Alva Cardona Mar 11
Autistic people don’t dream the way normal people do, and our nightmares are no exception to this rule. While you dream of that horror movie monster you saw in the theater last week, we dream with people we see on a daily basis, showing strange emotions on their faces, demeanors we’re not used to, foreign and alien, that scares us worse than Friday the 13th’s Jason’s mask or Scream’s disguised murderer would scare you. The new ways in which faces can twist their features, contort them beyond our ability to recognize them (or at least feign recognition) or draw comfort from familiarity terrify us and cause a reaction on a visceral level, making us wake up with a start. Still, I never forget the distortions on the faces I dream about, even if they’re twisted in what you would consider normal expressions of sentiments that would be easy for anyone else to recognize. I’ve fallen out of bed so many times, I’ve bruised my hands and head, and I still shiver every time I remember the way you stared at me unwaveringly in the eyes for more than the few seconds it takes to make me feel naked and uncomfortable, your smile crooked beyond its perfect and normal dimensions, just a little more lifted on the left side, showing more teeth than usual, extra lines and creases in your wrinkles, and the shine in your tapetum lucidum more or less dimmer. All I can think about when I open my eyes after those dreams are “Wrong! It’s all wrong!”, and "Why does it take so little to turn a person I know or love into a stranger?" I need to grab and stare for a few minutes at photos of you in the albums where I’ve intricately and extensively documented your many ways of showing animi moti.
Alva Cardona Mar 5

Sometimes, lovers can be like ancient Greek statues
we mistake for places of worship; of defined, perfectly
chiseled muscles and pleasant aesthetics, they’re trying
to be uncanny and realistic depictions of universal physical
perfection, both lust incarnate and pure idealization. But
the closer you get, the better you see the worn out marble,
the rusted bronze finish, the cracks and broken pieces put
back together in haste by curators (like failed restorations
meant to repair irreversible cosmetic or structural damage),
the virtue and fragility in their nudity. They look back at you
with hollow eyes, blank stares and stoic faces, and exist solely
to satiate your need for idolatry and to caress you with
missing upper limbs and missing warmth from
their stone-cold bodies.
Alva Cardona Feb 13
Today, I went looking for the city
I once lost in a game of poker
and a drunken stupor

I gambled away
the dreams of the peaceful-looking
homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks

I gambled away
the excitement I felt when
listening to the train tracks creak for the first time
under the weight of interconnected wagons
going forward at full-speed, full
of folks that commute
from all over

I gambled away
the shadows under the
bridges, the grey dwellings somewhere between
some place and nowhere, where somber people
sought cover from passerby's eyes
and streetlamps

I gambled away
the songs of the sax men,
the guitar strings of subway soloists,
the moves of B-boy crews,
the graffiti of street artists

I gambled away
the corner bookstores,
the quirky organic coffee shops
and urban farms ran by
millennial hipsters

I gambled away
an entire museum,
lost every work of art inside,
painting by painting

I gambled away
the beautiful, anonymous
faces that made the tapestry
of the colorful and loud
9 to 5 crowd

I gambled away
the winds that made the
summers bearable

I gambled away
all my loose change in an eternal game
of Three-card Monte, fell for the "short con"
(couldn't call home 'cause
I couldn't use payphones)

I gambled away
and lost a decade in a day, when
I was young and stupid
and careless

Tried to retrace the steps
I took down the road less traveled
and the path not taken

Hunting for the sun after dark,
drinking sidewalks with my feet,
walking in the smoker’s breath,
dancing to the midnight beat

I regret,
I repent

I bemoan,
I atone

But I have yet to hold
a winning hand

a Full House,
or a Straight Flush

A card,
any card;
any thing
that helps me

The City
where I left my heart
and forgot my soul.
Alva Cardona Feb 4
A shoebox can be a great place to keep things;
old things, small things, shiny things, secret things;
things that are big in your heart but tiny in the world
you live in. Those things, to others, even look
insignificant. The undignified way you guard them,
like they don’t matter or are inconsequential,
like they don’t need extra layers of security, is
misleading and ugly to the eyes of the beholder, the
person that finds the fragile carton treasure chest
and confuses it with some type of shallow grave.
No one truly knows the value of forsaken things.
No one really wonders about an object’s history;
why it mattered then, why it matters now, what
to do with those things they consider garbage.
If you ever find an old shoebox hidden somewhere
inside my house, you’ll only find video games from
the 80s and 90s, with layers of dust and rust, a
blanket lovingly placed by years of neglect and
forgetfulness. You’d never think much of them
or the missing consoles that you would need
to play them. You’d never suspect they are
the keys to the secret places I escaped to as
a child; you’d never think they’d lead somewhere
to the virtual worlds I conquered, to the
underground arcade where I might’ve met
you once, even if now we are just strangers.
But I’ve left a treasure map for your quest, if
you wish to follow. For you, my cynic friends
with cynic eyes, I assure you, you’ll probably
find nothing of value; the price labels on the
games are too worn out to be clear and legible.
It is up to you to determine their worth now,
to sell them or keep them, to open or close
the doors to realms of things and nothings
forgotten and discarded as memorabilia.
Alva Cardona Jan 14
Yesterday, I dreamt that I was walking
along the sidewalk of a main road looking
for a bus stop. When I arrived at the stop,
I saw that Abraham Lincoln was sitting there.
He was alone, looking longingly across the street.
He never turned his head when I decided to sit
next to him and it did not bother him that I stared
at his profile, fascinated by unique facial features.
Since he did not turn around to acknowledge me
or my blatant staring, I simply decided to see what
was keeping him so enthralled. So I turned my head
to look straight across the road, but there was only an
open field. The green patch of land, now that I think about
it, was out of place in that urban setting. He seemed
strangely focused on looking at the grass, as if lost in
thought. And I just sat there with him, both of us alone
on that bus stop, looking ahead at the small green field
in complete silence. We stood out like a scream at a
funeral, though. But nobody paid us no mind. It was
a strange sort of peace. I kind of liked it. Then, I woke up,
thinking about the irony of the dream –of the dreamer,
living in the age of lies and deceit, unconsciously
summoning Honest Abe to sit with me and confort me,
and give me the peace that I so desperately long for.
Alva Cardona Jan 10
When the words fall
on the paper,
staining the thin, blank canvas
like wine on a carpet
or color on a painting,
we look at them from above,
from a simple, almost detached

Those who only read
a poem without feeling
are just looking
at the words  
from the surface

We don’t notice
the reliefs, the plains
and mountains,
or where the words rise
and cave on random

We don’t notice
the emotions surge like
the seismic waves of an earthquake,
or when the paper shakes
and the poem cracks,
the effects of the phenomenon
happening far, far away
from its epicenter
(not even in the same realm)

We don’t notice
when poets think
they’re the ones
who are
who are

We don’t notice
when the poets use
metaphors and similes
like gold,
like in the ancient Japanese
art of Kintsugi

Because we never saw
words being used
like glue
for the purpose of holding
a poem
(or a poet) together.
Alva Cardona Dec 2017
Last night, in dreams, I entered
the oniric dimension through
the Tower again, and went up
the same way I did last time:
through the spiral staircase.
I stopped at the 67th floor
after spending exactly 1 hour
and 7 minutes in my otherworldly
journey, when I heard the hands
of the clock strike thirteen. I came
out of the other side of the realm,
more awake than I’ve ever been,
and seeing things from a new,
unexpected perspective: I woke
up upside down in my bed, my
feet where my head was, my head
where my feet were, confused
and still reeling like a wrought out,
broken compass someone tried to
fix with the parts of a pocket watch.
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