quetzalcoatl’s garden built up, tended,
and I realize that all is transitory.

The music stops, the singing ends.
The voices die.

© Quetzalcoatl’s Garden

Domingo de Pascua

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)

El silencio de Eisenberg grita huelga
mientras la triste y atormentada música
y en mi alma el
profesor ambulante aúlla
este domingo de pascua.

Duro, duro es el mundo llorando.
Cruel, severa, discordante, me pongo de pie,
Arisca a los poderes de la acería,
al rigor encadenado
y los vacíos barriles del hedor deslumbrante
de hombres sudando
y el balido del ganado

me caigo.

Pero luego la música me atrapa.
Me rodea en espasmos
de ensueño,
mientras peregrino
en lo profundo de mis enselvados sueños
en lo profundo de mis entrañas
en lo profundo de las cuencas de mi muerte.

Mis clases de verano han sido canceladas.

Easter Sunday

Eisenberg’s silence screams strike
While this sad sorrowful music hauntingly
And in my soul the
adjunct shrieks
No one
on Easter Sunday.

Harsh harsh is the world crying.

Cruel severe discordant I stand,
Abrasive to the powers of the steel mill,
To the chained rigor
and the empty barrels of the stunning stench
Of sweating men
And bleating cattle

I fall.

But then the music bowls me over,
Sweeps my head away in spasms
Of reverie,
While I wander
Deep into the forest of my dreams
Deep into the reaches of my entrails
Deep into the sockets of my death.

My classes for Summer Session have been cancelled.