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PASSPORT explores departing, arriving, and being stuck in a multitude of in betweens. In the quest to belong, we are confronted with what we imagine being & what others make us believe that we are. Identity, ownership, Otherness----passport in hand to find where you are meant to be.

Spring 2019. Final Creative Project for "Literary Borders" (Prof. S. Cassarino)

 
Disclaimer

in the spirit of penmanship i confess

this poem is not mine

it is my hands that type

it is my hands that print

it is my mind that wonders if i ever left home

it is my mind that gives the voice to the people i know

it is my heart that beats syncopated to the laughs around me

it is my heart that too wonders why i ever learned english

but as much as i am not one then this poem cannot be mine

for the I cannot be without theirs his hers ours meu minha saudade

until i can be reunited with the streetcorners where i vanished in dust

until i can in one sentence summarise all the three things i learned from an old pamphlet

until i can answer true name place purpose

then in the spirit of penmanship i confess

this poem is never to be mine

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Gospel

take me on a barrel wheel too
where dandelions turn red by the sun;
where a fortress of night makes her smile shine
rose of a day like the transparent bee they were


drag me by the heart back of a car running
not only one two three or five hundred
light bulbs parting my head in two purpled
memories of the love that hurt much, but more now


show me the holy gospel of matthew left
lukewarm to repent on a land of honey and
harvey; or show me how many crucified jesuses
must I stone before the mass is over amen


teach me why must I fag away or got away
with telling she was my lover when she too went
to him white-robed perfumed in puritan shame
only to see that war was close and tend


Father I lay on my knees searching how
to go down on the truth we will never be more than
dumb dumb waiters like beds and furniture
framed for the crime of holding hands in—


Father forgive me for I have taken him into mine
chest full of holy water drowning in the dark reports
that a shooting took place; that the dykes burst today
freeing the tears boys never cried—


Father let thy kingdom never come onto
until they can forgive deliver trespass for ever and ever
the sight of us as angels hovering the ones we left behind
the ones in fences, furniture, fire and brimstone
the ones who lie, who hide, who fight
the ones who pray that one queer day will come
when it will be on earth as it was meant to be in heaven

 
 
Inside

i have been to the zoo
i walked south from the third and then into a bird
in my body i felt things that could never be
alien to my own
foreign as a shell under turning
the exhibit did not prove if i am cage or warden
is it then an act gone wrong
it did not prove either why the sun sighs no more
and that hit me more than i care to admit
you did not want to hear me
you did not want to hear about my dog
about my house
about my mirrors crystals spoons and even discount china
how they miss me when i am not around
how they are the ones that dull without me
with no reflections to make them right

1964

give me wings for the road, ma
with your rocking chair and subtle laughing
whistle me worlds and blow me the promise of a future
whence i can escape from the monster lies within


sing me a tune that rings of sorrow, ma
that follows the yellow begotten beak of truth
the subversive cadence of the flowers never sowed
the rolling doubled tears that came in spite of you


tell me that the mind is not a foe, ma
that no unknown warden that guards me
no barbed wire that through my breath pierces
no fragment of the drunk nor the contortionist is left behind

hold me close afar from this silver chalice, ma

look into mine soul and tell me that life is not yet a fact

shield me from the walking and the shrieking and the hoping

let me for once invent the sins i shall commit

 

of you i beg and beg and swear and loathe, ma
all the sweat of angels darkened in that march thirty-first
all the charlies and chicos and yourself violated on the wet floor
all the mouths shuttered close under those sharp hands
the hands of your father who held his breath not to answer the phone
the hands of your mother who cried when they took her milk
the hands of my arms and your eyes

that want to drink until they are forgotten
 

of you and only of you i beg mercy, ma
leave the soldiers in your sein at the fields of the patria
teach me the old lesson instead that our land was but loved
do not let them take me and turn me into a cross
do not let them fracture mine spirits and turn them to stones
do not let them erase the cries in the canyons you carved for me
do not let them win even nor at the squares nor at our house

 

of you i beg, ma
do not let them win if it means to light at once
more than only those candles of disheartening.

Guillotine

to swim to swim to swim and to die
to die on the beach with your lungs vile
filled with those silica moments you told yourself
you told anyone that they were imagined and null
but they rose as a leviathan without contract
and they sank you down for grinning too wide


the waves break dawn now and you lie still
the sea that you once rode in flagships wonders
winds that bear in strands of heat and cool a truth
and the crystal foam that was once your body is not anymore
but you hold to the tip of the mast and swings
and you hope that the tear of your smile is an ocean too


one time there was a place where the shaking met placid
one time you met and the rocking turned to curving paths
despair was love lost was the answer and no purpose the end
you turned too many times on his lap till you came home
but then the rocking did no more to scare you than before
and still this time you held on to the red that glistened in his eye


now to sit and sit and to wait forever
until the massive weight on your shoulder becomes blade
and your fleeting arms ground you as driftwood but harder
when you gaze around your friends become hollow as their eyes
their smiles spelling the defeat you have embodied
and you learn that there is no escape from the tide within

 

 
prose poem | click for full text

"You look outside after thirty-three minutes of trying to tell yourself that it will be okay. It may just as well be the last opportunity you’ll have to prove yourself worthy. You know the first impression sticks. You know that there’s a lot to catch up in order to belong in this land where you let yourself fall."

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