Monday, April 17, 2017

The tongue is a fire

allow my tongue
my little flame
to rove the apricot
of your neck
the raspberry of
your nipples
your navel
the small of your back
your lips
the insides of you
to set you afire
so when i’m done
you speak in tongues
of men and of angels.


the sun
dipping below horizons
at certain moments

shakes me
whether blazing and indifferent
or welcomed

drops me to my knees
with its last shafts
that bleed the sky
and earth

making me face
the illusion of darkness
that stills my soul and owns all space
reduces me to tears

except in moments when i realize
that day depends on night
the way that dreams depend on waking.

Love Stanza

love shouts
with tiny hands
at hurricanes
and volcanoes
destroys silences
preceding creations
and never shuts the fuck up

Sunday, April 16, 2017

eternal you

i long to feel you sleep
beside me
curled cool luminosity in the night
merging with my dreams 
breathing my air 
exhaling me born again virginity 
showing me 
depths of you 
never known 
the water of your soul 
containing heaven earth and sky
the you of gods and angels
the you that will never die.


if ever your heart stops 
warming my blood 
raising it to waves 
crashing into my heart
if your laughter stops waking me 
and your breath on my mouth
stops lifting me to heavens i never knew
i’ll give my hands to you
rub your breasts to raise your heart from darkness 
and breathe inside you
all you’ve given me 
all i have

and if my eyes ever stop feeding you 
if my hands become cold 
i’ll stop time and look at you 
feed myself with the sight of you 
and my hands will catch fire

and we’ll then be safe 
if the ground ever calls 
demanding we go 
we’ll go together 
the way we started

your heart making my blood an ocean 
my eyes giving you a universe 
your laughter saving me 
my hands raising you

defying darkness 
making life 
conquer all.

The Ocean

i sought a piece of you
in all the others
the rain of women
who bless the earth
dark eyes and glossy heads of hair
autumn, sand and wheat
i searched but no one has your sound
of ocean waves and winds and calm
you are whole
the sun sets inside you
at night you become heaven
where i belong
where i want to drown.

4-16-17: Ohhhhh fuucccckkkkkkk - I'm back

Hello imaginary audience - hope you've missed me - i avoided these parts for a long time, if you believe in time - not sure i do - so i'd like to catch you up - share some old "new" work that i've done - re-done and so on and, then, hopefully, give you some real new shit - but after I share the old "new" shit - but b4 i do, i marvel at me, my words, the me i 4got, the me unchanged and changed, reflected in the words of old posts - happy and sad reading

ps - the "new" old shit should appear above this post 

Monday, January 30, 2006

In Memory of Maxine Bernice Martinez, my mother

i don’t think of you lying in dark clay waiting

even though just days ago
you closed your eyes
and wouldn’t move

even though i felt your heart's last beat
and begged you and god
for just a little more of your time

i see you kneeling in your garden
surrounded by yellow flowers, cats, foxes and racoons

holding dark earth in one hand, a bulb in the other
turning to me
about how glorious – and that is your word, not mine –
how glorious the bulb will, eventually, blossom
humbly unaware
or unconcerned
with your participation
in that glory.

My Mother Died

On January 8, 2006, at 2:40 p.m., my mother died at Denver Health (the old Denver General Hospital). I was with her when she died, my hand on her heart. I pray that God did not allow her to die but instead scooped her to heaven and embraced her. I also hope to see her again.

Friday, April 15, 2005


and i get all confused and say what the fuck
am i body or am i mind

and who is "I" to ask the damn question in the first place and why dont "I" shut the fuck up

then my mind says "I" must be crazy - talking about the consciousness of the consciousness of the consciousness and shit

and "I" hot boxes the blunt again then draws from a beer

and disregards my fucking mind who/which keeps wondering about the health of my fucking smoke-and-alcohol-filled body.

I've Always Wanted To Do This

this is a shitty poem about a shitty poem
and it goes

blah blah blah

blah blah blah

blah blah blah.


I’m not talking about students at prestigious colleges but about those at Community College of Denver (CCD) where I teach. And I do not mean all of the students at CCD, only many.

It’s crazy. Over the past few years I’ve noticed this trend – if, at the beginning of the semester, I convey to my freshman composition students that my course requires a seven-question weekly vocabulary quiz (for which I provide the words and definitions in advance of each quiz) and weekly homework, at least a third of the students will drop the course.

The vocabulary quizzes include words such as insipid, amalgamate, chaotic, discern and other such words. I give these quizzes to complement the homework which, typically, requires reading a 4-to-10 page article from an academic journal, writing a 2-to-5 page objective summary of the article and contacting me (via email or phone) with a question about the reading.

Because I only give pass-fail grades on these types of assignments, the students do not receive a penalty for their often underdeveloped reading and writing abilities so long as they put forth a good-faith effort in completing the homework.

I give the assignments as a means to practice reading and writing with the ultimate goal of improved skills in these areas. In theory, if the students come to class prepared (but only with their best efforts), then we (the class and I) can discuss what individual students did with the homework and what worked and what did not work.


That theory goes to shit when – typically – within the first three weeks of the semester a third of the students drop the course and many of those who remain come week after week without completing the homework.

I am not unaware of the other social forces at work which compete with the efforts of my students to do well in school. I nonetheless do not understand why so many students continue to attend college without, apparently, understanding that homework (solitary effort and outside-of-class-time academic work) is an integral part of learning.

What the hell is going on? Have students always behaved this way? Am I just becomming an old cranky bastard?

Saturday, April 09, 2005


my grandfather would wake me
and i'd see his hand
mud from dark deserts
against my chest
pushing and beckoning me
into another day

and i would complain
in the most secret
places of my mind
and heart

not just complain
but curse the day

not knowing
the anger that consumed me
anger that lived in deep secret places

of my mind, buried in my heart
anger at my grandfather's son,
my father

for leaving me
without a clue
about my next meal
about my next bed
about my next home

for taking me
to the liquor store
and sharing his whiskey
when we were alone
to bars
places i swear
i will never take my children

and of course
i would obey

my grandfather's hand
because he fed me
gave me a room
a home where

my grandmother gifted me
with tortillas, coffee
salsa of chile pequin and garlic

gifts i swear i
will give to my children

but mostly
i obeyed because
although i didn't know it then
his desert mud hand

the one that had raised my father
that had topped onions
picked cucumbers
built homes out of old train cars
instructed me on the holiness

of roofing
of hammering a nail

in two strokes
had invited me
to a life I did not know
and would have otherwise discarded.

Friday, April 08, 2005

FEET (2002)

i lie next to her
remember your feet
small, warm
rubbing against mine
in your sleep
and want to slip from bed
to walk the many miles
i put between us.

Dreams of My Father (2002)

damn he damn done left us
packed up and blew with the wind
and we know no way to see him again

and the sky everywhere tastes like pollution
from the refinery next door

where weeds, glass, crack vials, HIV, screams in the middle of the night and thugs grow and become all tangled in our sleep.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The 3RD (circa 1990)

After I walked out of my bathroom, I noticed my double sitting in the living-room chair I usually occupy. I walked to my kitchen, adjacent to my living room, and made orange juice. All the while, despite my efforts not to, I kept stealing a glance at the other me.

I don't always like to acknowledge him, to validate his existence, because I feel it reduces mine to some degree. Yet, I don't deny he exists. We speak on occasion.

I stirred the orange juice with a big wooden spoon wondering what he wanted, fighting the urge to ask him.

He began to hum.

He's hummed before and I think it's his subtle way of proving he exists. I hum, therefore I am, or something like that.

I didn't like his tune, his way of proving himself, so I spoke to him.

"Okay, I see you. What do you want?"

He leaned forward in his chair and smiled at me as though he knew a great secret.

I hate when he smiles like that. I wanted to smack him.

"What do you want?" I said. "Tell me what you want or leave."

He grinned, enigmatically, and I nearly threw the pitcher of orange juice at him.

"What the hell do you want! If you don't say something, you'll have to --"

"Do you remember our last discussion about Borges, Gödel's Theorem and M.C. Escher?"

I stared at him, hard. I remembered the conversation. I remembered that I felt inadequate because I didn't understand much of it. I sort of barked at him.

"Yeah, of course. I remember."

He laughed this laugh he has, a laugh that says, I know so much more than you, then began to lecture.

"I should review. You don't look very confident. First, remember that Borges said there are four ways of achieving the fantastic in literature. One was the text within a text, a meta-text. Because it creates a situation where reality is in question, this method, in a sense, contains all other methods (contamination of reality by a dream, time travel and, your favorite, the double).

"For example, if you're reading a meta-text, a novel about the novel you're reading and perhaps even about the fact that you're reading it, you find that such a novel returns on itself, creates, your favorite word, a double. It's a mirror in a mirror and creates a circle, a kind of infinity. When you finish reading such a novel, you're probably questioning the nature of reality and the nature of fiction: Which is which? You look bored. Let me finish by saying that Gödel's theorem articulates what occurs in a meta-text with mathematics and the works of M.C. Escher do the same with art, image."

I yawned.

"So what?"

"Well, I have an interesting idea. Let's write a story that shows the inter-connectedness of Borges' methods for creating the fantastic. Instead of using just one of his methods in a story, let's use them all."

"It's been done," I said. "I'm sure of it. If these are Borges' methods, don't you think he has a story, one story, that uses all of them? He must have one, especially if what you said is true, that the first one, the meta-text thing, contains all the others. You thought you had some great idea, didn't you? Ha! Now leave me alone, my head hurts."

My double didn't care about my head.

"Come on, let's try it anyway!" he said.

"No. My head hurts. Plus, you probably don't know what the hell you're talking about anyway."

He became quiet, leaned back in my chair, then began to smirk.

"If you don't agree to do it, you'll see me every day until you die."

I wanted to rush him and choke him but knew he was too elusive. I had tried it before.

"What do you want me to do?" I said.

"Get some paper and a pen and sit in front of the mirror. Start your story by writing about a man who sits in front of his mirror and writes a story about the possibility of doubles and a man writing a story about a man who sits in front of his mirror writing about the possibility of doubles and a man writing about a man who sits in front of his mirror and so on.

"I'll go inside the mirror (with an identical tablet and pen) and pretend to be your reflection. Thus, in the story, the possibility of doubles is in fact a reality. Yet, you, one of the protagonists of the story, do not realize I'm your double until you see that the ring on your left hand is the ring on your 'reflection's' left hand. Knowing I'm not a reflection, you become astounded.

"Your awe is further increased because, I, your double, tell you that you've found the point where all things -- time, space, matter -- converge, as in Borges' story, 'The Aleph.' Then, you begin to dream about a more certain reality -- a reality where there are no doubles, no points where all things converge, a reality where you're certain you're not a dream."

"I don't get it," I said. "What's the point?"

"Don't you see? If you write such a story, you'll have used all the techniques for creating the fantastic in one story!"

"How about we write a horror story?"

My double sprang from my chair.

"Okay," he said. "Don't cooperate. But remember, I'll see you every day for the rest of you life."

"I was just kidding. I'll write a horror story some other time. Let me find a pen and some paper. I'll see you in the mirror."

I sat in front of the mirror and as I began to write his story, my notion of reality began to change.

I began to feel comfortable knowing that reality is in fact a misnomer and should be called the livable dream, or something like that. I even began to feel superior to the many other humans on the planet that I suspected didn't understand reality.

As I wrote, on occasion I would stop to rest and chat with my double.

I told him I didn't much like him but thanked him for educating me, illuminating me, about existence itself.

He responded amicably and every so often reminded me of his genius.

I, of course, pointed out that it wasn't his genius, but the genius of others (Borges, Gödel, Escher) that led us to our enlightenment.

He agreed but nonetheless accepted his self-praise.

Those moments together, writing, chatting, were probably our best. We had never gotten along so well.

For a few moments, I think we both realized this. I stared at him in the mirror and he stared back at me. I believe we looked at each other with affection, perhaps love.

I began to imagine a wonderful future with my double and I think he began to imagine the same.

I stared into his eyes and wondered if he could read my mind.

Then his eyes became wide and his mouth fell open.

At first, I didn't understand. Then, behind him, in the mirror, I saw another one of us, standing, smirking.

My eyes became wide and my mouth fell open.

The other one of us, the Third, began to laugh, a crazy laugh.

My double jumped from the mirror, nearly knocked me over, ran to my front door, struggled with it until it opened; fled.

The Third was close behind him.

I haven't seen either since.

Rappin’ to Neruda 'bout the Other Night (2002)

she had never heard of you Neruda

i said do you know pablo neruda

does he come here she said

sucking on a cigarette

one of those thin women cigarettes that some kentucky tobacco farmer or whoever the hell makes cigarettes designed with the ingenious intent to make women cigs skinny so that women might connect that thinness to themselves

no i said
i think he’ll never come here (you’re dead pablo – what the fuck was i supposed to say)

did you know i said
you have the body of a woman (stealing some of your lines pablo – i had to steal some of your lines)

no shit she said
i am a woman

ahh – you are so lucky i said

with those red sand thighs
miraculous walls in the desert

casting shadows on a flower so pink

a thirsting flower

a flower ready to surrender

you remind me of a desert

and of a flower waiting in surrender

a thirsting flower

ready to surrender

you, my desert in repose

a desert with a thirsting flower

then she invited me pablo (all because of you pablo – your lines i stole and those i

invited me

hoping for


a rain of softness

a breeze of caresses

and i


with my coarse alcoholic self

said i dig you

really dig you

and dug into her

between the red sand of her thighs

with no regard for the sanctity of her calm (with no regard for the sanctity of you pablo)

not noticing

maybe not caring

her becoming so still

opening her spirit

her heart

a desert with one flower

so that the both of us could feel.


lives go so many ways
like dark sparrows
in the presence of an ornery cat

flapping away
not realizing
the inherent danger, and miracle, of flying.

The tongue is a fire

allow my tongue my little flame to rove the apricot of your neck the raspberry of your nipples your navel the small of your ba...