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Big Round Eyes


A tiny body, black hair

separated from her mother

given into foster care - at birth

because that is the deal

arranged between agencies

and a woman signing papers

her thumbprint bleeds DNA.


In Guatemala City, I meet

my daughter for the first time

she is ten days old, I hold her

in my left arm while washing clothes by hand

three of us sleep in one bed, a few hours at a time

for two weeks, then my wife and I return


without her to L.A.


It is summer, hot, on this side of the fence; forms needed

to be signed, notarized, stamped, legalized, photo copied three times, then authorized

again - driving all over town; a month and a half later, my wife decides to live

with our daughter until immigration

papers clear; we fly back

receive temporary custody

from a Guatemalan court.


I complain about the procedure, as do others.


Some look at their child, then leave

touring the country on their own

not to waste a day in waiting

until the baby’s legal status will be cleared

by hands that sell some of the fallout produced by hate and greed

back to where the smoldering fires have been stoked

calculatingly - it is anticipated to look good

on someone’s balance sheet.


Quetzals, pyramids, blue lakes, and pretty colors

armed Coca Cola trucks. One day

on our way to a village of weavers, blood smeared faces

stained clothes, lined up against a wall

a short glance and then we look away

bargain for fabric twenty minutes later.


At first, we stay with a family in town, a physician’s

home always locked, like all the houses with glass shards

cemented into the top of walls, and with cell phones

every move reported back and forth.


“Don’t leave the house on your own.”


Beyond that, nobody mentions

the beatings and disappearances,


or maybe your head inside a bag

of insecticide, breathe deeply

while your wife and daughters are raped

the soles of your feet peeled with a machete

watch an unborn cut from the womb

that carried you in hope of the gods

to show some fucking mercy - copal, flowers, wooden saints

carried in processions through the streets.

The sound of gunfire.


We move to a hotel in a colonial town.


I carry our daughter through La Antigua

in a pouch on my chest.

She shows her face, sticks out her tongue as a greeting

wants to be seen and to look at her world

with big round eyes

but avoids lights bright and cold

a scar embedded in her first memories.


Invited by strangers, we eat and drink, for free

in elegant homes, or a meal shared on bare ground

gifts and wishes for a daughter of their country and our intentions.


High above the cities

smog mingles with the plume and the gases

ashes at the base of cinder cones

fertile lands, family feuds

women, kept as permanent guests

in bondage, toys for respectable house-holds.


The men head north, some of them make it

maybe they are mowing your lawn while you

have an argument - with your wife

about who forgot, and why, and how one could

miss paying the insurance

on a new Prius.


Chahul women at the square, my serious expression, their laughter

breaking barriers, but unbroken by having witnessed how it is to be

stripped in public, mutilated, set on fire with gasoline, or removed from life

a merciful bullet after everything has been taken that can be destroyed.





In The Darkness Of A Ladies Room


This morning, you write that chaos erupted at your office

and if we could meet for lunch a bit later - anytime with you

a quantum leap, only a few words, from being apart to feel

your body’s warmth, the gaze of your eyes, your fingers

probing the pockets of my jeans, you carefully study my face  

while we sit next to each other, hungry, and the waiter asks

if we were ready, anything that delights your senses with pleasure

a banquet too rich for the angels that cannot bear the weight of love

born from wet earth, salt harvested in friction, your leg against mine

a spicy dish and hot tea, you feed me bites and offer me to drink

your cup on my lips, I stare at your breasts, firm and round, so soft

the swell rising above your low cut dress, the curves of your thighs

accentuated by tights, nylon and silk, I glide my hand over a runner

hiking up underneath the blue and green garment, I melt like the ice

in the glass of water, our reflections fused into a single expression

you hold my hand in both of yours, the table seems to lift and rise

or maybe we are at sea, heavy weather, sails secured on reef points

you touch my zipper, I watch your lips close over the straw in my drink

and then notice your one foot as it slips from high heels and brushes

my ankle, the first time aware of its presence, my body a heat, a flame

in your fire that I tend with kindling stroked underneath your panties

for you to come and claim my ecstasy, we walk into the back hallway

you open the door to the ladies room, grab my shirt, and pull me

inside, you turn off the light, I feel your arms, your buttocks, flesh

warm moistness, scented dreams, suspended in embrace, your body

the universe I explore with my skin, my tongue, my cock pulsing

against your loins, I hold my destiny, you strip me naked as I was

before I had been born, you licked your desire into the clay of mine

in a darkness, your petaled rain giving birth to everything.



A Night In Florence


My train pulls out of Roma Termini, the compartment door

opens, she asks if the seat opposite mine were occupied

proceeds to place her small travel case on the rack above

assured of approval, her scent, gold earrings, chestnut brown

hair accentuates the wave of her body, green skirt mid-thigh

designer shoes, she crosses her legs; extracting a cigarette

from a leather case, thumb and index finger trace an arc

in front of her face, she closes her lips around the filter tip

lighter in my palm, she cups my hand, steady, and leans 

forward, draws in, exhales slightly upward, her breath

brushes over the top of my head, she says that on her ride 

in a taxi, it flooded her body, a premonition, we'd meet.

Mesmerized, I agree, of course, my thoughts caught by

her sequined short sleeve top tightly fitted, keeping her body

in motion, tongue that skims the moist inside her mouth

shoulders rolling, her breasts play with the fabric, she

rearranges her legs and then tells me about her son

mentions her husband, that she must return but for this.

One night in Florence, that she needs to know, how it is

passion unrestricted, large-eyed question, dark lashes, high

cheekbones, willful chin, lips full, olive skin tone, silk-soft

skilled hands applied the perfect line on arched brows, then

I touch her leg and say that I, too, sense the heated tension 

charges of a storm advancing, she says, come with me

the hairs in the nape of her neck, irresistibly rising, I say

yes, has she experienced this before, no - only this day

she wants her body to remember, the night to be a window

when she returns to her child, a husband, shutters closed

villa on the shores of a lake, northern Italy. Do not fall

in love she has been with what she misses, I want to fuck

her steam stoking my fire, the train pulls into Florence.


We brush against each other, her loins press into mine

lust swelling, she bends one leg, braces her foot on the seat

pulls me tighter, my hands on the back of her thighs 

desperately fleeing time, kissing hard, she strokes my head

we come to a stop, let's go, she says, to a hotel close by

I help with luggage, shoulder my bag, slide the door open

she walks the corridor, ahead of me, I follow, tied to her 

brown hair, white top, green skirt, hips moving, in heat

on the platform, she turns around - I hesitate, the train

a wailing sound, her gaze motionless, steel doing tracks.





Marked by the deadly shades of a prayer

house and garden behind ancient walls

stone for stone a tomb, hooded garbs

afraid of being touched by what is sought.


I look outside the cage. A night.


Dissolved in your red moon liquid,

I hear you moan my name and feel you

reach for the trembling canopy of sky.


Leaves falling, sun, water, light

swirling eddies, the song of birds.

And we climb the furry edges

on new shoots pushing forth.


The storms only calming, not diminished

gathering new strength in what I had been

trained to worship but not to live

What you offer to me now.


What it can do when I look at you rest

the tip of your index finger curved

over your thumb, a gate to hymns

never sung before, when you curl

your toes against the soles of your feet


I am washed innocent


When in deep thought,

you close your rainbow eyes.

When you open them again

to tell me about, a revelation:

The hair peeking from my nose

it lets you know what it’s like to be


With god, born from a sparkle in Your smile.











































Beyond The Jagged Coastline


I'll cut out god's eyes

to make him feel that

which he only knows about

in his office of wisdom.


You, naked and dripping wet

watch the kelp, it bobs up and down

in this pleasure galaxy

falling, adrift on our barge

grind my ashes to the bone.


Already beneath doric columns

blood-leathered boots and

nailed to the streets, I saw you

hold the cards, spread them

anew with your limbs

in daphne-scented fields.


Your reed hunger I uncoil

in your wild rose dirt marshes

I rise, my face against the moon

hung to the rails, fuck me innocent.


Gladly, I free-dive

your dark cotton well water

stripped completely bare

shred me to pieces

for me to abandon

what is only food for the blind

ferryman's eyes reflecting

round tables squared

meals that stuff the throat

with dowry stones.


What else can I hurtle against

the stingray-shot but make you roar

with satisfaction and find the spots

that send you burst into giggles

that leave me smiling still

when by the roadside I stand

and wave and watch you

drive away.

The poem "Beyond The Jagged Coastline" has been published in Penne Ante Feud, issue #13. To view or to purchase the book on



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