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1.7k · Jun 2019
Icarus’ Sister
Jonathan Moya Jun 2019
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.
1.7k · Oct 2019
Okay
Jonathan Moya Oct 2019
“Are you okay?”,
my wife asks
when I cough.

“No. I’m fine.
Yes. I’m not”,
I respond,

stumping her
in the poetic irony
of words that

encompass the
yes and no
and the in between.

She flips the finger
at me and I return
the bird to the nest.

We go back to our life
and our tablets,
the drip, drip of my chemo
and I wonder about okay.

“No.  You’re fine.
Yes. You’re not.”,
the bag stares in response.
Jonathan Moya Mar 30
In the hospital room
the doc watches Death come,
last breath a quiet sigh
surrounding the crash of stats.
He has visited Death’s country  
and left with its blue bruise stamp
on his wrist and heart,  
very thoughts.
No goodbyes.  No regrets. None.
Just schemes to betray it
when it tries to betray him
wrapped in a hospital sheet.
He save what Death stole.
He pull life out by the heels.
He rebirth it again,
give it years.
Death’s revenge took his mom first.
His dad made it two grave stones.
Today his pockets were all full
of Death’s black-blue pebbles.
The plague was blooming,
the pollinators were keen.
The world was a Kaddish,
torn cloaks and moans.
He saw blood through the sheets:
the new nature was just
now beginning its Spring bloom.
789 · Sep 2019
Porcelain Years
Jonathan Moya Sep 2019
Our marriage is old enough to vote now
and on this our porcelain anniversary
I vote “Yes, I do,”  over and over again.

A score of fine filigree plates I will gift us,
two broken to match the fragile times,
the eighteen days past the towers fall
when we married amidst grief and joy.

Our Noritake sacraments survives the bombings
of a blasted world, the cracking, fractures,
the buffing of our mistakes to a translucent
perfection, all frozen details rimmed with gold.

Cancer is etched on the lip, but so
is cure, joy, longevity, beauty, respect,
and the watermark underneath, our keepsake
forever, irreplaceable love.
Kristen is my second wife. We got married  eighteen days after 9-11, when the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell in a terrorist attack on September 11,  2001. Thus if you do the math of the second stanza you get one score. (20) minus two = 18. Eighteen days past 9/11 makes the date September 29, 2001.

  It is also our eighteenth anniversary.  The irony of that number in our lives today was too good to leave out of the  Poem.  

The typical gift for an 18th wedding anniversary is porcelain.  Thus China and Noritake reference.  

For those aware of history the Noritake factory was bombed and destroyed by Allied planes in WOrld War Two.  Only the China it produced survived the bombing. © 9 hours ago,
Jonathan Moya Jun 2019
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.
Jonathan Moya Oct 2019
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (A Movie Poem)

The absence of love
makes one a villain
in other’s hearts.

In the proposal
the weeping willow
sheds its leaves
to the sky,

while in the bowels below
the servants of the earth
forge war,

pull iron from earth
as it screams
to be reclaimed.

Above, silk napkins
unfold into laps
with a curt snap of wrists.

Into the depths
the princess falls,
into the opposite of heaven.

She opens her eyes
to the evil above her, around her,
near her, pouring out
like bearings onto sheets of gold.

“Maybe,” she thinks,
“we can exist
without fear of war?
Find a way together?”

This is no fairy tale,
but yet this
is precisely a fairy tale.

She dreams of her wedding
where all are invited
and all are expected.

She can see butterflies
swirl around her wedding gown,
her face reflected in a golden bowl,
the bloom of thousands
of attending fairies.

But yet, she is still falling,
full with the wisdom
that the spindle
curses everything it touches

and that her subjects are locusts
fated to swarm the earth
a thousand years
enduring the evil promised them,

until she burns herself out,
the last blood of the Phoenix,
destined from ashes to be transformed.
580 · May 2019
Rain Dance
Jonathan Moya May 2019
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.
559 · Jun 26
The Last Piece of Cake
Jonathan Moya Jun 26
There once was a race of cake men
equally divided between
birthday and wedding types,
each born into whatever flavor
was selling that day—
usually chocolate or vanilla,
but towards the end Neapolitan-
whose faith was strong.

They succumbed to the next door
country of cake eaters,
who reveled in their two week
long cake eating festival.

The eaters would line up with
their forks and plates
and slice off a big piece of
cake men as they fled to
the nearby country of pie people
who granted them asylum and citizenship
because their people were
mainly rhubarb and mincemeat
and we’re suffering through fruit blight
that was destroying their fabled variety.

Soon the festival yielded
to a full scale invasion.
You see, the cake eaters were
tired of waiting in the sample line.
They ate the cake men to the last crumb.

With all the cake gone they ate the pies.
But by then the idea of cake was a lie.
The cakes were now  mostly pies.

When the last forkful of pie
was in the cake eaters mouth
it screamed:

I will not be eaten by anyone
who can not see my beauty.

The eaters never thought that a cake
could be admired and never eaten.
They had no sense of the art and beauty
that was the filling of the cake/pie men’s faith

That last bite of pie became poisonous
and from then on the cake eaters
(who were now forced to make their own)
could never fully have their cake and eat it
without throwing up or dying.
They were now forever doomed to eat
their meat and vegetables.
552 · Jul 2019
The Nacre of Cancer
Jonathan Moya Jul 2019
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.
Jonathan Moya Sep 2019
Rapid City wears its patriotism like a shroud.
Corner streets are populated with less than
life-size statues of past presidents
squinting at the distant Black Hills
where the grandeur of Mt. Rushmore
casually crumbles their bronze dreams.

Wax settlers, loggers and gold miners
stake claims with souvenir hunters
touring a mine, panning for fool’s gold.

In nearby Custer, 75 breaths  from Wounded Knee,
shops hawk Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Geronimo t-shirts
proclaiming them “ The Original Founding Fathers.”
Mixed in are those in star-spangled letters and fireworks
proudly streaming “Welcome to America. Now Speak English.”

Rushmore was dynamited from a cliff
by a creator who spent the rest of his life
erecting grand Confederate gestures
out of ****** Georgia quartz monzonite—
finished and opened 100 years to the day
after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.  

Thirty minutes from Rushmore, existing in its shadow
on private land filled with dusty trails,
unfinished after seventy years,
probably still unfinished after twenty  more,
facing away from these great stone faces,
emerging from the side of great Thunderhead Mountain,

on an ivory stead with a mane of flowing river and wind,
exists the Oglala Lakota warrior Tasunke Witko
the worm of Crazy Horse the Old and Rattling Blanket Woman,
sibling of Little Hawk and Laughing One, memory of the spirit of
Black Buffalo and White Cow who walked with an Iron Cane,
all enclosed with him in this massive breath of white stone.

The history of this great Indian space stretches the land,
four times higher than the Statue of Liberty,
extending beyond the warrior frown, the pointing left arm.
The horse’s ear alone is the size of a rusty  reservation bus.
When finished it will be the largest sculpture in history,
bigger than the land, breath and all of Indian memory.

It was the Vision Quest of Chief Henry Standing Bear to show the whites that the red man had great heroes, too.
In a man named Korczak he found a kindred spirit,
a storyteller in stone, a survivor of Omaha Beach,
who when the first wife faltered, found a second
who gave him enough children to carry, sculpt the Bear Dream.  

The big chief’s face is still the only finished part.
Korczak’s wife and children toil with the rest,
struggling to capture the essence of a warrior
who never allowed his shadow to be snared
in the false glow of the white man’s light,
trusting only the rain beams that fall

onto his people, mountains, plains and buffaloes,
onto Paha Sapa, “the heart of everything that is,”
where the Lakota huddled while the world was created,
now a land of broken treaties and dying dreams,
drenched in the dust of tears underneath,
while this white face torn from red gazes East.
Wounded Knee is not only the sight of an 1800’s Indian Massacre but the rumored burial spot of Sitting Bull.

The grand confederate gesture refers to Stone Mountain park, a Mt Rushmore etched with the faces of the Confederacy: Robert E. Lee,
452 · May 2019
The Genocide Field
Jonathan Moya May 2019
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.
381 · Sep 2019
Death Mask of Ours
Jonathan Moya Sep 2019
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.
381 · May 2019
Last Ride on the Arkansas
Jonathan Moya May 2019
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.
Jonathan Moya Oct 2019
“If you do not write or film”,
the director wonders,
”am I alive?”

“What limbo am I in
when the shooting stops?
When my camera no longer
holds the beautiful prism.”

His films stay the same,
only he changes,
exchanging the silver screen
for glistening tin foil
heated under with a match.

When his pain matches
the others, he prays.
When greater, he’s an atheist.

The films are his only company.
He lives with them and for them,
remembering the cinema of his youth
filled with the scents of ****
and jasmine and summer breezes;

remembering the cave
where he learned
to read the light,
understand its alphabet,
and eventually, vocabulary
with each discovered ray.

He smiles as the music track
of little angels being taught
by the local parish priest
to match his voice note
by note flickers in.
Jonathan Moya Oct 2019
Doldrums, doldrums
eviler than the devil.
-
The Cyclopes’ prism eye  
revolves around me
in a mechanical chatter.
-
It calls out desires at night,
a mermaid cast up on shore
-
that awakens with the caw
of a thousand slaughtered gulls
-
sending me scrambling
back to the darkness,
-
afraid to touch
the brightness of hell.
-
Doom to scrub the deck
till shining like
a ***** whale’s pecker;
-
falling in the whitewash
and awakening to a gull
worming at me boot laces;
-
tugging barrels, lugging barrels,
spit polishing the insides of them.
-
Gulls have the souls of sailors
hidden inside their caw,
-
and when the weathervane
points to the east side wind
-
for seven months the waters
be too great to launch or land
-
and I be ****** near
wedded to this here light.
-
Or she be a figment of my imagination
and I just be gull food
to peck on on these rocks?
311 · Mar 2019
The Orangutang Falls
Jonathan Moya Mar 2019
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 18
Soldiers patrol Bethlehem now.

The Kaaba hosts no
circumambulating mustati.

The Ganges’ bathes
in its own sin and ash  
releasing no Moksha.

The Vatican quarantines
even  its Cardinals as
The Pope holds mass
to an empty St. Peter’s Square.

In Chicago, a 7-year-old girl named Heaven,
will not die today, not become  
the most expensive candy in the world,
as her mother watches her, the miracle of today,
walk all alone by herself to a closed sweet shop.
275 · Aug 2019
Dog Acts
Jonathan Moya Aug 2019
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.
247 · Sep 2019
Down Flight
Jonathan Moya Sep 2019
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 gay 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.
218 · Jul 23
Beyond the Dying Cloud
Jonathan Moya Jul 23
When a cloud dies
doves and eagles
dip their wings
in mournful ‘memberance.

When the sky dies
it rots black
in despairing soot
of ash and pain.

When the moon dies
it’s mourned
by the elliptical kisses
of the planets beyond.

When a planet dies
the universe gently cradles it
and lullaby’s it to the sun
until it falls to sleep.

When the universe dies
the lonely sad earth knows
that all the trees will go dark
when the world dies.
Jonathan Moya Nov 2019
With the sound of sirens screaming outside,
ten knocks on the door, the shout of authority
flooding in from the red steel,
would Joe American give up Anne Frank
hiding in the attic among his dusty relics,
the crawl space shared with a family of rats,
living under the loose floorboards among
the stacks of hidden zombie apocalypse cash?

What if Jane American found Anna Franco
shuddering with her dos hermanos, madre, padre,
in the dark corners of her garage?

Would she give them 2 vests, 3 pair of pants,
two pair of stockings, a dress skirt,
jacket, shorts, lace up shoes,
wool cap, and scarf?

What if her daughter Sarah saw a black hijab Anah
patiently hidden in the foliage of their old oak tree?
Would she gift her her favorite blue fountain pen?

Would she embrace her, or if ordered,
break the neck of her rabbit?
206 · Jan 27
Just Mercy
Jonathan Moya Jan 27
Southern justice is the snake
that slithers up the tree
before the buzz
of  the lumberjack’s saw,
the duck of the head
to  fit it into the squad car,
the dark voice  
singing in a  dark cell
put on death row
before his trial,
convicted for the
color of his skin
before he was even born,
living everyday,
never hoping
for just mercy.
Jonathan Moya Dec 2019
The force is another Jedi mind trick
that convinces the soul that all
that is Sith is not necessarily sin
but the whining of a baby Yoda
aware of his Death Star.
190 · Nov 2019
Veteran Day
Jonathan Moya Nov 2019
The stars on the flag started falling off
when Private Walker returned home
to Tennessee after six months of being
in country in Afghanistan.

At Camp Leatherneck on the treadmill
he folded five points to pentagrams,
imagined fireworks nova his welcome back.

The flag rarely flapped in the arid silence
of base camp.  Was MIA everywhere else.

He landed unmet in
Chattanooga on Veterans Day
in time to catch the parade highlights,
which happened two days earlier,
being ignored on the airport monitors  
in the hustle of terminal traffic.

No flags decorated Broad street shops,
no watchers waived the red, white and blue.
Police motorcycles fronted the parade
and patrolled the back in sunglass alert.

Two Vietnam vets shouldering hunting rifles
marched grimly in parade formation followed
by alternating school bands and ROTC cadets.

All two thousand stars dripped down,
faded blue in the rush to show the next ad.
Every which way he looked
the rushing crowd turned his back to him.

He remembered Anousheh, the girl
whose name meant everlasting/immortal.

The child who hugged him,
kissed his forehead when he gave
her a Hershey bar from
his mom’s care package
while patrolling the base perimeter road.

The friend, the daughter, the grandchild
who died in a Taliban wedding bombing,
one week after her seventh birthday,
three days after their embrace.

His heart, his tears, his breath,
his every word was Anousheh.
All was and will be forever Anousheh.

And when he prayed
he prayed like Anousheh,
and on his knees at the airport
he faced her outbound heart
and prayed for a mutilated world.
189 · Mar 2019
Black in Japan
Jonathan Moya Mar 2019
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.
185 · Mar 7
Fold It Away, My Child
Good mothers make their children
fold and put away all clothes,
even hers after death.

Bad mothers make sure
they always wear them
for the rest of their lives.
Jonathan Moya Mar 24
The virus news carries me from room to room.
A Verdi aria breaks the solemn
chant of the rising death tolls in my brain
as Italians sing to the sick below,
voice to voice forming a single line of hope,
that filters down to the lonely windows,
my electric screen, all the world’s tablets.  
The music spreads over the mournful lulls,
penetrates through the hemagglutinin,
nucleoproteins singed by joyous noise.
The alarms of Corollas join the chorus,
even the rain ululates with applause.
The gift of every note dotes on the glass.
The ventilated sick duet with their eyes,
pale hands conducting the voices above.
The voices background the daily briefing,
the drone of Trump, and the doctors after him.
I switch to another song, more mellow-
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, something
in the same tempo, in unison, that allows
my small cautious soul to match their big notes.
181 · Jun 23
Remembering Prayer
Jonathan Moya Jun 23
There will be a time when God leaves you.
Maybe summer. Maybe winter.
The last thing he will say:
Keep searching.  Keep finding.
Seek me in the trash, the womb
lungs and heart.
He will leave you agape and stirring,
just a memory prayer
to say as the sun rises
and you wonder whether
winter or summer
has the holiest months.
179 · Feb 8
Underwater
I am Jonah in the belly of Leviathan
living only when the beast surfaces,
exchanging liquid grief, heavy air
for the unwanted gasps of new life.

I pray out of this belly for gills
and only the ocean hears my voice,  
It deepens and encompasses me,
its  waves billowing me in absolution.

The beast vomits me out to her caress,
a body of weeds penetrating to my soul.
I dream of sinking, my thoughts fainting,
lungs releasing their corruption.

I relax and the waters reject me.
It refuses me gills knowing
that land creatures were meant
to see only mountains and sky.
174 · Nov 2019
The Good Liar
Jonathan Moya Nov 2019
It’s hard to tell the lies of impression,  
little bits of puffery that
makes one  look good in the eyes
of a would be admirer.

One may say their name
with a French flair.
Betty becomes Bette.
Roy becomes Roy-al
with the long affected A
stretched out to tomorrow.

One may even tell the story  
about that old trick knee,
the birthmark turned war wound.

When they burn books,
in the end,
they also burn people.
Jonathan Moya Mar 22
The rose has thorns because
it cares not to be touched.
Its color is a warning
for animals to stay away.
Its scent is a scream and
not a delight for us to own.
It exists in ****** stillness
bending only for the sun.
The scientist knows this
having heard its sub audible
howl with delicate machines
that probe its roots.
The poet plucks the bloom
unaware of the pain that
created that beauty,
the aroma that shouts
its death to its vegetable kind.
168 · Mar 2019
The Sea Grape Remembers
Jonathan Moya Mar 2019
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.
166 · Dec 2019
Honey Boy
Jonathan Moya Dec 2019
We carry our fathers on our backs,
honey boys to their joys and violence,
absorbing their frustrations in memory
or dispersing their cries into indifferent winds.

Our hearts listen for the end of the cycle
powerless to the mind beating the rhythm anew
and the soul’s prayers for forgiveness
bounded in an eternal history of all tears.

Even Jesus felt betrayed by the father
and knew that peace only comes
with the last soft shuffle of dirt
and the new born son’s first scream.
Jonathan Moya Dec 2019
Mr. Rogers grace exists
in miniature cities of kindness,

the tranquil tones of forgiveness,
level to the eye of a single frighten child.

For him, and in that moment,
that child is the  most precious
thing in the world.

He blesses them with positive ways
of dealing with their feelings;

the benediction of accepting them
for exactly who they are;

even when everything doesn’t
go exactly the way they hoped,

shows them how to smooth the
dissonance into a beautiful inner music;

store up the blessings
of an ordinary day;

love the ratty, special toy,
even as it grows old;

to know with absolute firmness,
as parents, that anything

mentionable is manageable
and to be human-

and that’s ok.
Jonathan Moya Mar 19
Many say the last thing the dying see
is the flap of dove wings
or Jesus caressing their hair.
  
Her hallucinations were full of Him
smiling at her, speaking words
she could not understand.
  
And when I draped the
blanket over her cold feet,
crowned with the blue bruise
of all her past complications,
she was convinced I was Him.  

I played the game.  
“Hush, little one.  
I am here for you.  
Do not be afraid.”
  
I left for a moment.
I wept.
She had fallen asleep.

Before I could
return the next day,
she had passed.

Her eyes were closed.
Her mouth was a half smile,
as if she had heard a bell,
had tasted the sweetest thing.

I wondered what was that last
great thing she had heard or seen,
but she had taken her memory with her.
155 · Dec 2019
Knives Out
Jonathan Moya Dec 2019
Let the black dogs run wild,
sharpen the knives for
some real back stabbing,
roundup the usual suspects,
the mystery is about to begin.

The cardigan teen with
his nose buried in his iPhone-
he’s a suspect- murderous thoughts
sprouting his blood-brain barrier.

The neglected son tethered
to a high ranking, paying
position in the family business
with nothing burdens-
he’s a suspect too.

Eight others are robbing
Peter to pay Paul
to pay Mary to pay Martha
to pay the extorting genomes,
on the verge of being exposed,
all dangling near disinheritance.

The old codger with the money
whose always leaving clean knives out,
knowing they will forever thirst
for meat and blood, the ******
that will do the work for him,
the job his lawyers failed to do

until the whole ***** gang
finds him splayed on the calico rug,
a Chuka Bocho clever in his stomach,
a Wusthof stuck in a vertebrae-
well, he was a prime suspect,
but now, obviously he is not.

Patricide is not always a family crime.
Point the finger at the mother,
daughter, sister, son, brother
but also the heart, soul, brain
of all others inflicted with hate
that makes everyone suspects too.
Jonathan Moya Jun 2019
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.
145 · Nov 2019
Your First Mustang
Jonathan Moya Nov 2019
Everything is a continuous white line
that goes on forever to the horizon
where the  next dream is always ahead.

Just you and the mustang
a body and a machine
moving through space and time.

Drive like you mean it.
Drive hard.
Drive tight.

The Mustang is a wild bronco
not wanting to be tamed,
just unleashed- and all the cowboy
can do is hang on for the ride.

The highway is a ***** slick *****,
eight miles of grit, passion, pride
and wild love that rides hotter
the wetter she gets.

At one point she becomes
weightless, disappears, and
the only things that matters
is who you are.
Jonathan Moya Mar 21
I lose one sock every other washing.
The wisdom of the washer and dryer
says that God is stockpiling the lost one
to be reunited with the other in heaven.
Does that mean those with perfectly
mated, never separated pairs, are
doomed to the spin dry of eternal hell?
But then, it’s Smart of God, not letting me
hop around on one foot in my nakedness.

Socks are greater than love.  
They remind us that things
lost will eventually be found,
show the foolishness of looking
back to see what’s coming.
They are reminders that
rain is the reason clotheslines
have disappeared.
Jonathan Moya Oct 2019
Dreaming Graceland or Zombie Land: Double Tap


When you think Elvis was a fraud,
a rip off the black man’s voice;

when you finally meet someone
who smells like candles
instead of gunpowder and whiskey;

who is comfortable with you
driving that pink Cadillac
all the way to Memphis;

who won’t
throw your pink stuff
to the side of the road;

who will kiss you
and hold your hand

until you arrive at Graceland
and try on those blue suede shoes
that actually fit;

let you gyrate your hips,
and for one moment,
feel like the King;

until you open your eyes
and really, really see
that you’re  in Zombieland.
Jonathan Moya Sep 2019
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.
Jonathan Moya May 18
I never thought brick dreams could tumble in the wind.
My wife collects our scattered memories in a undersized bin
like a child on the tide line collecting beach glass and seashells.
She listen for the sound of blood amidst the dying wind
mistaking rustling pages for her breath cycling in and out,
her pulse beating on the surface of paper, cloth and wood.
She searches for artifacts that match/mismatch my cancer-
the progeny the tornado left scattered in the brick and wallboard.

I listen to the wind and rain ping on my ward’s windows
unaware of her scavenging, unable to sleep in the harsh light
that doesn’t erode the pain or the glitter of memory,
the constant Kabuki of nurses, doctor and blood drawers,
the chant of machines that make me mistake
the sterile for the sacred, the soundtrack for the profound.
I see my wife in the mud, inches from my eyes,
putting away the jagged, clear granules of our life.
134 · Feb 10
Florecitas
Jonathan Moya Feb 10
Ay, florecitas
clouds of white
frozen in sugary divine,
little flowers of my soul,
taste of sweet desire
of little boys in
San Juan, Moroves, Ponce,
exiles in Miami and the Bronx
tasting the beauty
of their mother’s youth—

knowing love by the rattling
of small blooms in the big tin,
the maternal hand scooping
pastels of confection perfection,
passions hard creamy diffusion
dusting her, making her
a florecita of love—

until florecitas became the way
they interpreted the sky—
there a lavender snail,
an erupting volcano,
a devouring whirlpool,
a burst of flame
a feeding octopus—

until all became
the florecitas
of their beloveds form:
her lips a strawberry florecita
splitting apart to his
first hesitant probing,
her ******* a pink florecita
waiting for his sweet consumption,
her *** a light brown florecita
gently swirling open
to his tongue’s taste,
*** a fleshy little flower
to be split in
his sweet embrace,
all of her earthy and ****
as a Neruda sonnet—

until all that is left
for themselves,
for my self,
is the fading scents
of all the florecitas
never tasted.
Jonathan Moya Mar 29
Elvis loved his peanut butter.

Gladys, who loved him the most,
as all good mothers love their children,
would feed him grilled Hawaiian bread
sandwich after sandwich of peanut butter
with chopped caramelized bananas,
or gently mashed fork bananas,
sometimes with bacon, sometimes without.

He dreamed of peanut butter and
Gladys would feed those dreams
with Fool’s Gold loaves made each of
one pound peanut butter, jelly and bacon
lovingly folded, like Graceland,
into  two foot slices of Italian bread,
cut by Gladys into pyramids
so the crusty part would never
hurt her Little King’s mouth.

He would go to bed with peanut butter
on his breath, on the roof of his mouth,
his tongue pressed to his palate so
that the peanut butter would never dissolve.
He would greet the dawn with
peanut butter morning breath,
peanut butter on his lips and  
peanut butter cloud swirls on his cheeks,
peanut butter like ant trails on
his satin pillow cases and King size sheets.

Gladys would be in the kitchen
plopping a tablespoon of buttery
peanut butter into  a skillet  
before adding two eggs and Canadian bacon.

The peanut butter shaving cream Elvis used
would still be on his neck and Gladys
would kiss it off in vampire pecks
that still made him squirm.
She would curl his cow lick  
in place, as she kissed his forehead  
smelling the scent of the peanut butter
pomade that gelled his beautiful pompadour.
.
And when she died, and he died,
it was those peanut butter kisses
he missed the most in his world.
Jonathan Moya Oct 2019
The cold blows north and the city falls
into the cycles of a leafless world.
It feeds off the brick, licks the shoes,
tastes the cotton of jackets,
gnaws hands clutching the last warmth
of summer close to their heart,
cuddling its last embers,
huddling to the next soul
with faint fires when it goes out.

Dogs on the leash paw the air
delighting in distinguishing
the smells of life and death all around.
Autumn is their rooting season,
their time to sniff for the rat
hidden in the pre-collection trash,
to proudly drop the last migrating Warbler
wounded by the reflection of sun on glass,
at their masters feet in the remaining
scent of the Great Wolf Hunt.  

With each gust their master’s minds go south
to thoughts of changeless sunshine,
snowbirds migrating in caravans
to The Villages filled with plantation magnolias
scarred with the memories of rope swings
and before that, feet swaying in the dirt,
never mindful that it was the African eye
who first caught the non-reflective sun
and bleached skin, the first shudder of cold.

The taste of cold on fingers and faces
etches their tundra souls
and in the rubbing of hands,
the warm breath of air in palms,
they almost feel the sun again.
They sense something invigorating,
thrilling in feeling the right amount of cold,
the wind howling  in the cave of their hearts.
132 · Feb 17
The Wave
Jonathan Moya Feb 17
The hospital gown they gave me
is the same one with clouds
my mother and friend once wore,
a hand me down filled
with the aura of grief and hope,
of time and death.

My name and date of birth
are the only thing the nurses ask
as I am led to the mold
in a treatment room
filled with a halogen haze
and an all encompassing white-
almost a verisimilitude of heaven-
pulled and pushed to the mean
that is marked in black on my body,
strapped in and slid to the center.

The  mechanical eye
revolves around me three times,
a trinity of hope, despair, life,
as I listen to bagpipes humming around,
the brightness forcing my eyes closed,
the wave tingling as it passes underneath.

I am connected to the past
by the fear of death,
separated through
the hope of cure,
knowing that I won’t
die in the gown of my mother
or with a four inch hole on my back
like my friend.

The eye whirls slowly around
one more time, then stops,
barely ten minutes passing
in an eternity of thoughts.

The nurses offer me curved arms
that lift me up, allow me
to swing my legs over
and touch the floor,
my backside exposed,
as I raise myself up
and walk away, death dates
of loved ones haunting my brain,
seeing only the ashes of clouds
of myself and others around me.
Jonathan Moya Jul 21
On this acre of unspoiled comfort
the hard winds blow once again now.
Through this acre of unspoiled comfort
the house falls once again now.
This acre of unspoiled comfort
so unlike a broken cry.
This acre of unspoiled comfort
once so sun caressed with smiles.
This acre of unspoiled comfort
once standing on unburied dreams.
This acre of unspoiled comfort
lingering near death.
This acre of unspoiled comfort
praying for its life now.
This acre of unspoiled comfort,
now I pledge my love again.
On this acre of unspoiled comfort.
129 · Mar 17
Satan Hates the Spring
Jonathan Moya Mar 17
the
   devil
         put the
              warmth
                          down south
                                             so man
                can call it
Paradise.
127 · Jun 29
Still Life
Jonathan Moya Jun 29
It’s in the shading.
It’s the way the light is written.
It’s the way the observer takes it all in.
It’s the way it convinces one that the world will last.
It’s the way it plants a seed in the mind,
the way it touches one inside, lives inside
the streets of memory, inhabits one’s emotional house,
sunsets, harbors, all the great perfect things
that exists in the brief eternity that loop eternally,
that convinces one that the extraordinary
is the purpose of existing in ordinary time,
that every moment lives for the perfect still life.
Jonathan Moya Jun 2019
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.
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