my old sex
led me
to this sex

i read things
about your old sex
long after our sex

and those are not
poems of vengeance
of your old sex

instead i can keep
my own old sex
in the playbook
in my hips and hands and lips

the old sex
is not nearly
as good
as our sex

i don't have an attic -
all i have are poems

July 4th

two days by the lakeside
is never enough to clear my mind

last night you and i fucked
two-and-a-half times
(the last one, i wanted to just
lie there inside you, but you
wouldn't take "i love you"
for an answer)
you told me i could be careful
but careful is something that i
just don't do
so i put one on

there is nothing but well-done burgers
and warm beer here at the rented lake house
where my cousins and i celebrate
July 4th

last night i slammed my glass
on the counter - the burning of
my good friend José down my parched
throat - you gently placed
of your own
on the counter

the neighbor's dogs run after
the kids on our side of the beach -
giant vulgar German Shepherds

your dog was barking when i kissed you
he thought my leg
was his own
we closed the door
so that he could not share
our love

this lake does not have a bed
but a sofa instead -
leather, i keep slipping
under the blanket i stole
from my cousin's back seat

your bed had a canopy -
something stolen from India
in your mother's trip abroad
to help the orphans -
it jingled from the gold
chains hanging from the posts
and the orange-red curtain
kept the sun out
for a few more hours at least

the kids go inside
because the neighbors want to smoke
while they watch the fireworks
and God forbid a kid knows
what a cigarette is
before they know to hate them

you took out the battery
from the smoke detector
and took out the bag
and the pipe
from the jewelry box
that your father bought you
at the Art Fair -
he knew what you kept in it
but he didn't live there anymore
so it didn't matter

when i awake from my
almost slumber
my cousins force
eggs and sausage and
tortillas down my throat

you inhaled and i inhaled
you looked away and grabbed
my cheeks, leaned in
to kiss me
and from under my lips
i felt the smoke in my mouth
and i just leaned back
like you were laughing

the car ride back
to the city
is quiet:
the kids were asleep
and i can't tell you anything
about the night before

we awoke
the smell of liquor and smoke
over our breath
the smell of love
over our bodies, especially yours
the shower was warm
your skin shivered
as i took control of the water
we were silent the whole time
until i caught the bus

i called my cousin
the next day
told him
i had a rough night
and a day by the lakeside
would clear my mind

Field Trip to Southwest Detroit

[for Latino Studies - Fall 2008]

on the highway
you can see the bridge
to Canada
which is strange
when you see
a giant Aztec snake
on the roadblock

(did we go the wrong way?)

First Solo Drive to Ann Arbor

[August 2007]

i saw the Devil's face
on US-12.

it took the form
of a thousand trailers
coming from a rained-out race
at the Speedway.

i thought it would surprise me
to see so many Confederate flags
in Michigan.

but it didn't.

Poems for Adrian

i notice that there are none.

perhaps because all of the trees
have a hint of grey behind them
from not only our smoke
but Toledo's and Detroit's.

perhaps because we are so close
to that land that we lost
in that war
150 years ago

and who wants to remember a loss?

perhaps because we are somewhere
between Toronto
and Tenochtitlan
(at least you would think so
with the lick of Spanish
by which i was raised).

Tecumseh has far more trees
and things to write poems about.


that deer in the middle of the road
(that mild June day)
reminded me of you
when we got to the lake:

his eyes were wide like yours were
when i was pumping into you
in my aunt's bed
with the white puffy blankets
and the thin white striped sheets

i remember we found the lube in her drawer

he was frozen like you were frozen (the deer),
not making a sound
as the bed made scratches on
her newly-refinished hardwood floors

(i wonder if she made them from trees around the lake)

your eyes were wide like the deer's -
checking the clock
asking me when she would be home
to find the scratches on her floors

we would have had plenty of time
if i could finally finish this thing

you were my first
but i was far from yours;
it made me think that i was boring you

you didn't take off your shirt
because of mild June
i had burns on my chest
for days after

the lake water did not help
when we went swimming after

i imagined you cleaning yourself
in that murky lake water
after i came on your arm
(for which i am still sorry)

the deer stood there in the daylight
as you lied on the boat deck
while i drove us out to the middle
where our feet would not touch the seaweed

i know that deer can't swim
but you were still so frozen in the road

under the pontoons
i imagined your suit being torn off
and the lake water (brown
but still somehow clear)
rushing into you

like how i almost rushed into that deer
in the road

Driving Down Beecher Street

[Adrian, Michigan]

the prison looks unusually bright today;
perhaps the grey of the sky
makes the red brick seem much more brighter
than the barbed wire and concrete walls

the old Dyra plant
is something else now -
Aunt Gloria used to work there
like so many other boys' aunts

and like so many other boys' aunts
Aunt Gloria was laid off
like Dad was all last year
that old plant

where Uncle Johnny used to work
is called something else now
he claimed it was retirement
but the pink slip called it something else

over the train tracks
(that made me late for school so many times)
there's that tacky pink store
that Tia Janie's neighbors bought

years ago - it's now neon pink
(almost as bright as the prison)
they named it after their daughter
like Comstock did 160 years ago

signs in Spanish shock passers-by
i still can't read them

A Car Crash

winter -
we know it well
until we face it again
and we have to drive

Adrian to Traverse City
is five hours
(six if it's snowing)
the snow reminds me of the paleness
of your thighs

223 becomes 127
and five hours becomes four

death becomes clear
as the semis move Chrysler parts
from Toledo to Flint

Christmas was such a lovely season
but now the snow is melting
as it blankets Highway 10

i can see you in my windshield

the semis
this time carrying milk
from Hillsdale to Mt. Pleasant
creep over to the side of my mother's Ford
and i can only do so much swerving
before i'm off the road

bear crossing outside of Cadillac
(an hour left or so)
i have never seen a bear
in Michigan before

part of me wants to wrestle one
and bring it to your father
as a token of my manliness
(my father taught me to bring a gift
if someone lets you stay in their home)

i lose track of highways
16 - 17 - 18
finally 19
miles until T.C.

i call although
the snow is rough,
drifting over the highway
as i drift over the state

your father asks
if i have snow tires
and i tell you that there are
no such things in the South

a semi
reaches over and merges
in front of me
and i can't slam my breaks
because of the drifting

i slammed hard into Traverse City
i slammed hard into you

For Lana and her Paper Crane

Lana: you gave me
a paper crane -
maize and purple -
and i handed you
creativity - arts - engineering
in a brochure
of green -orange -white

you told me yours was better

and i have to believe you

barred from sin,

barred from sin,
we rebels
shook our firsts
to god
in the form of
our hips


it's all in the "A"

not mine

though somehow
i wish
that i was the one
behind those soft hips
into which i fell

last night:
i remembered that name
not crossed out among the others
when i was supposed to be writing
about Dryden

that list of names
from Mother Rome
(i'm hellbent on making you
Puellam Romani)

"F is such a hard letter"
"that has too many L's"
"remember: it has to pass as Spanish"

we scrolled down waiting
for something
to strike us

"what does that one mean?"
"of the sea"
"no, i hate the beach"

finally one struck me
and i struck you with my lips

means 'alter server'"

"it's pretty."

"i love it"

we were in bliss
thinking that something in your belly
would be named "Camilla"

we will think of a middle name later.


after lying, possibly making
we lied in bed thinking again


lying in my rumpled bed
the heat staggering upon
our melded skin
we nearly slept

then i remembered
that name you told me
so long ago

i remembered the horror that i imagined
you alone on the tile floor
bending over and over
until it was over
until she was over

i remembered that night
blanketed in tears and deep breathing
that name you pressed upon her
as you felt her swimming

i though of that
mentally writhing myself
onto you

isn't it the same?

isn't it all just the same
only a little more south
and more temperate?

you said the first was not the same
as the inbetween

so no

to The Former:
let this not steal
your ghostly thunder

to Camilla:
it's all in the A


you were Leda, though not touched
by a swan, beaten not by pure
white wings, but in a roughness
his palms caving in
your breasts
groping madness, pushing down
to your hips; his are not
cloaked in feathers, but dry
scratching flakes of skin
his rhythms smooth, yours
broken and quivering
his breath deep, yours shallow
he is deep, you are shallow
your neck untouched but everything else

(perhaps if he were a god
you would have felt power in his poundings
but my horrified soul
doubts it)


[for Allison]

if i could be a pill
to pulse through your veins
and take away these thick black troubles
from your muscles
i would.

if i could be that cool
drink of water to soothe your
parched throat and carry
this blueness down below
i would.

if i could be that burning
that takes your skin and releases
all of those murky pulses
from your flesh
i would.

if i could be that one kiss
to hold those beasts at bay
with a warm tongue and dry lips
and to let you take all your troubles and put them in my mouth
i would.

i will.


[26 January 2010 - 6:48 AM]

my cousin's friend's borrowed car
red, rustic, shotty in ways
but somehow able to burst off the line
in a rumbling

myself, the aspiring screenplayist,
must take those awkward nonsensical scenes
across town -
i have twenty minutes

i seize the keys (in a retro manner
if at all possible) and open
the creaking door, sink in to the
uneven seats, hear the engine (almost as old

as me) putter itself in shaking
the shifter is stuck, my hand strains
to pull it back into "drive"
but it jerks and falls to the road

all in all the drive is smooth:
i am rushed but the traffic is none
i know the way like the back of my hand
which is now white from grasping the wheel to hard

i find the place, the final resting place
of my silly lines, and pump my foot
far too hard into the break
and my scenes go thumping onto the floor

strewn with wrappers - candy and fast food -
and bottles - water, soda, thick sports drinks -
and now my pages
so i panik and begin to gather them

one falls beside the passenger seat
and i cannot reach it;
so i open the door the try to slide
my toowide fingers down the slit

and as soon as the door creaks open
i hear a nestling under my pages -
i look down to see a black streak
jumping out of the window

i jump back in my seat,
the springs jostling as my body
waves about in cheap foam and cotton
my hands are now on my mouth

i lean over, look out the door
to find that the black streak
of anything, really,
was a massive smooth black rat

his eyes were red and his teeth gleaming
next to the rust of the door
he looked up at me, with piercingness
on his face

then bolted away
and i, in some halted breath
leaned forward
to pick up my pages

an attic (strange because i don't
have an attic) filled with my family's
superfluous things:

baby Navarro things
Mama and Papa Navarro things
things bound in gold (strange because
my family is so much more silver)

looking around, marveling at such things
my head turns a corner
deep and dark, speaking of which -
he is there!

that blackness again!
i see not his gleaming eyes
but instead the slivers of his fleshy tail
and the scurrying of his legs on the floorboards

i jump again
my father (seemingly from nowhere)
drops a trap on the floor
(fake plastic cheese works too well)

scurrying toward then
i have never seen a neck snap
and even then i still have not

my father picks up his prize
more valuable than the silverless gold
and holds it by its tale
(i think back to stories at my great-grandfather's funeral)

he throws it back on the floor
("dad, why?!")
and it rushes over to me
and i (not thinking) pick it up in my left hand -

my good hand - by its tail
and with the grace of a falling cat
it bends itself backwards
and tears its teeth into my arm's flesh

later my room
but not that room the other room
and the shining metal box
on my floor

i wait above my bed
stealth and quiet are all i have
and that metal box
of course

from under my bed i feel it
scurrying again
(i thought it was dead!)
and it leaped out and took on that box

head on.
it leapt in, metal blades chomping down
on his giant nose,
its thick neck and burning eyes

a squeal, a cry, noises ungodly
then silence
silence is my cue to look
silence is my sign of clarity

i lean over that metal box
and take my eyes and still
somehow still
the blackness moves

then i awake
to the sounds of Atticus scratching on my door
and i panicked because
what more is a cat

than a more civilized rat?


I am i

Eliot told me that to be personal
was to bleed on a page;
to make a poem an entrapping for
those who wish to steal away from itall

Fritz told me to never assume
that the "I" is one
because when you assume,
the one gets stared at in awe

Gillian told me that to be personal
was the ultimate form -
but to be the "I"
is something we cannot risk

Lolita told me that to be personal
was more than okay
and she will ask me how or why
a poem came to be an "i"

so now i will say it

i remember once i drew elephants
on my love's back
i told her "this one is you
and this one is me"

i am not an elephant
and nor is she
but i am an elephant
and so is she:

someone told me once
that elephants are the only creatures
(other than man)
that can feel love of some kind

so maybe we are elephants
because we can feel love
of some kind
but we are not elephants

if i were an elephant
an elephant would be "i"

I am i
whenever a solitary i is present
remember that a solitary me
is on that page

For Eliot:
let my i be your escape
think that you want to live
this life that i see

through rose-colored eyes,
drenched in sunlight
and bathed in moonlight
where i can once again love

For Fritz: you were told never to assume
because when you assume
the poet gets jammed into
a life you want him to live

but don't you want me to live this life?

the live of love and beauty?
a life of incurable wonder?
a life where i can look down at children's
smiling face and smile myself?

i want to live that life
want to live
that life

For Gilian: remember when you told me
that Plath couldn't be Plath on that page
even though there is proof that Plath is that Plath
on that page?

i will give you all of the proof that i can
that i
am the i
on that page

For Lolita: why I am i
is because i
am such
a small thing

but a small thing
with such large great wishings
dreamings, lovings,
and things desired

when you reject my poems,
you are rejecting i

will be good
will remain
will conquer
will be the one you look to when the darkness comes
and you need a little light

and all
can tell you
is that i

am i


i didn't win.
but if i did, it was some kind
of hollow victory:

maybe in some thought
of masculinity
i hoped to make something

roll down your face
so that i would feel alright
about doing the same thing so many times before.

you are not a girl;
you are a woman, not a machine
or some fragile Wordsworth's Lucy Gray;

you are more like Helen of Troy:
causing ships to sail and fires to burn
and Ireland to burn to rubble (like Yeats described) -

but machine? no.
i have to think that you are not a thing
because things cannot love.

you told me you love me -
my coffeemaker cannot say that
(as much as i sort of want it to).

you are not a microwave or an automobile -
but if you did break down, i would not think it
a victory

because then i would have to fix whatever ale'd you
and i'm no good with tools;
i'm no good with words.



the human eye
holds attention longer
and seeks only what it

look on
lists, tables of contents,
all of these things
looking only for what

if i use the word
(see, you jumped a little!)
you jump a little
and flip to it
to read about

why my poems
will never lead you on
i promise

with big bold letters
on the top
of the page
or in the middle of a page
or across from some dots
with a number by its side

i've always wanted
to write a book
of poems
where the page numbers
were off
so when you flip to
that poem
you will read another
that had nothing
to do
with the title
that you read

i would title a poem
and make it about
my first Communion

just to tease you

but instead
i let the poems
for themselves

unless, of course
i can tie it up
in a little red box
(i wish i had a little red box
to put the Devil in...)
with a bow
in BIG
to make you think
about what it all is
then i will

or if
the title means
then it happens
to be

like my poems -
if they make sense
then the happen to be
as is

without a silly little hat
on top

just because someone wears a cowboy hat
doesn't make them a cowboy

my mother

my mother
is now forty-four

a mother of three
two daughters
one son (ay kay ay me)

a grandmother of four
(three alive, two about to be alive
so those only count as half)

a wife
not behind her man
but beside him

i remember
age sixteen:
my father was home cooking
not cleaning
like we did every Friday
my mother came home
and was furious

i had heard of fathers
coming home
and yelling at mothers
because the house wasn't clean

that was the last time i remember them yelling

the new veil draped over your head

the new veil draped over your head
has a redness that sinks into your brain
and brings blood to your thoughts

as blood is on mine -

the blood that you got from Eve
after the Fall -
the blood that tells us
that we are still too young
(although not really at all)

two bottles empty

two bottles empty
sitting on a faux-wood nightstand
as two breaths draw

it's not the beer -
a thick Irish stout
like a blanket on our throats

it's the day
that grazes our eyes
with slumber

and what is it
that entangles our limbs

perhaps the beer
(almost as thick as our limbs together)
but something much
is what i think



rebirth given
by the turn of a calendar page
on your wall

that poster
with the balding man
trying to smile
as he thinks
haunts me sometimes
while you sleep

i thought of tearing it down

is a strange month:
it is beginning
yet here
(in Michigan, at least)
there is nothing but death -

the trees are long dead
the grass under the snow
remains firm and brown
which puzzles me
because snow is water
i thought

how Gregorian!
how droll!

the sounds of garbage trucks
taking away a bum's only chance
for a meal -
aluminum coins
now gone

i am less hungry now
than in December


[MY DAUGHTER will be elaborated after this. I promise her]

you, my boy, will be one with nature
(no matter how much your mother laughs at the idea)
i will teach you how to climb trees
until you reach out to the clouds
i will teach you to hunt for flowers
because i would not want you to kill
(for mine and your mother's sakes)

the only thing that you will kill
is the competition for state finals
in whateveritisthatyoudo

come watch your father lecture
and remember why he wrote
this poem in the first place

i will teach you how to talk to women
(or rather how not to talk to women)
i will teach you to talk period
remember son:
your father is a poet
your mother is a poet
and if you can't tell a poet anything,
then you can't talk at all
because we are used to telling the world
about everything

especially you


within the real:
are our words
that i
scrape my teeth
(like your nipples)
and taste

you have real
as real
is all you
ever knew -
your vision is clear
and twenty/twenty
because you had to look
straight into the eyes
of real

around me
there is real
just shrouded
by my eyes tinted
by the sun and the moon

Emerson at the Movies

you sat reading Emerson,
told me he was just like me -
how i would like him:
function, beauty.

i was writing a screenplay, remember?

i thought of you on a stage
pretending that you were a black woman
who overcame adversity to go to college
or some Broseph explaining how he thinks he raped
his girlfriend
after the senior prom.

strange how nothing is a given anymore.

seven pages in and shit i have no clue:

you told me how Emerson became so needy
but wouldn't you be so too if your son died?

when you told me that you didn't think
that we could handle that pain.
i thought of how i would.
i thought of how i would want to be there -
even if you threw me out of the bathroom
i would still wait outside the door

then i would leave.

the screenplay is twelve pages in.
Emerson is done, for now.
we kiss goodnight with more than just our mouths -

this is beauty -
this is our beauty
do you wish that i
was the first?

can we pretend?
like my screenplay.

can we imagine?
like Emerson.


my stomach full of toomany eggs
bacon, sausage, biscuits last night's late night
turkey sandwich
and leftover sushi,
oh, and that sherbet we ate
at eleven:thirty -
fuck, and the coffee and water;
those three pickles

so many things revolve around me being full these days
(in more ways than one *miniacle laughter toward you*)

three moons wrought,

three moons wrought,
your thighs kissed with my
tongue, dry and parched,
the minions of my fingers
bursting through the caverns

are your inhalations
smooth are your hands
rough are your nails
upon the skin of your
aching breasts



on her birthday

in days i remember you bathed me
(as one would their son)
in scalding waters
and with your hand (rings and all - the scratches
from a ruby and your lost diamond
still fresh on my back)
your thick fingers tracing over me
their nails picking off
mane-like hairs from my shoulders

those hands held mine as we treaded
upon broken concrete next to cars
and strangers who you told me
were no one friendly
i remember you scared me so many times
but now i think it was so that
i would truly cherish those who don't

i placed you high in Christ's eyes
with my poems -
i placed you deep down below the strains
of our carmel skin,
our nightshade course hair,
and our deep deep eyes
with my poems as well

in my poems you were never "Mom,"
and to those i love (other than you)
you are "my Mother,"

for i believe that the "my"
is implied
when i speak to you

and "Mother" is far too much a pedestal
for you

you much prefer getting your hands dirty

through the daylight our minds fell

through the daylight our minds fell
like the stars in the morning (in the east)
we leapt
into pools
within silk sheets and under
down comforters
to drip slowly
and slide gracefully
until we too sank (in the east)
like the stars


i will pick flowers for you
while you rest inside my love,
preparing yourself for the beaming
that is this world -
the beauty that you will take in
with your eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hands
i will tell you all about it
as you rest inside my love:
my hands will rest on her skin
and grip
wishing you to hold out your hand
so that i can grab it
i will kiss her pale belly
and the moistness from my lips will beam
through to your soft forehead

in your cavern you will hear me
read you poems to remind you of that wonder
that i told you of for so long

and i will give you a good Roman name
like mine
(your mother will love you just the same)
so that you never forget that language that made my love
your home now

you will see the essence of one other
in that cavern,
and with that,
you will learn the hows of me and my love
(your mother) -
how she came to grace me
with you and her

and you will be ours

In the Middle of a Chinese Restaurant

[April 2007]

sweet & sour chicken for the boy
almond boneless for my mother
together the smells swirled in the air
and blew themselves into our nostrils
(funny how "blowing' is a somewhat appropriate metaphor
for what i'm about to write)

my mouth was thick from the wanton soup
and the duck sauce on the fried wantons
my mother's eyes were stern, looking at me

her son:
soon-to-be highschool graduate
full-ride to college

yet somehow she was angry
because in this state her son
would never bring her a child of his own
to coddle as she did him
18 1/3 years ago

i put too much soy sauce on my chicken again

the plate was warm but my fingers picked up
that sticky carrot and slurped it into my teeth

it's strange how small talk ends up being small in time
after all, how many things can i say
that my mother did not already know?

the meal was silent without the clanking of our forks
on the plates
and my inherent gulping of Mountain Dew
("slow down," she said to me)

four bites in and my mother looks at me
again, stern
the same look i had received since March
when that tuxedo rental magazine
arrived in the mail

she asked me who i was taking to prom.


i had not thought of it all day
though i had for months:
the one that lied in my bed
just one week before
and held me close to kiss my chest,
to lap up pleasures

my mother had a rosary
hanging in the review mirror of her car
(a small thing, but always seeming to stare at me
when i sat in the passenger seat
next to my mother)

it was odd how the truth was more guilt-ridden than any lie

"i don't know...kinda"

that look became more stern, though i am unsure how:
my mother despises "kinda" and "i don't know"

then i told her
who i wanted to take
after a long gulp of soda

"his name is Justin"

she sat
shaking her head

saying "nonononononono"

still, that was the most tame part:
having to explain to your mother
that you can love girls and boys
is odd -

i thought about drawing a diagram on the back of the zodiac place mat

again again again i explained
and again again again she shook her head

then, out of nowhere:
"don't kill yourself, please."

to this day, Golden Wok reminds me
that i'm queer.

i get beef and broccoli now.

i thought of you unjustly waiting

i thought of you unjustly waiting
for lines



then your breath became rough
and unadorned with ease

how in that blue dress that covered all
your sheerness you knocked on the white
oak door

walked in
saw your mother and father
straightening a tie
and you shut the door

as to not wake your little brother from his nap

you sat them down
and told them
about the lines



about the night he groped you and pushed
his pleasures into you, letting them all
drip through your back
deeply into

and the morning when you awoke
to run onto the cold bathroom floor
to leave behind all of the morsels from the days before

and that time you felt the drip
drip drip
of white pure from your breasts

your father cried
your mother yelled
your father yelled through a wall of tears and sniffling

and you sat there, taking it all in
(like those pleasures, i suppose -
it should have been mine)

Origami (for the Living Arts Brochures)

5,000 brochures for incoming students
engineers, artists, musicians,
everything that i am not

the stacks get bigger
the printer is on its last throws:
thirty seconds per sheet
11x17, cut down to 11x11
(i have an innate fear of paper cutters
and i have the scar to prove it)

quarters, don't crease all the way
only an inch in
use your nail, dig into it
feel the toner flick off into under your nail
that's how you know you're doing it right

those were valleys - now the mountains:
flip over: bottom right corner
up and crease
90 degrees
up and crease
90 degrees
up and crease
90 degrees
up and crease
90 degrees

corners into the middle:
the corners all of the lines should line up
(unless i just fucked up the cutting
which is entirely possible)
white should touch green
white should touch orange
four corners in
only crease the middle
or else it won't close

now pinch the middle -
no, the middle, here,
that's it -
left corner over
right corner under

no you've got...
well try doing it like...
shit, how did you do...

just give it to me

there. like this.

now flip it over
and fix up the creases
make it look nicer...

no, it's not a reject
it's in the "maybe" pile

alright, let's do another

(if this is how arts live
then i don't want to see how arts die)


i sat in the oven waiting for you to turn the dial
165 pounds at 7 minutes a pound = so many minutes

i assumed that you will baste me
since you didn't brine me before
sliding me into the oven, thick with heat
and the air wavy, like concrete before
a long walk down to the pool in summer

in this haze of warmth and heat
my flesh began to crisp
and you began to lick your lips,
open your mouth,
for that first taste of my skin

i wonder how you will pick out the bones
or if you will wrap me in a foil blanket
and let me rest for an hour
before you try to carve me
with your fingers

i'm still moist on the outside
and i will be ripped apart in your mouth,
dipped in a thick creamy sauce
and placed on the tip of your tongue

where i will just fall apart



i was told that and is a nothing
that a nothing seems like filler
fillers are only brutal because fillers
leave less room

you shouldn't have eaten that extra cracker
before dinner
because dinner is now ruined
why would you drink so much water
when there is beer on tap?

but sometimes the fillers are what get left behind
shameful thing, really,
because i love cheese
water is good for you
so maybe fillers are too

maybe and is not a filler:
remember when you were young?
everything was "and then...and then...and then..."
why can't it be that way now?

maybe i just have too damn many things to say
maybe my mind just moves too fast for my pen's own good

more than that:
and is not filler -
and is a connector

it is all about connection:
to the reader
from the writer

thoughts, ideas, words, lines
again, all of one

filler, i think not
connector, i think so
perhaps something will become of and
in someone else's poems

remember LOVE, BEUATY?
connection is LOVE, connection is BEUATY

let us connect
be one
and one
and one
and one
and one....



someone by the name of Ken grabbed me by my throat
one day
and burned me with a cigarette,
(right on my pretty little forehead)
because they would never say "thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous"
in Detroit
and we live in the 21st century
so no one says such things anymore
unless they want to be archaic

perhaps Ken had a point:
maybe i have outgrown thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous,
perhaps the world has outgrown thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous
and just maybe no one wants to remember when they were called thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous

remember when you were called thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous?
remember when you were compared to flowers and summer's days?
remember when you were treated as a queen because you were in the light of one's heart?
remember when the poems of the world made it so that
the nonpoems of the world seemed like nothings
if only for fourteen lines orso?

why take us back to those days? some will ask me
why, my good friends, the chance to remember when i could have been a man -
believe it or not an apple is still an apple if you call it something more splendid -
if thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous are too old
then maybe i am an old soul
but i can't be old because i am young
too young
twenty-1 (like our century)
to remember those days
but i would like to live?

remember when we were young and we pretended to be kings
and queens and knights and damsels?
sometimes i just never grow up -
sometimes i just speak as such because i wish to save someone
(not with a sword but with some poetry)

we were taught that thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous are only used
when slipping into love with our tongues
but remember LOVE?
i write for LOVE
so if i write for LOVE why not speak of LOVE?

in days of old LOVE meant thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous

in days of today, in days of this boy,
who still dreams
to save
and woo
love still means thy/thee/thou/thine/dost/doth/mine/'st/'ous



the ideal human condition in society is to be free -
the ideal human condition in nature is to be free -
the ideal human condition is to be free in the ideal human condition

i grew up loving freedom: the notion that i could color
outside of the lines and that i can try to put a square peg
in a round hole all i wanted because i got to be myself

the self is so true, through freedom we see truly how
we can pump our arms in attempts to reach something
up above us all, above the notion of man, above ideal human condition

so many times i have seen poets go upupup
and think that they can touch the sun, but remember Icarus?
like so many times the freedom can lead to the ocean below

then there are those who think solely in chains
of ideals presented in books of old, the ideas of poetics
passed down to them in a desk etched with hearts and curse words

balance is the mother that bears true creation:
how one can restrain oneself just enough to wring every last drop
of creation from one's mind unto the page

yet freedom, allowing all words and letters to bear something
wonderful, fleeting, bouncing around like radio waves in the air
unto something that is as free as radio free

i can write like that (hell, i am doing it now, right?)
and i love freedom, after all, i live in one nation under all,
so how i love to skew things up and around and over

skewed rhymes in a "sonnet?" sure.
tetrameter instead of English pentameter? absolutely.
i love it all, i take it all, i breathe it all

but sometimes it is fun to put myself in chains
of perfect rhyme and meter and restraint such as
fixed-width font or only so many letters

after all, it when the humans become trapped when
they become ingenious - ready to take on everything
with nothing but a few words and a way to go

i cannot think that the sonnet is all that there is
but sometimes, dammit, i want to be Shakespeare!
i want to woo women (now a) with meter like rose petals

to pluck and pluck and pluck and pluck and pluck
(kerplunk kerplunk kerplunk kerplunk kerplunk)
dammit all if i didn't just use a slant!

when i become Shakespeare, i cannot become Shakespeare:
i become Navarro only forming like Shakespeare
because Shakespeare plus Navarro equals newness from oldness

restraint is the mother of invention, not necessity, for the poet
because i cannot live without water
but poetry is not water - poetry is wine

and like all good drinks it is best
to exercise a little restraint here and there
because dammit sometimes it just makes it taste better



the state of the human condition is shattered
when we see the blood of men and women and children
(o god the children!) on television nowadays -
blood makes me squirm, i don't know why:

perhaps the idea of the body being open
makes me wish to hold my own body together
with staples and twine, anything to keep it
from spilling itself onto the ground

but i think i squirm because the thought of human life
in a red gelatinous form pouring from its body
makes me wonder what in fact made it so
that this essence can escape, taking a life with it

some come from accidents: a slick winter road
here in the Midwest, yet to be salted and tires
just can't hold on for dear life and then life
comes out and covers a tree or pole or the ground that caused all this

(or something of that sort)

but the blood flowing by the means of hands
LORD, how have you forsaken them!
them is those who trusted you in order to make them
alive, filled with life - blood

with this spilling and aching i wonder why
my brethren write poems showing us such rage -
the same rage that makes blood pour from the bodies
of those undeserving

why in this world of blood on concrete and desert sand
do poets wish to keep another blood (anger)
pumping not only through their corse veins
but also in their verses and words and voices?

is there not enough? the cacophony of the matter
lies in rage, lies in ugliness
ugliness in ideas and sickness of the mind
that gets its kicks from watching life pour swiftly (and slowly) from bodies

this poet, this "incurable romantic"
(thanks Lolita) lives for euphony - the idea
of beauty of prettiness and (most importantly)
of love

to keep our minds thinking, churning themselves over
so that when we see that blood seeping from wounds
given by the hands of men
one has to wonder "why?"

all of love - my poems are all of love because dammit
love just makes the world the world -
even those who cause strain in my verse
do so from lack of amorous things:

the love of humanity is what i fight for
and those that threaten that sacred love
that faith that i have striven so hard to retain in myself and man
will be at the hands of my verse

not out of anger, but out of love

what is it i love? beauty
simply beauty in the world that i can taste
and feel and smell and see and hear
and make love to every now and again

remember that every word comes with a little drop
of amor in my poems, and you should drink it in
because it will warm your cold bellies
and make you remember things you love



take my poems and let them live
but not as teeth marks on your flesh-
stinging, widening your sad eyes as my verbs
make you cringe and my nouns send shivers
pulsing through your chilling bones

strangely of death i write but strangely more
not my own
i have seen my funeral before:
my mother weeping and my father dead
and three little boys and a little girl wishing
for something more from their fallen uncle than
"you are not my own"
but that is for my own mind to ponder
none of your concern

i have spent nights stooping hardly
from far too much of too much
and the hair of the dog which bit me
because i bit him first
but that is for my own stomach to churn over
none of your concern

to you i will not shift thoughts to my veiny wrists
or my neck too far bony
or anything that seems to steal my breath from the depths
of my lungs or take my blood
in its pulsing smoothness
because if i wished solely to pull a Plath
or a thing of the like it is
none of your concern

still my harks are subtle next to those
which speak of such things
or take pride in what vulgarness one can put
on a page
what one can do to make another spill out sounds
and cries of disgust

the self is one these pages
and vulgar is not my self
i wish my poems to be whispers in the corner of the brain
where you can draw upon them in times
of something good&pure
or notsogood&notsopure

my self wants to keep your eyes on the poem
for the poem
for my self
but not my self that steeps in darkness
and hides behind functions of the unholy body
or death by means of death of the self
or the pills or liquors or smokes that make so many
write nothings
(for what are things if not from the self unaltered?

let my poems grab you and let them hold you
but not for a think gaudy and loveless
let my tears be tears
my body be a body
my soul a soul
my poem a poem

not a cry
not a seizing thing

not for you

my worries are not those which you know

my worries are not those which you know
and perhaps they are news to you
but to me they are things bred from the fact that
i stood alone in cornfields and on rickety stages
at badly painted podiums for years -
for years i was on high, on highest, summa cum laude

through years i met this match and finding out that
not every little boy who can type and rhyme
can make it back to laude

my unfinished nature, the nature of fighting
for something that that RGW told me to
never let beauty willingly die

know this: know that though the mighty have fallen
(Stanly, you were the last)
like all good kings and queens they left a son,
a poet to follow in their eyes, their hearts,
their minds, their languages and feelings

and this son will never let beauty willingly die
even if he is non laude

i blew these skies away with my legs pumping

i blew these skies away with my legs pumping
and my breath unsteady, shaking even,
until the stars began to do something odd -
swirl around my naive head
and fall down to the pit of my stomach
aching for something to eat
and something to give me praise
for my thinkings, for my bearings



the vulgars that fall from these brutal lips
are not those of mine, dry from the heat
that pours off of their poems that stings
my face when read aloud
by god, someone told me that because things
were soaked in plagues and hounded by friars
carrying gold underneath their rags
people needed something to let their minds wander
from the depths: beauty
now that the plagues have gone their separate ways
and the friars have gone back to their temples
to count their gold,
now that the flowers are blooming for once,
the grass is once again stiff on our bare backs
that we have had too much succulentness
and it is time to take it out on words
with words
any man who looks out his window knows
that sweetness does not return, always:
the beggars are no longer the ones who take away
from what other men give to appease the LORD
and sometimes the children that should kiss the green
(as Blake said so many times)
instead lie somewhere in sand or in concrete
waiting for something the looks green or brown
or red or anything to put in their mouths
and taste for once -
now i pray that that man, looking out his window,
will turn back to his work and find
a book
of my poems
and pick them up and see that one can see the world
with something that i will never let willingly die
then go out
into the briskness of the season
and make something for the others
from the self
from the love
from the beauty

christ, jesus - a martyr, aged thirtythree:

christ, jesus - a martyr, aged thirtythree:
in these names we held it high (his
father's name, that is - it seems as
if he did a good job following in the
family business) and we sang it loudly
from our strained voices, again and again
until even thinking of the name made us

my mother knew the man once -
she told me that all i had to do was to
take him in my hand and pop him in
my mouth and all would feel good inside-
which is an odd thing to feel after an hour
of guilt every Sunday morning

i still use it every now and then (the
name, that is) - when i was young
it was in gratitude, every time an unfailure
was made or every time a life was saved
(shortly after flashing before my eyes)
or Sasha my childhood dog returned to the back
door after i called for hours and hours
in tenyearold time

now it becomes a curse, really,
like that one time the dog didn't come back
when she left out of the door

the name, jesus - christ, i remember it well
as i sang and sang and sang it until i wept

(as god made) she is here

(as god made) she is here
her face pale unlit by the moon
and her fingers nimbly twisted
under steaming pillows

this night comes solely without sleeping

this night comes solely without sleeping
when the past comes wrenching my stomach
over through the moon
where my moaning floats
into the city lights

slightly in this bed i am not alone
but wholly with one who puts her hand
on my aches and tells me to be okay

"don't die," she tells me

"i won't" says i

but who am i to know?