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Each launch begins with a prayer
until I have a puncture, a rip, a tear.
Mayday!  Mayday!  Mayday!

I am always falling
either to the earth or to the stars,
falling forward to God the Father
or father to son.
  
To survive I move in the vacuum
between calm heartbeat
and silent in-breath,

hurling to my final mission
to repair a disconnection
of a mind that can
***** life with a thought
or by sniffling
a remembered tear,

knowing not whether to
****** the monstrous soul
or to hug the last, lost dead part.

I swim through
the waterfalls of mars
knowing I never really knew you
nor am I you.

“Stay where you are.
Do not proceed any further,”
you hiss in loving defiance.

In the space in between
I see that madness is
never once thinking of home,
being free of all moral doubt.

Tethered to the umbilical
I cut the insanity to the vacuum,
suffocate the space between
with love,

until I can no longer see
what is not there,
until I miss what
is right in front of me.

In the after-burn from Saturn
I am looking forward
to the day of my self return.

I will rely on what is closest to me.
I will live and love.
23h · 21
Down Flight
The lightness of paper
soft enough to crumble
to a chirping palm ball
released into the air,
an imagined perfect pitch,  
too gossamer to float
to its ultimate arch,
unfolding in the web  
of alluring sunshine

aspiring to be
in its unfolding angles
a thread of silk
caught into the patterns
of a spun handkerchief,
flapping finely down to dirt,
flagging to human desires,
a reverse puff tucked black
into a left back corner pocket.

In its extending it is
****** wood pulp
culled and hewn
from rings of fine pine,
rising in its descent
to barely glimpsed evolving
beaks, talons, feathers
caught in the spider’s web
and shook down by thundering axe.
Flagging or the handkerchief code (also known as the hanky code, the bandana code,) is a color-coded system, employed usually among the *** male casual-*** seekers or **** practitioners in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe, to indicate preferred ****** fetishes, what kind of *** they are seeking, and whether they are a top/dominant or bottom/submissive.

If you wore your hanky in your left pocket, you were deemed as more submissive, or a "bottom," whereas the right pocket meant that you were a "top" or more dominant.  A black handkerchief meant that you were into S&M- sadomasochism.

Reverse puff refers to a type of handkerchief pocket fold where the puff or pointed ends fold out like the petals of a flower.
I collect the death masks
of everyone I see,
many ready with their
mouths turned to  the earth,
eyes closed tight in hellish denial.

Except for L’Inconnue de la Siene
pulled from the river in utter peace,
lovely as Ophelia floating in the reeds,
the resuci Anne of two centuries
of death and resurrected respirations.

Her I grant the heaven she envisioned,
rescue her from the sterile pummel
of kisses and mechanical resurrections
for the body forever remembers its debt
to the devil’s dance of an aspiring life.

I am an exiled poet like Dante
finishing the Paradisio and Inferno
before the malarial last vision
and stone cold gasp reveals
the world and God as just a trick.

I witness the world pleading mercy
to the executioner before the beheading.
“No, no Madam you must die.  You must die”,
is the death mask maker’s answer before
the axe man takes his three swings.

I wonder, like Keats, before the wax
embalms his consumptive face
“How long is this posthumous
existence of mine to go on?”
The answer coming one year later.

I know the world will die, like John Dillinger
in a hale of bullets under a movie marquee,
its death mask ceremoniously displayed
next to its ***** pickled member
and the Sheep Child bleating for love.




Notes:
L’Inconnue de la Siene is a famous death mask created from a Parisian suicide.  Her death mask was a popular morbid collectible found in many French households of the late 1800’s and early 1900s. The Death Mask was also used as the face of a  popular CPR teaching mannequin known as resuci Anne.

The Sheep Child is a reference to the James Dickey poem about a creature that was the off spring of *******.

John Dillingers pickled ***** is rumored to be a part of the Smithsonian museum’s  hidden collection of oddities.
L’Inconnue de la Siene is a famous death mask created from a Parisian suicide.  Her death mask was a popular morbid collectible found in many French households of the late 1800’s and early 1900s. The Death Mask was also used as the face of a  popular CPR teaching mannequin known as resuci Anne.

The Sheep Child is a reference to the Janes Dickey poem about a creature that was the off spring of *******.

John Dillingers pickled ***** is rumored to be a part of the Smithsonian museum’s  hidden collection of oddities.
Jonathan Moya Sep 11
Death, I notice, often comes
with a smile and a kiss,
a tender tuck of blanket into legs,

a pull to the shoulders
making shroud complete,
a tender whispered secret.  

“Good bye” or “Good life”,
it might be saying.
But so does love.  

2

The  light of the cancer center
is so clean, clear and bright
that it makes me squint

pondering whether the jovial trucker
with the Tennessee drawl
and the St Nicholas beard and physique,

on his fifth dance with the Big C,
that started in his eye
and remission to his liver,

is a harbinger or heavenly host,
a glint from the gaze of God
or the last secret whisper of love.

3

When he is awol the next week
I assign him to the casualty list
knowing that I am the lucky survivor.

I am the thick among the thins
and he is the blessing angel
destined to return to the Lord.

I live with the ambivalence,
the hope and the guilt,
looking for dancers among the blasted.

4

I refuse to name my cancer
not granting it control
or even the idea of breath.

The drugs, however, that’s different.
Oxaliplatin is oxygen.
Leucovorin is lungs.

They pour into my port
and in the liquid air
I learn to breathe again.
Jonathan Moya Sep 10
I watched my house recede to the invisible
as the water rises and the slow flat boat ferries me away.

My only baggage— the wife in her angels nightgown,
my chihuahua, a revolver loaded with dusty bullets—

all collapsing in the flow, dissolving into rot and mold,
a place not all that comfortable for other people,

a belligerent child evaporating into condemnation,
a concrete overhead blocking my view of heaven.

My archive of creeping shame sheds their existence
until it fits into the reality I see, no longer see.

I can only call this invisible place, this marred space
what it originally was before the water and erasure—

I called it love.
I call it love.
Sep 9 · 140
64
64
Today I’m 64,
complete with 64 shades of cancer,
a strike, summed together a perfect ten,
long as the feet of a bowling alley,
gentle and delightful as the
64 centimeters of a lady’s footstep,
filled with enough sadness
for 64 six word stories about grief,
grateful enough for 64 poems of joy and thanks.

I’m just barely a Beatles’ song.
You know the one.
Sing it, and maybe these
old tired deaf ears might hear it
and allow you to joyfully sing along.
Sep 7 · 43
The Numbers
I can’t walk into Walmart and not scan for shell casings,
see the bruises on the fruit and think of those who fell,
those now populating its aisles and borders
and calculate if it’s a number worth the killing
when the man in a heavy jacket with a bulge,
ramrod eyes and spine level as a concrete wall
decides to subtract brown and black from white.

I cant walk a crowded mall parking lot without scanning
for gapped car windows with no panting dogs inside,
searching for bump  stock impressions in the cloth and foam
venting the velocity of aggression in the unfolding humidity,
the rust in the panels mating with the rust in the soul,
the numbers adding to his perfect algorithm of annihilation
unaware that color is an impossible illogical subtraction.

The Aurora of the Dark Knight Rises stains every movie I see
adjusting my seating calculations towards the nearest exit,
making the ten dollar hustle two seats away a quaint fear
compared to the ****** page manifesto of nearby hands
restless for assault when the cool dark light hits every eye.
I’m safe, cuddled in the low numbers of  the matinee.
For now, I’m not worth the killing.
Mass shootings,
Aug 31 · 67
Dog Acts
Jonathan Moya Aug 31
I like America’s Got Talent,

especially when they have dog acts.

I love dog acts.  I cry at dog acts.



I wish dog acts would bark and chase

those young kids and aspiring adults

who sing opera every year and

get into the semifinals off the stage;

chase the pretentious dance troupes

and acrobats; half-funny comics;

the children who sing lustily in adult voices;

the seniors with fading contralto dreams;

the day glow CGI artists who

illustrate on a big, dark canvas;

the magicians with their card slight of hand,

even the ones who just do regular magic—

right off the stage with a bark and

a push of their snouts.



Dog acts are pure.

They sit.  They heel.

They stay.  They obey.

They even sing, dance and draw too.



All acts should be dog acts.

All dreams should be dog dreams.



Every million dollar winner,

mongrel or pure bred,

should have a 100% canine heart—

even though they would trade it all

for a pat on the head, good treats

nice walks with you and belly rubs.
Aug 13 · 57
The Port
Jonathan Moya Aug 13
The port rests on my high right chest, a pink crater,
a  cleanly folded linen shroud kissed with tears
wheeled from operating room to recovery  
by melting folds of scrub blues with iodoform scents.

The fragrance of me is creased into a tucked blanket,
monitors on my legs and arm caressing rhythmic,
sounds dissolving into the hum left in a plastic wind-
wafting hints of my odorless crenulated alchemical cure.

My wife holds the origami of my old self in a
blue zip lock hospital bag that opens with a
singe of nitrate, the final aroma of good cooked food
settling on a rack then vanishing into a memory portal.

I smell no future,  just the staleness of hope and fear
as I uncrease myself into my clothes and stand unfolded
at the exit, in the threshold of a shadowless sunlight
whose sleeves I sniff for the blossoming plum tree.
The port is a medical port that is installed for the administration of chemotherapy.
Aug 3 · 21
Everything Is You
Kiss me.
Devour me.
Press yourself to me until inside
and forever let me know you are there.

Every breath is you.
Every smell is you.  
Everything I taste has the savor of you.  

I look around and everything is you.

Noise settles into the house with the timber of you.  
The gentle cloth of day has the touch of you.
The night smells of you.  
The rain is full of your wetness.
Sunlight is full of the color of you.

The tree is full of the wood of you.
It’s roots keep me planted in you.  
I do not sway for I am anchored in your love.
Bury me not in a high tomb of gloom
on days sacred to all your lonely heart
nor scatter my ashes in the pale moon
on June’s or September’s early-late start.

Mix me in with all my good beastlies‘ dust,
one third reserved for Elsi’s sweet embrace,
two parts crushed into diamonds that not rust
worn near heart or hurled to a far star trace.

If thy can’t bear part with my ash and bones
plant me in a petunia ***, blond bloom
monitored by your sweet echoing tones  
growing forever in our living room.

Either way I was loved, I cried, I sighed,
I aspired and created all under your tide.
Jonathan Moya Jul 20
Days before liftoff Neil Armstrong saw Easy Rider
in the cool solitude of a dark space 25 miles
from the launchpad and Born to Be Wild
blasted in his ears as the Saturn V lifted him
with the drive of over 400 sky blue corvettes
towards a lunar orbit almost four days later.

Space was a million outstretched slapping hands
welcoming him, congratulating him, a cradle
that rocked him in the ebb and flow of propulsion
and focused him to touch the white mobile above,
delete the mechanical drone, the white noise
of mission control, and Collins’ and Aldrin’s prattle.

He marooned them in the back of his mind
to the deepest of the deep, sailors lost in
The Sea of Tranquility, landing on Island Earth
until eons of isolation devolve them to
Australopithecus in the Kubrick movie with  
that tapir femur hurled to a match cut orbiter.

That magnificent desolation, that beat-up
sand-blasted ball with hole upon hole
was his second daughter aching to
reconnect with the dust of Karen.
He steered clear of the crater, landing
the Eagle in an embrace of ***** beach sand.

He rehearsed the landing mantra,
“That’s one small step for a man,”
dropping the article in the tear of his helmet,
as he noticed the lunar soil glistened
like the high Mojave Desert near Edwards AFB,
adhering like Canaveral sand in Karen’s palm.

On the flag’s finial he left her death bracelet,
the cut strap looped to whole, the beauty of earth
reflecting in in his visor, and in the banner’s toppling,
footprints erasing in combustion’s goodbye,
he realized “****, I really did it.  I blew
the first words on the moon, didn’t I?”
Jul 4 · 219
The Nacre of Cancer
I have no taste for whiskey,
although it seems over the years
I have developed a proclivity for cancer,
for building the nacre into  pearl.  

It’s funny how one can live with death
scooted to the borders, listening to it
rap the door with sub-audible gusts
that only your dog hears and barks at.

The holy trinity, my wife calls it,
three masses on the left, right,
concluding down in a ****** triangle,
a parasite, a dark natural beauty of my years.

The bad genes of my parents play out their divorce
in my body, diabetes and cancer
fighting for the claim to death’s victory,
my only peace being to cut them both out.

The Great Physician puts my cure
in the hands of fallible demigods,
whose inclination is to bury hope in the
condolences of the other well-intentioned masses.

“It’s great that you feel no pain,
Your color looks good today,” they echo
as the pallid tv weatherman I met
in ruddy years on the brown river shuffles by.

The nacre of the cancer ward-
an open shirt skeleton on oxygen,
two old black men  talking loudly
about seasons of diagnosis and mistreatment,

just waiting, waiting, waiting to get better
caws at me as I make my way
to the reception table just bright enough
to not seem an open casket.

My wife fills out three pages asking
for family obituaries while I answer
on a tablet forty questions about death,
five about life, two about insurance.

I wait in quiet sitting in a clinical green chair
Listening  for my name to be called,
thinking not about the culled pearl
but the beautiful oyster thrown way.
Jun 19 · 702
Icarus’ Sister
Jonathan Moya Jun 19
Icarus’ sister exists only in living stone,
the watchful daughter of the craftsman
in the middle of his own labyrinth,
once his prized creation, placed in
the prime line of his drafts, design, eye
of his genius, now a relic existing
in a dusty nowhere cobweb corner
stained with Minotaur blood,
watching her fleshy father
falteringly stitch wax, feathers, twigs
to a frame that could not
take the water and sun of every day birds,
not even the weight of a son’s pride
who complacently raveled and unraveled
his father’s clew, half hearing  cautions,  
his mind flapping beyond the planets.

She cried over how Daedalus could
dote over such mortal error
while she exists in perfect neglect,
cried a tear turned prayer that
mixed with the dust, the murderous
blood crusting the rusty teeth of Perdix’s saw,
knowing hence  that men **** their best dreams,
fear the successful  flight of  their ideas, and  
that her faith, trust now forever lived with the gods.

Hephaestus heard her and bellowed her mind,
taught her to seek inspiration in the rejected
metal slivers that littered the workshop
like the sand of Naxos where Theseus
left Ariadne in her abandoned dreams.

In the cry of that other lost daughter
she heard the sound of ascent,
saw father and son in erratic flight
and followed to the top of the labyrinth
to watch two glints align in descent
and one splash into the sea.

Graced with the knowledge
that forbearers would
name the waters below for this fool,
she deposited Icarus in their father’s arms,
and flew away on brass wings of her own design,
wingtips skipping waves, seeking the sun.
Jonathan Moya Jun 18
These are the things he scribbles
in the little white paper of his brain:
catch the movement
of passing shadows in a window;
search the clouds
for the feathers of a robin’s wing;
listen in the spaces of music
for the laughter of angels in hiding.

These are the things she knows today,
yesterday and maybe tomorrow:
that car mirrors, puddles, all silvery things
reflect unmated and backwards smiles;
that fluffy clouds contain the best animals
but layered ones hold all her best dreams;
that Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah
leaves her aching, reaching, unformed.

These are the things their future holds:
she will be his forever song,
the smile that remains in the shards,
they will be the only mirror they know,
that cotton days will pillow their dreams
and nimbus nights will rain their pain,
their life will be Hallelujah and prayer
and tiny angels will be their best dreams.
Jonathan Moya Jun 13
Catacombs are full of bones
snuggling in the disgrace of others.
Hipbones piled on top of skulls,
the absence of lower jaws
denying the departed a smile,
the eternal existential joke
of insulting the living
with the knowledge
of their ultimate end.

Femur, skull, femur skull
is the monotonous pattern
of the Paris catacombs.
Two hundred six reduced
to two, an afterthought,
ossein denied an ossuary,
even the unity of skeleton.

The Capuchin Crypts at least
grant a molecular dignity.  
The entrance mummies
are part of a gruesome holy décor
draped in the faux pas of passé styles,
yielding room after nauseating room
to the essential two of Paris,
femurs/skulls clustered
in paisley amoeba patterns
projecting snaking vertebrae
of dendrites, of life replicated
with the cross on the wall as
the ultimate center and end.

Did their former owners
know that death would
be the end of ****** control?
That for a ghastly and sacred art
they could be united forever
in indiscriminate unity
with their enemy or lover?
Would they have opted
for the grave knowing
that their ashes could
easily be blown into
the breeze that survives them?
Jonathan Moya Jun 12
At lunchtime pigeons and pinstripes dance with Rockette syncopation in front of Radio City
following the lead of thirty balloons encased
in vinyl tugged down the 50th Street station.

A chauffeured limousine pops out
a freshly groomed and leashed Pomeranian
seeking reunion with her dowager owner
getting purple locks and cuticles nearby.

At the columned entrance of Manhattan Bridge
two lovers kiss at the Canal Street stoplight
while a Vespa owner stops near the pedestrian
walk to hitch the love of his life in full stride.

Black children in bowlers and their Sunday finest
share a car in the Connie Island Cyclone
with Hasidic eyngls from Avenue J
carefully protecting their yarmulkes.

In the South Bronx the children of 136th Street
practice belly flops on an abandoned mattress
before chickening out on the adjacent kiddie pool
decorated with aqua waves, clown fish and mermaids.

The Monday field trip will transport ten
young Harlem poets to the Schomburg Library
to eulogize when Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka
danced a jig on the ashes of Langston Hughes.

One will write a Christmas story about the time
Richard the reindeer took the Roosevelt Island
tram to bring  presents to the orphans
after Santa’s sled had fallen apart.
Jonathan Moya Jun 11
A fossil in foam, five toes under a formed sole,
preserves the flight of a thousand border treks.

A layer of thermite and blood settles the right pad
of every hastily fled soul, a rusty preservation
of the ash of those who were enflamed.

Their left clod is encased with the dirt of broken roads,
the green of weeks of refuge in the forest from patrols,
the gray movement from villages to mountains and back.

At night they would mend and repair, knotting
broken y’s with twigs, rope threads, thatch,
anything that will last one more day.

The young’s heels are scuffed with the abrasions
left from the playful kicking parents endure
carrying them on their shoulders.

The old heels are full of the bristle
of slow moving donkeys led
by sons and daughters taking turns.

Under the shelter of grey canvas
their trek ends with fresh water,
food, a sturdy cot and new sandals.

The old plastic soles will rest in honor
on the mantle of their new hut,
ready for the next journey.
Tiananmen Square is a clean place today.
Everything is swept before it can
***** in the history of place.

No sign exists of the tanks that rolled,
the man in front of them,
the blood that flowed
like red sorghum seeds.

The cracked bricks
have been replaced
with new tera cotta tiles.

The first  memorial plaque
is invisible until you are
standing on top of it,
located at the Great Court
at the University of Queensland
4500 miles away.

IN MEMORY OF
THOSE WHO DIED IN TIENAMEN
SQUARE IN JUNE 1989,
its three lines read,
using the Aussie spelling.

In San Francisco  a 9.5 foot statue
modeled after the original
Goddess of Democracy
is located at the edges of
Chinatown in a park of
concrete and manicured trees.

On the anniversary Chinese police
put out temporary signs in  
in the center of the Square warning
DO NOT LAY MOURNING WREATHS.

Banner displayers, victory gesturers,
those doing solitary hunger strikes,
are detained, questioned, disappear.

On the Party web the students are scrubbed.
The only sign of blood that lingered
in the summer air that June morning
is a  photo of the lone soldier who died
in the “counter revolutionary turmoil”.

The plugged in young are unaware.
They only know that the Party
reserves the right of your total erasure.

Just as the memories of Hiroshima/Nagasaki
are vanishing horrors in the Japanese soul,
Tiananmen is not worthy of ghostly echoes,
or even the lies printed in every official history.

Truth is the secret kept dark by the victors,
it’s locked in prisons and dark closets,
it speaks with the voice of exile

In the dark light and smoggy air,
only dogs and the grieving blind
know the true scent of Tiananmen
hidden under the shiny tera cotta.
In the stillness of a teacup morning
in Amsterdam a crowd with yellow stars
query each other, a collapse of
suitcases and stuffed pillow cases
huddled under a gas lamp at a corner square,
while those in the stories above slowly turn away.

A few days before the yellow stars were
twenty-one children with backpacks
dreaming of a long field trip to Deventer.
The school picture they posed for would
be discovered fifty-four years later
under the frame of an oil painting
of the freedom monument in Dam Square.

Sieg, wandering in the fog of Bergen-Belsen
his classmates part of the mound
of George Rodgers well published frieze,
the only one of them not camera shy,
made it back to his mother and sister,
forever now a New York Jew.

Before them the square hosted
the frail bones of yellow star seniors,
their children depositing them
silently and hurriedly under
the hiss of the lamp shutting
off from the night watch.

Daan sewed the photo
of his yellow star grootmoeder
on a wooden chair staring into the sun
into  the lining of his jacket
and felt its pressure on the day
when the train arrived for him too.

The freight train to the Westbrook stockyard
the stench of manure, ****, fetid hay,
the old scent of cattle mingling with man,
fear embedded in every board,
was, as always, on time.
Jonathan Moya May 27
On her last ride on the Arkansas river, 
she watched the world turn crooked, 
all the hickory shading yellow, 
their leaf tears forming 
sunny arrows in the flow, 
nuts falling in the glide, 
bringing smoker memories 
of hams cooked under their roast, 
red maples tapped for their syrup, 
the unharvested loblolly pines
dropping their branches 
almost in caress, one last kiss.

Inside she could feel the cross 
go slanted in her golden bedroom,
envision her daughter taping 
together the amber pages of their Bible
turned to Luke 8:24, felt the Arkansas’ lull,
her in breath becalming the storm inside,
while shedding a tear for her gray mutt
with a rill of white running up his snout
and down his belly, staring at the spot
where the burned ashes of her bedding 
would be buried.
May 23 · 290
The Genocide Field
Jonathan Moya May 23
Trupie Pole, this Field of Death
is called in the old Slavic tongue,
shares its grief with the ruins
of the Catholic Church,
its relics long since relocated
to the hollowed knots of oaks
that populate a crooked forest.
Stick scarecrows, their bag heads
floating phantoms, protect the border.

Even the trees grow stunted where
the ground was soaked with blood,
limbs swaying towards each other
like separated twins begging
uselessly for reunion.  
Each blasted vein and half leaf
still echoes with the shriek,
the soil still leaks rust when trod,
memories of false sanguine
still glisten on overcast mornings,
and the howl of fog never dissipates,
while rumors of griffon vultures
returning from the dead
to paw for a taste of the catacombs
below are abundant as gnats.

In a wooden wagon the grandchildren
of blood huddle in desperate acts
of remembrance and procreation
ignoring the old woman with a babushka,
and somber dress fertilizing the field
with  tears for the thousandth time
for the sleeping twin under her boots.
May 22 · 360
Rain Dance
Jonathan Moya May 22
The rain creates its own ballet
starting with a lone figure on a bridge
holding an umbrella in the fog
splashing teardrops with his feet,
doing jetes over the larger puddles,
until the wind inverts his shade,
plies turning to pirouettes,
approaches cascading to the portal
and the head of the street,
dancing to a cityscape beyond.

At the last turn they meet cute,
their outward canopies entangling
rib to rib, shadow to shadow,
a plastic bag covering hair and
half her face, soggy groceries
nursed to her chest, an oversized
purse dangling her wrist, pulling
her down, falling, wishing for
something, someone, anything
to stop the descent, the crash.

He catches her in perfect repose,
umbrellas twirling the pavement,
as he slowly lifts her to him just a
breath and heartbeat away,
their hands touching, a thousand
raindrops pulsing on and in them.

Her parasol dances away from her
over the edge into the swirl below,
his caught before flight is vigorously
shaken to form.  He stuffs fallen
apples and pears into the pockets
of his rain jacket.  She discreetly
stashes a box of tampons into
her coat’s hidden lining. The umbrella
is their only shelter as she holds
it over them while he carries her
in his arms to the nearest cover,
a bodega with a green awning.  

At the corner of the drizzling mist
a mother swaddles her boy
in the hems of her rain dress.
Unprotected singles cover
their heads with open hardcovers
or purchases clenched in plastic bags.
Couples step in unison huddled
under their vinyl domes.
It’s all a parade under black and white,
a synchronized rainbow of attitude,
adding  to the grand Romantic ballet
of bending, riding, stretching, gliding,
darting, jumping and turning to and fro.

The finale has the last drop crying
to the pavement, to the street,
washing the asphalt in its clarity,
a lachrymose river flowing down drains,
the mechanical traffic dispersing
the  rest in butterfly waves that
sends the ensemble to the edges,
leaving the coryphees alone, apart,
staring at each other in the evaporation,
waiting forlornly for the first trickle
to return and kiss their skin with joy.
The Mayas of Colemnar Viejo for the last twilight hours
of early May exist in mature thoughts, statues unable to address
the questions designed to unseat their repose from  
spectators marching  into shadows.  By night they will
know the answers that will secret their lives, grateful for
Ermita de Remedios for the revelation and insight that will
allow them to play until the miracle appears. Their mothers
will bless them, remembering their time when it was their duty
to stay still enough to hear God breathe and acknowledge
the old beehive for pollinating wildflowers for their throne.

The Mayas flower with the secret whispers passed down
from grandmothers to mothers to daughters from before
when Maia echoed to a month, when she was the very flow
of the vegetable world, the monthly blood, Pleiades nights,
the first fingers of cotton lavender, narcissus, spurge,
and hyacinth poking the spring bloom with shy joy, until
adult enough to be a proper escort for  mute child queens.
Her aura surrounds the Mayas, a halo echoing earth, sky
and sun, the unnoticed slow revolve of all repose
only noticed in the dissolve from night to day.

The tapestries are heirlooms: two borrowed from
a photographer’s closet, one unfolded in the attic,
another a dust collector hung to cover a wall crack,
and the last, depicting a  tangle of horsed knights
in a tropical land on a royal leopard and lion hunt,
ancient enough to have kissed the walls of twenty houses
and become familiar with a dozen Last  Suppers.
Every house in Colemnar Viejo blessed with a nina
has a tapestry with a true or mythic history
suitable enough to be a Maya dreamscape.

The Mayas are serenaded by a brass band attired in paunchy black and white
that parades from pose to pose playing canciones praising  their beauty and style.
They wear relics carefully preserved and handed down: white petticoats
and shirts, Manila shawls of celestial yellow, blue heaven, weeping black,
vibrant Spanish carnations, and pure white, eloquently tied in the back.
Clustered around the town’s center the Mayas can see all the others
solemnly carved in silence and slow time, know that the basilica beyond
houses forever the crying ****** and the anguished Christ surrounded
in golden murals and feel the sadness  that in minutes the frozen
can only watch them freely move, dance and play.
The Walnut Street pedestrian bridge hides it sorrows
in bevies of Instagram brides, cheerleaders,
band members wearing their school ts ,
leashed dogs sniffing the edges of Statue of Liberty green wanting to dive after the slowly moving boats on the Tennessee river below, couples holding hands,
wisely staying to the middle away from the joggers jostling through on both sides.

The daylight dilutes the fear of falling with its clarity,
each step is defined with certainty on its planks,
and a cheerful civility keeps everyone safe.

On the Bluff side dogs will bite the air
in a frenzy that lasts until the second span’s crossing,
attacking scents over a century and two scores old,
when thirteen years apart the noose corpses
of Alfred Blount and Ed Johnson swayed
in rhythm with the Tennessee river.

The last walkers are the frantic and anguished,
calculating the blind spot and time for a late night jump,
one where no will be around to talk them down
and not even the insomniacs looking out from the bluff
will be watching and listening for the splash.

A mid point plaque details its  construction
with brief  acknowledgements to those
who have fallen in its creation. No roadside crosses
memorialize the blood shed into its rust.

Underneath the Tennessee flows,
no one seeing its blackness,
nor the mixing and depositing
of everything that has cried.
Jonathan Moya Apr 26
To ride the subway clutching half dead roses
in a paper bag is to know that shadows
have weight, light has gravity and geometry
exists in algorithms of pain, that  sadness
is  a reflection of the loneliness of space and time.

Even the sisters under the MTA map,
one cradled in uneasy sleep
in the cleft of the other’s shoulder,
the woke one staring mournfully ahead
as the cab lights alternate between
jaundice station hues and tunnel blacks,
are aware that they are moving grave stones.

The lovers awkwardly  kissing in the next seat,
her eyes slightly open not meeting his gaze,
their heads tilted so far their faces misalign,
exist in the uncertain promise of intimate connection.

A woman stealthily smoking nooses of ash
steps on, cradling  a crying cup of coffee,
while an old man with a cane holding a
rattling tin of coins blindly exits to the platform.

At the top of the exit, the nearest brownstone
has a family gathering to take a clan photo,
their impatient gazes exposing the micro spaces
between their existence and their own lonely thoughts.
Jonathan Moya Apr 26
The shadows of our footprints
follow us everywhere from the court,
the pavement, the dance, the street,
ink stained register of our birth,
and the stumble to grave,
invisible to us unless
in melting snow, bed of dirt.

The powder on the factory floor
leaves the forensics of our existence.

Watch as trees bend
to cover the crime,
wind and lighting conspire
to cover the crime.

The little black dog on a leash
being hastily pulled away
as his hind paws kick up snow
in a frenzy conspiracy to hide the tracks
while other tracks are exposed in
the freshly trampled white
too numerous for even limbs to hide.

The angles of shadow staircases and flues
declare the evidence of their guilt,
their conspiracy with death.

An iron rooster crowing northwest
in the embers of the day
exposes rooftop crosses
and a receding skyline,
caught in the smoky cyclone
that reveals two once tall towers.

Two shadows on the pavement
walk towards each other
one holding onto the long
rail of a stop sign while
the lady on the third floor
arranges three flower pots
on her tenement window sill
in the enclosing concrete footprints
that surround her and every one.
Shadows, Footprints, every day Crimes
Mar 30 · 129
The Sea Grape Remembers
Jonathan Moya Mar 30
It has been five years
since I visited you
my old  Sea Grape friend,
standing proud and
wizened in the front yard,
unbothered by all
the construction behind.  

Everything is smaller
and crowded than
I once lived it,
except for you—  
still the right size
for a wild girl to climb,
providing enough shade
for a shy and pensive boy
to shelter under and  
think lyric thoughts
or listen to the Dolphins
playing their first football
on a scratchy transistor radio.

I was always the net
under your boughs
lest that restive girl  
should fall after proudly
reaching your canopy,
seeing the open sky
the soft sunlight
kissing her face forever
urging a higher climb.  

She never did stumble,
not even once, just
shaking green hard grapes
loose onto my head
like Newton’s apples,
creating ideas for
stories to explore and write.  

She is still a Sea Grape climber
and I a shade tree dweller,
she ever conquering canopies
and I seeking safe shadows
to read under, plot and scribble.

Your life has spanned
close to a century,
although I have known
you near sixty of those.

Your history, I imagine
had you a transplanted twig
torn from Crandon shores
to become, after the road,
the first magnificent presence
in the middle of East Shore Drive,
the pride of the community
that built a wall to contain,
protect you from Atlantic winds.

You are the survivor
having seen the coco tree
just across the sidewalk
break in a hurricane,
and the banana plant,
which never fruited,
behind the barrier wall,
under the corner eaves,
(where beneath its fronds,
I watched my first desire
shivering cross armed
in a blue maid’s dress, seeking
shelter from the pelting rain)
the succumbing victim
of gnats, flies, mosquitos
and persistent tropical rot.

I saved my first kiss so it
reside under your  embrace,
an awkward peck that
braced her to your trunk,
unleashing an army
of carpenter ants that
trooped through her hair,
the cleft in your middle
a way station for home invasion.

I knew then that you were
a jealous protector of
all the things that loved you,
at least the human ones,
for I never witnessed
gray squirrels scurry
up your speckled trunk,
nor mockingbird nests
resting in tan scar branches,
nor a single heart leaf,
fall sadly to the ground.

The old house behind you,
has kept true to your colors,
beginning green as the sea
and the initial touch of hand to leaf;
five years after college,
a new owner turning it tan
as your weathered bark;
ten years yon, after mom’s funeral,
it like the twilight glow dusting
your every branch and limb;
till thirty years later, I stand here
feeling the squishy snap of your
purple mature fruit under my feet,
the destruction echoed in the  
dusty patina walls looking
like a Pompeian relic.

Now everything is a remodel,
peafowls, peahens, peachicks
with their rainbow eye tails,
iguanas strutting everywhere,
roosting for competing limbs
in mangroves and cypress,
though respecting your old dame
privacy and royal privilege,
while the din of new spaces
being built on still good wood
vibrates out to you my friend.

I scoop some of your purple pulp
into a zip lock plastic bag,
I keep in the car for road trip
vegetable treasures, enough
for a proper souvenir, the rest
reserved for my wife to make
a sweet, tangy Sea Grape jelly,
knowing that this will be
the last time I spend with you
in your earthly eternity.
Mar 28 · 109
Black in Japan
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
Being black in Japan
means you have more white spaces
on the day-night trains.

The darkness of U.S.
allows yellow jaundice to
shine its rising sun.

Empty seats allow
black thoughts to make room for small
breezes of knowledge.

That Ainu minstrels
shouldn’t be doing Doo-***
on Nippon TV.

That the jet blackness
of Naomi Osaka
not be a shade light.

That the Shogun kept
no black slaves be an excuse
for all other ones.

That racist white face
teaching black black face hatred
is not a shoeshine.

That racism is a
presumption and is not a
a very good gene.
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
She was almost as white as ivory
and more valuable than ebony.  
A pale diamond of abolitionists dreams
draped in a plaid trimmed dress with lace,
curls surrounding her face like
any other plantation girl.

She exists at the edge of color
at the point when light
could be captured as day edges
into shades of night,
somber hues of black and gray.

The notebook on the cloth covered table
suggested richness and more
away from the whipped harvest gatherings,
something stolen away
to be the pride of a Boston heir.
The daguerreotype could never
shake free its sense of death caught still.

Mary Mildred Williams was her white name.
The black one died when she was sold
on the Virginia square for 900 dollars.
Senator Summer bought her freedom
and then enslaved her image
for the abolitionist sway.  The first poster child  
for black liberty, for the fugitive slave
needing an open air railroad.

She got her last white name, little Ida May,
(same as the imagined white girl
kidnapped and dyed black
to be put in peril for another white right cause)
to highlight the fact that Mildred’s complexion
was the result of generations of white ****.

She was paraded unshackled
from podium to podium,
leaflets of her face passed out,
as common as reward posters
for those who dared run and stray.

She was the next to last speaker
to Solomon Northrop,
also an ex-slave with a
best selling freedom story.

The passing of her image
was a political act,
for a swarming media  
enchanted by someone
who looked just
like them but wasn’t.

America loves black stories
that need white saviors
to be reassured of their
separate but equal vision.
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
He could only understand her with his blows,
grabbing her by the throat
strangling the last words out of her,
hitting her on the top of her head
trying to knock any idea
of her making him a better man,
like his father tried 136 times before.

Yes, he remembered every blow he received
just as she took tally of all 67 he delivered.  

The next one will be 68,
halfway to his father’s count.
He will stop, he thought,
consoling himself with the moral insight
that he was only half as bad as his old man.  

Besides 69 was a love number,
a time  for her to show him some appreciation
by getting on top and blowing the **** out of him, while he turn his face away from
the tangle of her brown ***** hair
because the taste of her abuse
wasn’t sweet enough to his tongue.

He dragged her out through the fields
towards the swamp.  The old rage wafted up
and the only thing that mattered was that he **** it, ****** that *****, briefly ashamed by the remembrance of his six year old son calling her that same word in the kitchen with the equal velocity
and rage he felt right now.

He pulled his deer knife out of his pocket,
the small one he used for gutting,
placed it at the tenderest part of her throat,
the spot were frightened blood pounded
and felt the most alive.  He was planning
on burying her underneath the wreckage
of that old sorry ******* Ford,
the one he gave up trying to rehabilitate
because the parts no longer existed.  

He never noticed his boy was following behind.  
He dropped the knife when he heard
the two screams come, one ripped
through the voice box of his wife, the other
off the tongue of the son he hardly noticed.

The 137th blow his father never got to deliver,
the 68th blow of their marriage
was delivered by her, a left handed
backward elbow straight into his Adam’s apple.  

While he strangled
in the recognition of his blood leaving him
and returning,- no, not really, not ever, he thought,-
she delivered the 69th straight into his nuts,
both knowing and relishing the irony.  
It was the last joke they would ever share.

She ran behind and grabbed their child,
then both made a dash for
the two lane black tar road
thirty yards into their future.  
The first light they saw
stopped and took them away.  

The last thing he heard,
as gravity pulled him down
to be buried in the mud of his own shame
was the simultaneous half laugh, half scream
that was the lingering echo of their last caress,
his savage groan and recognition
of their last punchline vomiting out of him
as he collapsed and buried his face in his hands, acknowledgement that he was half the father,
the man, the child everyone thought he was.
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
My grief is stillborn, not consoled by the hope
of replacement of another good little boy or girl
with brown paws and a gentle lick,
another Anne or Tom with eyes that cry of heaven
and a bright mind that can write lines of cerulean clarity or calculate pi to the twentieth decimal,
a wife named All  or a husband named Trust,
a mother named Everything who can  feel,
understand the 10, 000 aches of my  soul,
or a father named Generosity who is there
for every birth, graduation and funeral.  
Everything and All that is  trusting
and generous can never be replaced.

My grief is a suicide that can’t be understood
by the generous and trusting,
everything that has come before
and everything that will happen since.
My grief is not yours and yours is not mine.
I can’t share it with you, only bear it.
All we have in common is tears
that fill a cup of pain and enough salt
to line a Margarita glass, the next
bunch of circular steps till the watch stops
and someone opts us for ash or six feet under.
You cant understand anything of my grief
until you have lost your Everything and All.

My grief is space, a dark, long, lonely void,
like a lost astronaut spiraling away from earth.
There is no consolation in the idea
that at least he won’t be suffering for long,
that God won’t give him more than he can bare
and then some. He doesn’t care that he has all space
to feel the slow asphyxiation that comes
with the release of gravity.  His parents will
still be earthbound, feeling the heavy loss,
forever looking up and wondering
why the sky took their joy away.
The world will let them cry just
as I cry for his floating away.

Tell me a story when I grieve and cry.
For I am a poet and need the comfort of words.
For I need the art that lives and can be passed around.
For I need to know what you don’t know.
For I need to show Everything and All.
For I need to imagine everything you can’t.
For I need the action of your kindness and time.
Grant me your generosity and trust.
Grant me the power of your pardon,
the grace of an honest look,
the sincere utterance of I’m sorry,
for when you lack the words
I know all the generous, trusting, healing ones.
Mar 28 · 20
Border Crossing
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
There is no sky or earth
in the white van that crosses me over,
nor in the drywall coop painted red
where white men with tattooed arms
stood up and sit down, up and down,
unleashed erections pivoting
and searching for the best angle
to penetrate my forever painful ***.

I am called “pollo”, chicken,
“nuevo carne”, new meat
by the coyote who drove me
and the gringos who maul me,
their millet dollars tossed into hands
waiting unsmiling at the ajar door,
passage paid with my legs,
eggs for pollos not eaten.

Across the hall I hear the cackling
of men orgasming into torn sheets,
a softer clucking than the maras gangs
of Tegucigalpa roosting the food market
and the barrios for ****** violators.
In Honduras anyone can ******
a woman and nothing will happen.  
At least, in Texas they bury you.

They promise half of half of half of profits,
less than 50 pesos, dollars on a $50 John.
They dress me in corpse rags that
stink of gasoline and last *******;
feed me grain, maize, rain barrel water.  
My nakedness kills fleeing for freedom.
Nobody will risk saving a puta, *****
from a charcoal window stash house.

I dreamed once I could wear silk dresses
or richly sew them together for a small,
life with a good man and brown-eye kids.
The Chinese girl smuggled in from Fuzhou
can aspire to own a nail salon, or work
a massage parlor run by Sister Ping’s heirs.
Biloxi runaways can traffic on NY dreams.
I have only violation and suicide.

I traveled the border crossing between
Tegucigalpa and the American Dream,
enough  to forget why I crossed over,
times enough until I wasn’t me anymore,
to pace back and forth, scratch at
and settle in the straw of forgetfulness,
American in I have a  heavy debt
that only heaven can release.
Mar 28 · 116
The Orangutang Falls
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
The Sumatran orangutan, gardening her spot  
comfortable in the canopy and lush tree top,
nursing her young month-old,
fell fiery below, seventy-four holes
in her when the shooting stopped.

Four air gun pellets pierced her left eye,
two her right, leaving her darkly blind,
a howling Homer, Milton in orange pain,
bereaved, childless, now a wild-less refrain
scratching the earth for any hopeful frame..

Her collar broken, lacerations from sharp objects
on her upright arm and leg, one left finger a socket.
Her fiery camouflage that hid her in the canopy light
is singed in the clearing flame, her skin turned night    
just another victim of human slight.

She will suckle her ghost child five years until mature
for the pain she has there is no real animal cure.
Use to solitude she is now truly truly alone,
even as the human rescuers reset her broken bones.
For in the war between good and bad man she is the lure.

Spared the ignominy of being a rich Clint Eastwood’s pet,
she will live out her life in sanctuary and uneasy stress
away from those who fear a Planet of Apes,
a refugee of the Air Gun War with her own tamed space,
PTSD, therapy, rehabilitation and very high tree state.
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
In Elsinore the poppies grow
Despite the constant selfies show
     That stake their place in yellow high,
      No birds photo bomb their big I
Show not seen by same throngs below.

We are the influencers you know.
We shine, svelte pose, for good ad flow,
     Post for your likes, so we can lie,
        In poppy groves.

Take your quarrel elsewhere you trolls:
You will follow us we all know
     Your phones, held high to your good side.
      Poseurs keeping faith with the lie
That your green screen poppies all grew
          In Elsinore fields.
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
I have something I must confess to you
I pick my nose, eat all my buggers too.
This causes distress and disgust I know    
still off the floor I’ve  eaten food that glows.

Science says that it’s all just for the best
for I immunize against just those pests,
my antibodies delight in the twirl
of not taking a break from this ill world.

Be too clean enough, watch your body die,
a clam unable to grow pearls inside.

The history of hay fever  attests
it started an aristocratic pest
until more begats trickled it to the rest.
Years later immunity herd resets
made your older ***** hand many bros
less the cause of your sneezing and your woes.
Now cleaner living, hygienic hands,
less man, swing it back to the wealthy clans.

The fate of humanity all well depends
on the fact antibodies never end.
Evolution favors the hardy bugs
making man one of its many doomed shrugs.
Disease, extinction, not in human plan,
he will fight, fight to be part of this land.

Vaccines have prevented much needless death
giving antibodies a daily test.
We have avoided all that still does ****
yet  allergies still make one run to hills,
allowing even worst auto-inflamed chills.
Giving all your antibodies a rest
is not the answer for ****** distress.

Time to adapt bodies to the new world.
Not **** both good and bad in the big furl.
Let it listen, learn and train friend from foe,
not pay attention to the ad man’s show.

Man has conquered this small space to survive,
he must evolve away to really thrive.
We are unsafer when we **** all risk,
to immunize, immunize is the trick.

So I will pick my nose, eat my buggers,
knowing I am creating new lovers
not afraid at all to hug each other.
Mar 28 · 32
The Forgetting
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
a black cowl is over her
deliberately shuttered
in an unlit windowless room
so when I open my eyes
she is invisible,
a lemon whiff
peeling away,
a piano c note
on a whole beat
struck three times,
to tingle skin,
ping the tuning ear,
enough to know-now-ow-w
the first great rain of her,
the steps to her
now a thousand
clear receding lights
causing blinks
needing their
very own cowls,
leaving her-er-r
r last lost space
Mar 28 · 62
The Plains Weavers
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
The weavers of the plains are tireless workers
poor but honest, always trusting the generosity
of an unlocked door to let in a husband working
nights at the print and design shop, finishing that
last small sign full of eclairs glazed with the most deliciously  appealing serif  font for the new
French bakery off of main and twenty-third

or the plumber who heard about that
slow running toilet on the second floor
who leaves the bill neatly near the vanity
knowing the check will come with
the Wednesday amble and update chat

or the mechanic who can be trusted with the
keys and a blank check  on the front seat
of that old blue Ford that is leaking green.

The weaver mother with seven children,
threads pieces for their school newspaper,
spins fine clear aqua yarn showing other kids
how to swim, substitute teaches so that she
can bind their minds into a chalkboard panel
of good knowledge, even drives the school bus
if that is what the thread requires to be strong.

The weaver farmer sees the Nebraska soil
is thready, dry, hard to till,   harder
to water, that crops can’t be harvested
without the abundant help of others.

In it they see a tapestry,
the people it’s colors
everything needing a tight loom
for it to work, survive and thrive  
and bind forever together.


So, they are intentionally local knowing
machine yarn eventually unravels,
that good thread can’t be found online,
and that the best panels in the tapestry
are the ones that come from common life.
Jonathan Moya Mar 28
Passion’s Cursive Highway

P
It starts with the line, an upwards curlicue,
the noose flapping rightwards in the wind,
at the top of the curl, an afterthought,
because every line needs a curve and a loop
to follow the road set to the next ones beginning,
less it turn in on itself, circle about,
or start and end nowhere.
a
The next road is not a road,
but an interchange, connected
curve flowing at the bottom,
arching outward to the top,
to half the height, straining
to touch the loop behind
and just above, falling
in an outward curve
that delivers the scribbled
start that is the highway
of their journey.
ss
Their highway starts in swagger,
they thinking it’s straight
but it really swerves and swerves,
she existing in the sedan
of soul and soothing blissful union,
he riding in the open convertible
the slapping wind of ***, sin
and self his indulgent mantra,
the rolling curves of the highway
unfolding, a striking rattlesnake
pushing them together in
a union of fear and death
stuck half in trust and mistrust.
i
They exit the highway their auto
in the fleeting traffic streaming by
an unnoticed sensible sedan, SUV,
minivan amidst the flashier styles
until a passing train forces a stop
at the gate till the arms clear
and the red lights stop flashing
and they can continue the little ways
to the incline street that halts
period, at the dead end that is their
garage and two story home.
o
Everyday they drive in and out
of the interchange that is
their two kids, two cars,
back and forth from shopping,
home, work, garage to garage,
other stories and two story house,
she practicing, and refining the
upward curve outward *****
that is her harmonious devotion
to perfecting the craft of family life,
he to the obsessive dedication of
work, promotion, goals, achievement.
n
At the up stroke, halfway to the end,
he crashed and she was there
to pick up the pieces and give him
her half of the inward flexing n,
loosening the noose to fly in the wind,
finally uniting their divided passions
into not a marriage but a union
that respected the middle ground
they had created with each other
and the true real love that was there.

— The End —