With graceful strategy the circling hawk
Whips my circling sorrow to dive and strike;
Indiscrete for action the poison oak
Thrusts up her flushed face for attack
Lizards and herbs and flowers admonish me,
Strict in their innocence: I am cowardly,
Nor will the mourning-dove condone my fault
Who breasts all hazard for a humble scrap
And when she coos courts punishment. My guilt
Is obvious, and I cannot escape.
It happened in the blink of a weary old eye.
The flutter of an admirals wings.
It was never remembered, but never to die.
Like rain that falls to the grace of the sea.
It was when he took shore leave in Java.
Under tropical skies and thunderous clouds.
When the Devil brushed passed his shoulder,
then melted away back into the crowd.
He knew he'd been touched by evil.
As the hairs on his neck stood like soldiers in line.
Ready for their execution.
Ready for their turn to return to light.
And as he stood there frozen,
not sure where to turn, not sure what to do.
A whisper he heard beside him,
"Cursed young soul, I have something for you."
"Your path has been crossed by dark forces,
yes darker than night and blacker than coal.
But I have always been waiting,
to show you the light, to deliver your soul."
"There's been times in your life when you've faltered.
I'm not here to judge, as every man falls.
But this is when evil tries alter,
all our desires, our one true call.
It sows the seeds of doubt and fear,
and mixes it with hate.
But now's the time to listen child,
for this is not your fate."
"Now's the time to listen child,
before now is too late."
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Gondel's room. It was not a heavy frost, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The seen was reminiscent of old gallows. Henry Moore had been living this routine for 20 some odd years
He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and the three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything, except one, Leo, said there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Gondel, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. Henry had never heard his father talk about fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk and not paying very much attention to anyone, anyway.
"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "Booze and Johnny Cash.
Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. Santiago met her through a friend and after a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. But, Santiago being Santiago, chose not to listen to anybody and only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.
Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 20 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical. The third followed suit. Henry Moore, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurant owners, the laundry mat lingerers, the cops, the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation, the guy on the corner and the guy behind the black, grated fence, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after them.
Henry Gondel looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim, but sunlight streaked in through the blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shpaed chest. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his ass would constantly peek out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touching the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.
Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, roofing, and construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.
Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up, combing his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner one Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.
"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.
Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"
"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work."
"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.
"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.
"That's good, that's good."
"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.
"What?" asked Henry, yelling so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, dirty dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.
"Take the dogs out to pee," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."
"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.
"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."
Of cold air
and gloomy clouds
Such darkness on it
It let go the rain
Like the girl I see
Seating next her paper
Ripping the pages
out of melancholy
Down her face
Night castling a paradise
And seeking refuge with dreaming.
I saw the girl
Writing in pain
Howling because of
And all her hopes drained
I saw the girl
Staring back at me in the mirror.
Ripped ribbons scattered aimlessly,
with fractured cups, dirt and dust
pink pearly acetone just won't be enough
to erase the evidence of you.
With forced confessions,
spilled out all past indiscretions,
and cursed vindications and blood
splattered like a musty revenge.
Hand print caresses that show
Polaroid prints all faded and jaded
like the illusion of us.
It was desperate fingers
that clung to the railings
but the force of gravity meant I had to let go.
Hope had revived me
Like water to my parched throat
my oasis is the desert
All my horrid words were revoked.
Yet nothing will ever be enough
to surgically remove
our open bleeding wounds.
I must tend to the injured,
Leave alone the wielder
Knife still in hand
How did it come to this?
I missed your voice
so much it made me cry
yet after I heard
it made everything worse
Mourning a loss that was not mine
I still love you
but it burns
until I have to take my hand off
the all consuming flame.
My teardrops cannot pay the price,
or eradicate the past in peoples minds
Will I forever be beholden to this guilt that now defines me?
Too many skin graphs to hide the scarred tissue underneath.
All paths lead me back to here.
I'm helpless to watch your ghost
Linger,you still linger.
They all have the right lines
But it doesn’t taste as sweet
Rolling off their lips
They call me sexy and gorgeous
But it isn’t as flattering
As when hearing ‘you’re beautiful’
They all have the right moves
But they have their own rhythms
That don’t sync with mine
They pick up on the things I like
But they don’t make anything of it
To remind me that they still notice
They all have the right ambitions
But they have their own agendas
That are opposite of mine
They like the things that I like
But never the little things
That mean the most to me
They all have the right reasons
But they don’t have the safety
That gives me comfort to approach
They all have the things I should want
But they just don’t measure up
To all that they should be worth
They don’t stare into my eyes,
Smiling, with admiration and intrigue
They don’t find subtle ways to compliment,
Their own way of flattering me
They don’t call me “young lady,”
Make me smile for no reason, laugh without trying
They don’t keep me coming back for more,
The sarcasm, kindness, the ease of being myself
They don’t give me the nervous feeling,
Make me clam up, make me happy, all at once
They don’t give me a fire to ignite, to pick the pen up
Be the fictional character in a story inspired by them
They don’t see my insecurities, the flaw in personality
Try to make it beautiful, dare me to embrace them.
They have it all,
But they’re just not you.
I could have him,
But he’s just not you.
Don't you dare
give me that stare
act like you care
You don't have the right to pretend
that in the end
You like me for my hands
As much as you just wanted to fuck me.
So don't hold my hand and talk to me like this
don't try to make me believe in the magic that doesn't exist
that when we were together you felt genuine bliss
like in the vast moments when our hands intertwined
you ever wanted to be mine
or that you'd ever let me define
as anything more than a static rhythm and rhyme
as anything more than a business exchange
or a game
i give you my feelings and you don't feel the same
it's not too late you haven't placed your bet
on how many months it'll take for you to get to my bed
get inside my head
all of the time i wasted for you is over
all of the feelings i hid away
all of the breath you took away
as i waited for you to text me hey
you've made me numb
stand in the line of other guys who've given me some
taken me under angel wings and deceived me
but this time I see
I don't trust your magic arms anymore
your fantastical eyes don't take me hostage anymore
and the emptiness i felt after i was filled with you inside me
never to trust
someone who tries to hold your hands
when they can't hold your words
you're a mastermind magician
you've helped me stop belieivng in the magic
i know magic behind love
and i don't believe in magic anymore