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Ariel Baptista Jan 2017
Stretch me out and count me like clouds
Say she is vapour
Venom, velvet and vermouth
With hair of hazelnut rapture
Clutch the moments, clutch the moonbeams
Clutch the stretched out skies of cloud and mustard gas sunset
Sing she is a child of trauma
Supressed in the name of breathing
Violence in the name of skin
And she is venom, velvet and vermouth
She was born to pink salt lakes in the low country
With ruby pomegranate eyes
And hair of hazelnut rapture
Girl with the soul of a thousand pilgrim journeys
Girl with the soul of a blackberry bush
Girl with the soul of olive trees and sheep meat and oven bread in the fire country
Human smiles
And other dark things of value
She lies like velvet
She lies in the name of supressing traumas
In the name of breathing
She bleeds like a billion stars bleed vapour
She is venom and vermouth
With hair of hazelnut rapture
She is the sum of a thousand pilgrim journeys
The prayer of holy rivers in the canyon country
The smoke of incense burned by sages
The scars of bodies burned by crusaders in mustard gas chambers
Goddess of Nuclear energies
Red-eyed like ruby pomegranates
Like the dewy cauldron of morning
When tenuous steps lead bodies down the path of executionary revolution
To boarders, frontiers, walls of white-skin scar tissue
Sing songs of Babylon in the free country
Clutch the moments
Clutch your breaths and hold them in broken palms
Clutch the tides and teach them
Breach your rib-cage, unstitch and return the borrowed bones
Melt the metaphoric thrones
Breathe backwards in the name of unsupressing traumas
In the name of truth
Stretch me out and count me like clouds
Girl of angel-breath ambition
Soul of blackberry bush and smile of splintered terracotta tile
Sing your songs
Say she is vapour
Looking for notes, criticism, anything really! Thanks **
Ariel Baptista Sep 2016
i am not beauti-
ful but I am free and that
is so much better
Ariel Baptista Jun 2016
Although I have loved posting on Hello Poetry the past couple years, I am transitioning to a blog format as a means of sharing my writing.

The link is

I look forward to future creative collaborations and criticisms from my hello poetry family.
Thanks for everything so far.
Ariel Baptista May 2016
Amethyst and evaporating
Counting down the seven days before
I disappear again;
Dissolve into a shooting star
And lose myself along the fractured horizon
Bleeding white tea
Drowning in debt and memory
Elegant, apathetic, re-shattered

I pull the summer back up over my face
Like white sheets so quietly in the morning
Sunlight streams in
The beams crosshatch our scavenged posters and prints
The home we built ourselves
Slowly etherized, erased
Reduced to amethyst and onward.

Stretch out the time and I will spend it gladly
Budgeted and rationed beautifully
One year boils down to seven days
And here is how I count them out:
Sitting on couches wrapped up in rainbow blankets,
Throw pillows
I chart these days on a map;
One by one they follow each other in perfect order
Like stupid wandering sheep
Blinded and bleating ****** ******
Numbered, they lull me to sleep
Sweet seven of them

These days I count in wine glasses
I count them in hours and smiles and tears
Every second of my battered year
Counted like clouds on the spring lilac sky-scape
Days counted down in popcorn kernels and ice cream cones
In laughlines and scars, in lavender scones
And showers and trips to the gym and dishes in the sink
I count my days in vanilla candles and scratched records
And papers and poems and midterms and paintings
Polaroid photos and the deep breaths we take between moments
I counted every moment
But now it’s amethyst and over.

Purple like the city skyline in the spring sunset light
Jasmine, indigo, magenta
And you and I
Our apartment
White walls we plastered in memory
All the homes I never had blurred together
Filtered through this glass prism
And projected in progression
Here is violet
Here is vanishing rapidly
With what velocity the end races towards us
Another melting mauve goodbye to add to my resume of heartbreaks
Strong scent of hot magnolias
We lay maudlin in burgundy wine
And purple rain.
I sit hurting how I always do
Mourning like death’s an opportunity
Mourning like I’ve already moved on
How it cuts me to go
How it’d break me to stay
This amethyst year so sharp and sparkling
It scraped and stained me
Left me shades of purple like our night sky shining
With constellations overlapping
Loved and loathed in suffocating lavender limelight
The winds whisper only of how I adore you all
I so adore you.
This is who I am for seven days
And just only seven
Here we are gemstones,
Dissipating salty starmatter
Fleeting amethyst crystals
Evaporating into oblivion.
Ariel Baptista Apr 2016
The ambivalent affect of a cold cup of tea 
On a snowy day, late March 
When everything rings of life and death and urgency 
Like our elliptical elections  
With their Messiah complexes  
Like Thursday desks and tables 
Green tea tainted with undertones of unwashed coffee 
Lingering in the pores of mugs 
The politics of shame 
And all the things I wish I told you 
(I wish I had told someone) 
But cyclical realities are ultimate realities 
And I've chosen mine already 
Woven with interchanging self-destruction 
And re-composition 
Dull, dualistic  
And dripping from my forehead 
Did I mention Thursday? 
Did I mention scars? 
Shall we move to new and different places 
And leave ourselves behind?
Burdens like sticky, heaving blackberries 
Molten, melting, gooey, globbed together and leaking  
Through the cracks in my straw basket 
Dropping berries walking paths to places 
Falling like blood-bombs 
One by one on the white-brick 
Walking silence into sunsets  
And never looking back at the 
Rotting plasma carnage  
That marks the roads I travelled 
What's left are leaves and stalks and thorns 
A basket dyed dark red and sticky 
Me, poised and paralyzed  
Gasping, gagging, groping in my liberation 
For places that never existed 
    That never will 
Crying stories that never happened 
Fearing creatures never born 
Blisters and bruises, 
Beckoned to oceans 
In the soft-tide I saw my future 
In the undertow, my past 
Riding the waves with crystal foam  
And diaspora trash 
All my chunky sins intermingled with salt and seaweed.
Questions burn me
Bind and blind me
Battered and bleeding 
Left helpless on the floor 
And they yell  
Learn faster!
Learn better, learn well!
If pain leads to the deepest learning 
Then I will know so very much 
Muffled and maimed I'll sink in it 
Docile in the knowing of things.
Facts and figures
Factors, functions, fractions
And formulas
Here are the things I know
Splintered, smiling, basking in their blinding light
They’re my diamonds, my precious disasters.
They are my welcomed death.

Eyes open and perceive
Taking stock of the surroundings
A blood-burned path of blackberries and scar tissue
My knobby-spine leaning against a tree trunk
Sea breeze, and my aura
Free-floating but defeated
Affected ambivalently by these words
By worlds
Spirits and bodies and
Torn flesh and minds
Still always cold questions
Still always early Thursdays
Willing to draw more breath
Willing to keep walking
To keep working
To keep breathing
And bleeding.
Ariel Baptista Jan 2016
Fall and follow down the river
Walking the sacred streets in silence
How imbued with the ethereal mist of prayers are these tables
These wooden chairs I sat in and wrote the diaries of my youth
I wrote lies with causal power
Constructed the material from ideas
Spoke over the waters and found land

Eat a candy cane to cover the scent of rolled tobacco on your breath
And get on a plane
Green busses down cobblestone lanes
Follow them like purple orchids on the terrace

Fall and follow down the river
A brown bench,
Balding fog
Sit like kneeling at the altar of the saint of childhood innocence
Repeat her prayers
Chant her mantras
Sing her hymnals
Ritual tower chimes with hell’s fear behind it
Rope and brass that dare not fall or falter
Down the river
Ripples like innumerable green eels screeching through the sacred heart of our Lord and city centre

Mornings like Masala chai and sunshine
How infinite and unceasing the heartbreak of those who love too deeply
How inevitable the prolonged fall of the great
Like eighteen razor blades
Shot through the sunrise
Bitter fruit of memory merciless
No amount of sacrifice can atone for the imperfections that lie beyond the boarders of my control
But I hail Mary nonetheless

Fall and follow down the river
Mother Mary cannot hear over the pounding power of the current
So seal your lips with black clay
And do not cry
For there is nothing more to mourn
Morning comes ripping down the track like a freight train
Tarantula clouds and sunbeams scamper over the sockets of your log-laden irises
Bleeding indigo from parallel razor blade canyons
Filled with the ghosts of things you were never promised

Masala chai oversteeped like the strong scent of river memory
Tremble tell me I’m forgiven
In your white robe anointing oil
Tell me I’m the chosen one
Incense and ****** knees from kneeling at sandpaper pews
Getting drunk of Eucharist, the Holy See,
Oceans of archives, history, prophecy,
Frankincense and myrrh,
Frankenstein, the Light, the Vine and highways through the suburbs
Jump off bridges
Fall and follow down the river

An eye for an eye
And a stitch for a stitch
Mile for mile river prayers define and drown me
Thick slabs of scripture separate me from my sisters
Masala chai and sunshine
Vaseline and pale northern light clear the black river clay from your pores
Embrace the snow
Teach yourself to love the suffocating questions that burn and blind you
Retroactive sacrifice still requires fresh indigo blood
Donate freely.
Fall and follow
Down the river
To the sea
Salt water heals all razor blade wounds
Even the self-inflicted
The choices you make to be good or great are swallowed in the moon tide
Sticky tie-dye bruises erase themselves with time and prayer
Like cups of strong Masala chai.
Ariel Baptista Dec 2015
To these Babylonians
Oh father, and I am a child of Abraham
Daughter of salt and desert
Daughter of the sun blazed beige dream mountains
Who roll together like sleeping dinosaurs
In the archives of my memory.

To these Babylonians
And I have withheld from them my true name
For their tongues are not fit to pronounce it
Written in black stardust across my ankle
Branded like the wandering sheep
In the blue hills drowning in yellow gnats and cloud.

My father taught me how to survive
By the seaside the shore was covered in
Transparent jellyfish and dark ocean weeds
Abraham inhaling foamy salt waves
Preaching black oil, blood and fire

Preaching this, Babylonia
When foreign lands resemble home
When homes revert to foreign land.
When earth and sky and water do not remember you
When you do not remember them
Singing still in the salty undertow
Treble clefs caked in the cracks of my bones
Barefoot fire altar, sticky sunbeam fractures
Progeny of Abraham
Singing sacrifice
Stolen seconds folding themselves into eternity.

To these Babylonians
And I am a child of Isaac
Violin strings shouting with the river
Jacob whispered all rivers and all rivers
Flow to Rome
And all salt water tastes of home
Find me in the poison current of the obsidian ocean
Jellyfish seaweed and petroleum-slurred sands
My father Abraham sang many songs.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
Psalm 137: 1-4
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