His Shackles Removed

With clammy hands and weighted feet

I walked through the bare, cold corridors.

The years he spent in La Pinta schooled me

well for the entry traditions.

I was prepared for the stoic man with a gun and baton in hand,

but not the hint of humanity that softened his eyes,

which didn’t quite meet mine.

“Remove your jewelry and empty your pockets,”

he said softly, guiding me through security.

The sound of my heartbeat reverberated off the cold

hospital walls of the inmate ward as we proceeded.

We halted outside the shiny, bulletproof automatic door

at the end of the hall.

I prepared myself, shaking a shiver.

I walked to the bed where he lay,

the kind guard still in back of me.

“You have twenty minutes,” he said.

I stared at the shackles tying his feet to the bed.

The stale acrid odor of death’s dying skin,

diseased by his early sins,

consumed the small bare room.

“I’m here,” I said, grabbing his skeletal hand

and began to sing a song he taught me long ago.

Te vas por que te quiero que te vayas,”

meaning it in more ways than one.

I wanted him to let go,

to remove the shackles

of his life’s burdens that

at one time made him so hateful.

Midlife Crisis

Today, I heard giggling girls
recalling their night
of partying and dancing,
and handsome boys
vying for their attention.

I am a shadow
in their intoxicated display.  

But I hear;
I notice;
I remember…

My mind hazes over
to earlier times
when my thick flowing black hair
whipped in the wind
and my hips
could be spanned
by the hands of a man.

When youth made me
beautiful, thin, bold—
the cause of lust and envy
no one could hold a candle to,
or so I was told.

No longer do my childbearing scars
scream at me in the shower,
Nor do wrinkles of life’s injustice
cry out for Botox justice.
My hair holds no streaks of gray—
natural highlights that say,
“Time does not wait!”

The giggling persists,
shattering my fancy.

No talks of boys and parties
do I enjoy any longer.

Just kids, grandkids, a husband,
and the next diet and injection
to help me feel
and look younger.

Proof of Our Existence

Amable, we now are,
neither friends nor enemies.
The outcome of a typical tragic tale
of teenage youth looking for
love, stability, acceptance.

The days when we embraced passionately
with inexperience
as we explored each other’s bodies
for the first time.

“You’re too young,”
my mother yelled.
“No, we’re not,” we thought,
and did whatever it took
to be together.

Tired of playing the perfect child,
and dispensing my mother’s mistakes.
“Don’t be like me,”
she would always say.

All I wanted was to live
from her controlling ways.
A dream I truly believed
one phone call could bring.
“It’s positive,” the nurse said.
Words that brought my mother shame
and my yearning for freedom.

It wasn’t quite what I had planned.
It wasn’t quite right.
A 16 year old girl
trapped between a dream deferred,
and failing childish passion.
A girl playing house
in a doomed marriage that lasted
more than a year.

First love’s dwindled hope
of happy ever after.  
You, me and her
scattered on the floor of reality
left for me to clean.

She was only two.
A child’s heart broken,
split in two between
me and you.

I had to comfort her,
wipe away her tears
as you moved on;
never growing up,
always standing her up.

Now, she’s a woman,
grown up too soon.
She fell in love
and relived our tragic tale,
a young mother alone
with three little images of you.

The only proof                                                                                                                                                                                                you and I
ever existed.

Those Damn Poets

I envy them their ease

Their flow of words

with the perfect sound

the perfect rhyme

the perfect meter.

I imagine they smile

as they write

their poem

in less than a minute

while I struggle

with sound

with rhyme

with meter.

Damn those poets

with their flow of ease.


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