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Ariel Baptista Sep 2014
I didn't say a word
but it was a race,
     You know?
And on the path in the forest
Switzerland is Germany is Montreal is Home
     and that makes sense.
And the people smile and nod
Smile and say Bonjour
And who among us is fastest?
Who will make it to the top?
I arrive all alone
     and that makes sense.
And the city smiles and nods
Smiles and says Bonjour
And I know,
     You know?
I know how
     Switzerland is Germany is Montreal is Home
And nothing has ever been more clear
Than that fact, and the wind at the top of Mount Royal, and the diamond breath that left my lungs, and the diamond sweat that left my brow
So I smile and nod
Smile and say Bonjour
Because Home is Montreal
                           is Germany
                           is Switzerland
              and that makes sense.
Ariel Baptista Jan 2015
Four old friends
Dead of winter small town
Smoke rising from chimneys
From cigarettes, and pipes
From trains riding the rural rails
From city spires
And factories
From airplanes
and Airplanes,
From Airplanes.
Smoke dancing and laughing
Stinging and coughing
Smoke in my hair and jacket
In the pores of my skin
Smoke in my eyes,
Up the hill
And through the woods
Dead of winter
Small town Germany
Four old friends
Walk two by two
Three by one
Four and four.
Walk by the church,
Down the creek,
Up the hills, the hills
And through the woods
Small town
Germany four old friends
Dead of winter
Cigar smoke and beer
Cigarillos in a chain
Smoke from crystalizing breath
And fireworks
Smoke from bonfires
And tailpipes
Smoke from airplanes
Airplanes and airplanes
Smoke from airplanes.
Smoke stains and cigarette burns
Little circles in my jacket
Four old friends dead of winter
Small town
Smoke tears
Smoke promises
Smoke memories that linger
Like the faint nausea
Of what-the-hell-has-happened.
I watch the **** end of your last cigarette
Crumpled and fading
In the ashtray of that Badischer bar
And your eyebrow twitched
The heart-wrenching shiver
Of what-the-hell-has-happened.
And I whispered:
airplanes and airplanes
I whispered airplanes.
That’s what the hell.
A merging of my experiences and those of a friend.
Ariel Baptista Sep 2014
Remember those old floral mugs
that we used to have.
I think they are in a box somewhere.
I never really liked them before
but I do now.
So do you think it would be okay
if I brought them with me
when I go?
That is
if I found the box they’re in.
I never really liked them before
but I do now.
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 Jun 2014
"Here are your finest days", They say
As They ****** them in my arms.
Burn my skin as they fizzle and fade,
Stain my flesh a fresh new shade,
And moving right along.
Learn the words and change the song.

Push me down the black hole
and rate my form as I fall,
Grade the scream that I call,
It's protocol

And, "Those were your finest days", they say.
As They hand me their report
Dark, scholarly and short.
"Kid, that was a pretty good run,
But here,
Here is what you really should have done."
Ariel Baptista Feb 2015
Evergreen and ivory
Turquoise tears bleed ebony
Fuchsia trees bear violet cherries
Blood oranges,
Mushroom clouds and ashberries.
These are the thoughts that grace my mind
As I turn to leave
Garden gnomes and rose scraped knees
Faster now
Faster than before
Kiss me golden,
Less, then more
And tell me who I am.
Coteries and clandestine deals
Soft-sweet midnight chamomile
And indigo aspirations
Somber February celebrations
Anniversaries white and red
Blue and green and white and red
And can you keep a secret?
Black-tea memories always slap me sleepless
And I have never known quite exactly how I feel.
Clementines suspended in yellow lamplight
Cross it out to scarlet rewrite.
Beige mountains and Alaskan hills
Crescent moon and sawdust mills
Silver smiles on a benign boat
Blessed if I'm an allusion to a footnote.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
Bike basket full of blackberries

As I ride back

Bleeding fingers

Scraped wrists

Dark juice in the corners of my lips

It was beautiful how they clung to one another

How the protected each other

How they shared.their.thorns.

Was it wicked of me to have picked them?

Or should I have picked more?

Dark tears in the corners of my eyes

Torn thighs

Broken nails

As I ride back

Bike basket full of blackberries
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 Jun 2014
Shattered on the floor
Sharp shards and nothing more
Mind and Body
Ripped to shreds
Holding on by borrowed threads
Stripped of Poise and Polish
Stripped of it all
Wind me up and watch me fall
Watch me crack
and tear along my seams
Watch me spill my hopes and dreams
Watch as my heart nearly succeeds to fail
In its desperate attempt to beat
Sew me up with a rusty nail
And repeat.
Ariel Baptista Aug 2015
You left me capsized on the Caspian
The bold-wind black-oil Caspian
Suicide-tower fire-altar Caspian
Cigar-smoke car-exhaust Caspian
Oh Caspian, My Caspian
How could you just let me drown?

Pacific and Atlantic and Mediterranean
Rhein and Seine and Thames  
Huron and Kagawong and Lawrence
I see you quarrel
Over who is greater
Richer older
Better bolder
Who runs cleaner fresher sweeter
Who flows stronger faster deeper
Who gave more of themself to me
Who took more of me for themself
Who has more heart
Who stole my heart
And who will possess it in the end

I don’t know

But capsized in the Caspian
Is how I learned to swim
And to stomach salt water
And to weather storms
To enjoy the taste of raw fish
Calamari caviar crab
And to both love and hate
The forceful winds
That ******* to and fro
While capsized on the Caspian
I found my home
To be not stable, not stagnant
But undertow
An invisible current clenching pulling holding gripping
Dragging tearing teaching ripping
Delivering me to what is next

Oh plastic-bag jelly-fish Caspian
Petroleum-sand mud-volcano Caspian
Sun-blazed low-land Caspian
Capsized, yes
But also baptized
I drowned in the tangles of your dark torrents
And was born again in the summer moon-tide
Ariel Baptista Jun 2015
**** me quietly in the current of the Caspian
That calloused-caviar undertow
Petroleum-pierced fragmented bone
You whispered things no child should know
And I was no child then
Trembling hands I emerge from the lion’s den
Wearing memory like white lines on the insides of my wrists
Until I forget they’re there
Blue eyes, blonde hair
Painted mouth and vacant stare
Here is who I have become

So kiss me quietly in the white-capped waves of the Caspian
My lips a promise sealed in black oil and blood
Hear the water tank trickle fill and flood
See the volcanoes burst with sacred mud
And feel my skeptical smile
Spectacle-clad you read my file
It’s been a while since I relived all of this

And I’m deciding if it’s far too late or far too soon
To begin to deconstruct our interactions
The repulsion, the attraction
The actions and reactions
That defined that interim allotment of time
I sit here now retracing your lines
On the rickety map in the back of my mind
Memory, so mute, so blind
And ripping down the track so quickly
Thrown back so sickly-bitterly
Like salt-lime-tequila

My memory has been mutilated
Slaughtered, drained and skinned
Treated, chopped and trimmed
And now I place it on a table in the street
Tell me, can you hear the pattern of its late heartbeat
As you grip a fleshy dripping pound of it in your hand
My memories are no-man’s land

So caress me carefully in the cool-calm caves of the Caspian
Recall the strange sounds of the early days
Sacred grounds, hot-garbage haze
Sandy winds, the bazaar maze
That made me acutely aware of the incomplete
Not even joyful summer heat
Could keep me from floating feet-up in the Georgian river
Memory smile, convulse and shiver

I intended this to be a reconciliation
Call me queen of counterproductive apology
Let’s redefine astrology
To gain some favour from the stars
Russian salad and white box cars
Deep *** holes in Badamdar
Truthfully I’ve never known who you really are
And I probably never will

But cut me kindly in the clouds above the Caspian
This is as close as we can get
Ignorant prejudice my one regret
But I have not forgotten all the good
And I will try to love you like I should
But tell me, is it better to have memories that lie
Or have nothing at all?
Shall I embrace the distortions or the abyss?
**** me carefully or give me a kiss
Tell me, what am I to do with this?
Cut me open or caress me
Call me child or undress me
Your impassive smile does not impress me
Tell me, how am I to process this?

I’ve swam your sea, I’ve coughed your air
I let you stroke and steal my sandy hair
I left without once looking back
No pillar of salt
No pile of ash
No blame or fault
Or debt or cash
But still the walls begin to crack
I feel the stitches start to tear
Murky-memory drags me eastward by my fresh-grown hair
Forcing my eyes, so-cold and ever-blue ever deeper into you,
the dark heart of the Caspian
Ariel Baptista Jan 2015
Black box breaking
Slowly breaking
I saw the cracks
I saw them ripple down her back
I saw the freeze and thaw of nations
The renaissance and death and renaissance
I saw the wealth and worth of world powers
I saw them crumble
I was there
And I am here
I read it all and wrote it down
I saw it all and wrote it down
I kissed the survivors and wrote it down
I saw the earth in its entirety
I fell in love and vomited and fell in love
I saw her in her emptiness
I saw her sway in the winds
The winds grew cold and colder
She grew old and older
And so distraught
Stripped of poise and polish
Stripped of it all
I saw her disintegrate
I saw her fall
Still I,
I still
I always standing
Watching still
Always seeing
Standing and seeing, I
Drinking tea
Calm, cool, collected, serenity

Now your turn
You see me
See me walking down the street
See my waist-long wavy hair
Blonde and sparkling in the sun
Lipstick smile
Hipbones and cheekbones chiseled and deadly
Long leg strut down the runway
Of center town sidewalks
The world is my oyster
See my backpack full of alphabetized books
Handwriting neat and perfect
Pen behind my ear I’m ready
For all of this
See me smoking cigarettes out my dorm room window
Listening to Mozart
And smiling fully when the strings jump in
See me on the park bench reading
Long Russian novels
I inhale the pages like heartbeats
Breaths and beats fully synchronized to the flipping of pages
And to the Metronome Mozart wrote me.

Don’t be deceived
I made my world and destroyed it and made my world
Independent to a fault
I made my living off stitching together broken bones
And melting old forgotten thrones
Sculptures that said I needed no one
No one could keep up anyway
I ran too fast
I ran all day
And kindof expected someone to care
But no one ever has
I was never worth the trouble
Pull me out from my own rubble
And kiss me if you can
No one knows my secret plan to live an embarrassing convention
All this glass is just pretention
I glued it together myself
I wrote my own pamphlet for self help
I pieced together my own face
I sculpted my own form and adorned it
I broke my own heart and mourned it
I arrived and left and arrived
And here I’ll stay
Black box breaking
Slowly breaking
I saw the cracks
I saw them from the start
Death and renaissance and death
***** and love and *****
Ariel Baptista Jul 2015
Blood oranges
And hibiscus tea
White wine
Carcrash memory
He straps me down on the table
This is for my own good.
Too much blood they say,
Too much red wine too much liquid
Too much
My hand is swollen
My stomach distended
The vein in my forehead is bulging
Too much blood
A needle
A leech
A pen
Blood oranges
White wine
A needle is a leech is a pen
Is what the doctor ordered
He straps me to the desk
This is for my own good
A cure
Too much blood
Too much tea
Too many memories
Too many thoughts
They say
They hand me the scalpel
And show me the line
Too much
I’ve had too too much red wine
To be doing this
A pen a leech a needle
A bucket of blood
A novel
This is the cure
This is for my own good
Too much much blood
They hand me the pen
I’ve had too too many
Blood oranges
To be doing this
A scalpel is a pen
Is a leech is a needle
A bucket of blood is a novel
(Bleeding is the cure)
I bleed.
There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must", then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Ariel Baptista Sep 2014
You are to me
A spectrum of the purest green
Those hills rolling over each other eternally
In my memories
In my dreams
That Deutscher sea of green
Oh, Don’t leave me
Don’t let me leave
Let me rest forever in the branches of your trees
Oh and Don’t go
Don’t let me go
I love you so much more than you could know
And please don’t cry
Don’t let me cry
This is not our final goodbye
I’ll come back
Steam train whistling down the track
On Sunday
I’ll be older then
My features more defined
But you’ll be the same
Constant as a line
Familiar as the back of my hand
And green as ever
My darling Deutschland
Ariel Baptista Dec 2014
Seven days
Seven days repeat them
Repeat them over
One by one
Seven by seven.
Here we go
Seven colours the sky smiles
Seven times seventy
And seventeen years
Seven levels of hell
And seven sins to send you there
Seven princesses
Sailing seven seas
And seven sea monsters to sink them
Seven lies and seven truths
Seven wonders
On seven continents
That I will never see
Seven dreams
On seven nights
Seven kisses
Seven kisses
Seventeen years
Seven years for complete cell replacement
And it’s been seven
Seven years of plenty
And seven of famine
(which are we in?)
Seven seconds to count down
Seven candles to light
On seven lampstands
7-Up and 7/11
Seven days
Seven days repeat them
Repeat them over and over and over
Seven years repeat them over
Seventeen repeat it over
Repeat it over
Repeat it over and over
Seven cells replaced in seven
Seven tears cried in seven
Seven out of seven
And seventeen years
Seven dwarfs and seven demons
Seven secrets
Concealed by seven lies
Seven torches we bear
Seven oaths and seven gemstones
Seven spells for seven curses
On seventeen days
And the Seven Years War
In seven days I built myself
And in seven seconds I’m destroyed
Seven feathers fall to earth
Seven stars all align
And seven Gods stole my soul
Seven slaves owned by seven masters
Seven burdens
Seven burdens
Seven prayers leave my lips
Seventy Hail Mary’s to save you
And seven angels
Seven sweet friends
That left me
Here’s what they don’t tell you
Seven lives mean seven deaths
And seven joys mean seven pains
Seven sisters mean seven funerals
And seven suns mean seven rains
And seven
And seven
I’ve been stuck on seventeen
For an eternity
Repeat it
Repeat it over
Repeat it over
And seven
And seven
Seven days
And I’ll be home to a house I’ve never seen
In a country I don’t belong to
And a language I can’t speak
And it’s all just seven
And seven
And seven
Ariel Baptista Mar 2015
Seven days
Seven days repeat them
Repeat them over
One by one
Seven by seven.
Seven colours the sky smiles
Seven times seventy
And seventeen years
Seven levels of hell
And seven sins to send you there
Seven princesses
Sailing seven seas
And seven sea monsters to sink them
Seven lies and seven truths
Seven wonders
On seven continents
That I will never see
Seven dreams
On seven nights
Seven kisses
Seven kisses
Seventeen years
Seven stars and seven seals
Seven heads and seven hills
Seven trumpets
Seven thunders
Seven bowls of wrath
Seven years for complete cell replacement
And it’s been seven
Seven years of plenty
And seven of famine
(which are we in?)
Seven seconds to count down
Seven candles to light
On seven golden lampstands
7-Up and 7/11
Seven days
Seven days repeat them
Repeat them over and over and over
Seven years repeat them over
Seventeen repeat it over
Repeat it over
Repeat it over and over
Seven cells replaced in seven
Seven tears cried in seven
Seven out of seven
And seventeen years
Seven dwarfs and seven demons
Seven secrets
Concealed by seven lies
Seven torches we bear
Seven oaths and seven gemstones
Seven crowns on seven kings
And seven horns
And seven eyes
Seven plagues!
Oh, Lord seven plagues.
Seven spells for seven curses
On seventeen days
And the Seven Years War
In seven days I built myself
And in seven seconds I’m destroyed
Seven feathers fall to earth
Seven stars all align
And seven Gods stole my soul
Seven slaves owned by seven masters
Seven burdens
Seven burdens
Seven beasts
Seven prayers leave my lips
Seventy Hail Mary’s to save you
And seven angels
Seven spirits to seven churches
Seven sweet friends
That left me
Here’s what they don’t tell you
Seven lives mean seven deaths
And seven joys mean seven pains
Seven sisters mean seven funerals
And seven suns mean seven rains
And seven
And seven.
I’ve been stuck on seventeen
For an eternity
Repeat it
Repeat it over
Repeat it over
And seven
And seven
Seven days
And I’ll be home to a house I’ve never seen
In a country I don’t belong to
And a language I can’t speak
And it’s all just seven
And seven
And seven
I posted this one a while ago, but I've made some important additions and revisions, a heightened symbolism from the book of Revelation.
Ariel Baptista Mar 2015
Have you known the winter days?
Late February falls like frigid snow
Merciless undertow
Of evergreen and alpenglow
And grey ground pavement walking
Like Grocery shopping
and weak chai tea
Moonlengths from all family
And surrounded like strawbury temptation,
Late night lamp light contemplation
And drowsy-dampened mornings
Grey glaze of diluted boring
Spattered over every orifice
Charcoal eyes, platonic kiss.
Pull your bow to shoot and miss
Tell me all this is is what it is
And I will tell you, “okay”
(but you know this isn’t what I wanted)

Hide the roadsigns
Blur the guidelines
This is how I love you

Have you known the winter days?
Late February fell like fire on hell
And shook me from my sleep
Ashes cover snow-banked heaps of rubble
I slice my wrist on the sharpened stubble
Of your half-assed beard
(this is how I bleed my dear)
This is how I bear my soul
******* smile
And dominoes
Carnation cults
And buried bones
(This is how I build your throne)

Hide the gravestones
Burn the rainbows
This is how I love you.

And have you known the winter days?
Late February fallen like Lucifer to the underworld
We both knew I wasn’t altogether that typeof girl
But we pretended anyways
Alcoholic halo haze
And foreign intervention
Of somewhat insidious intention
And the legitimate logistical question
That defined our discourse on fear
(this is how I think my dear)
This is how I speak my mind
All that grey
Those missing roadsigns
Smoke and soot and
Blurry guidelines
And Gravestones gone
And rainbows ash
(and we are never coming back)

This is how I love you.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2015
Fascist fascist
Liberating or degrading
Hangs from single strings
Nothing comes and no one sings
No one laughs and nothing breaks
See the cracks drip down my face

Fascist fascist
Fascinating fascist face
Flash-forward foreshadow
White cold lace
Not as durable as we first thought
But the car is packed
In the parking lot
I light the cigarettes we bought
And now there is no going back
Not back to there
Nor back to that
Not back to night
Nor back to day
Nor back to summers
Far away

Fascist fascist
Forget my fascist family tree
The fascist fascist memory
And moustache moustache damaging
Or fresco firefly reverie
Just tell me that I’m yours
Sign the line
Like you have before
This is where we are right now
Two souls alive
In the empty town
Two souls alive
In the ******* ghost god-empty town.

So, What think you of Whitman?
And what say I of Plath?
I understand all but maybe half
On my greatest finest day
(dearest, how’d we get this way?)
How’d we fall so far from grace?
How’d this canyon split my face?
Maybe it’s the trace trace amounts of fascist.

Fascist fascist
Friday fickle convocating
Tragic talent intubating
All the world smiles, undulating
But in the end
You’re still a fascist.
Ariel Baptista Oct 2015
From the Greek

When I heard the word I felt it
And I looked it up
In my old red dictionary

I could have used the Internet,
I suppose

But I like to run my forefinger down pages
Of words

I read the definition
And I felt it

We are diaspora.

Am I using it correctly?

We are a diaspora.

From the Greek

From the green valley of Ottawa
From Scotland
From Ireland on wooden boats

From the French village thirteen children
From the mines in the North
From Poland and from Germany

From the churches and
From the Blueberry patches
From the Island Manitoulin

From the dark lake Kagawong
From Kinburn and Arnprior
From Markstay and from Sudbury

From Waterloo
From Kitchener, Michener
From the Suburbs


From the Suburbs
From the red bricks, red currants
And geraniums
From green island cabins

From the desert


From the desert
From the potholes and pipes
From the salty wind
Cracked Caspian Sea
From the middle of the east of nowhere.

From the mountains


From the mountains
From the crystal water fountains
From the tram bells
On the cobblestone streets
From the torrents of the Rhein

From the white cross


From the white cross
On the green hill
From the river Laurence
From the French and from the English
Plains of Abraham

We are diaspora
We are a diaspora

From the Greek

How did it end up here on my tongue?

It is diaspora.
It is a diaspora
Diaspora is a diaspora

And I wonder if it misses its other pieces
The way that I miss mine


There is no
Roping us back together now

There is no
Home to go back to

There is no
Point of meeting
Of reunion

White steeple in our old town

Yellow slide in our backyard

Old folks on an old farm

Walled house on a hill

Luzernerring 93

Familiar riverwater

There is no
Ancient Greek anymore

Only fragments of fragments
Of roots of stems of words
In different dialects

There is no
Place for you to belong,

You’ve been sliced to pieces
And scattered
Into the wind

When people ask you
Where you are from

You say simply
From the Greek


From the Greek

When people ask me
Where I am from

I say simply
From the diaspora.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
Green grass, green trees,
Green mugs filled with green tea.
Green water over mossy rocks,
Green bikini jumping off the wooden dock.
Green door squeaks as I walk in,
The flood of green memories begins.
Green playground, new friends
Flash-forward with green nail polish as childhood ends.
Green lawn chairs around a warm fire,
Roasting marshmallows as the green-gray smoke floats higher
Those new friends, they grew old,
And we laugh as we remember never doing what we were told.
Green paint on rocks we found
It is here I realized to whom my soul is bound.
Green bugs buzzing around my head
And countless green pillows stacked on my bed.
Blue-green lips after hours in the icy-cold lake
Brought about a smile that is hard to fake.
Green apples, small and sour
Walking through the green field picking green-stemmed flowers.
There is a green stain on my heart and I grin,
For that green island under my green cabin.
You have given me memories impossible to forget
And throughout my travels, nothing has equaled your green yet.
Ariel Baptista Sep 2016
i am not beauti-
ful but I am free and that
is so much better
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
Perfect white crosses, symmetrical lines,
Blemish-free marble, a patriotic sign.
Markings we honor, examples we follow,
Why is it that I find all of these things so hollow?

Because before they were your crosses, they were your guns
And they did as you told them, exemplary sons.
And they were stained crimson, until you painted them white,
But I hear paint doesn’t last longer than spite.

Scarlet slurred sand, with a gun in your hand
You snatched up your victory, you took back the land
And with a soft tear for the sons that had died,
You erected their crosses, and in stone set lies.

You love your white crosses; it is for them that you mourn.
Do you forget the cities that by them were torn?
Do you forget the lives that were taken for your name?
Of course not, but you know that on white crosses it is hard to place blame.

So you ensure they stay as white as can be
And you sell the idea that by them we are free.
You call them true saints, but I know what’s real,
The truth is the wounds they inflicted may never heal.

A black gun falls down and a white cross you raise
Row upon row, you give them your praise.
Young names carved in slate,
How can they be anything but a symbol of hate?
How is it these white crosses are what you venerate?

Guns for white crosses
Do you think it’s a fair trade, over where they are laid,
To place a white cross and say all debts have been paid?
You honor them for their sacrifice,
Well let me give you a little advice.

If you wish to have power, then keep building crosses
By all means keep weighing the gains and the losses,
But do me a favour, and stop with the lie,
That murdering for your country is an honorable way to die.
Ariel Baptista Jul 2014
The Sun, He calls to me
And I go to Him with a subtle hesitation
Knowing I’ve been hurt before
(I knew that I’d been hurt before)
But still I run
And fall down before Him
And He kisses my cold white face
And I melt under His hot red heat
And He says He will make me beautiful
And I believe Him
(and I believed Him)
And the longer I stay, the harder it is to leave
He begs of me a few more minutes
And then a few more
And more
And He tells me He loves me
And I love Him back
(and I loved Him back)
And then the time comes when we both must depart
And I wave goodbye
And He tells me to come back soon
And I tell Him I will if He does
But after He is gone
It takes me some time to realize
That I am not the same
(and I am not the same)
Because He has stained me with His crimson mark
Burned me with His good intentions
Blinded by His beauty I allowed my surface to be altered
And the sting on my flesh is a familiar one
Because this is not the first time
This happens to me year after year
And I never learn
Because He looked so innocent
So enticing
         So intoxicating
And He called to me
And I could not refuse
(and I cannot refuse)
But that was the last time
(and this is the last time)
Ariel Baptista Jul 2014
Say it
Say it, you must
Red Wine and bread crust
Last supper in your home
Last night in your town
Last memories with your loves
Things will be different now.
Say it
Say it, but not yet
Not until you've nothing to regret
Jump in the river one last time
Walk the streets by starlight
Sleep sweetly this final night
In your own teal sheets
Sing the song of your adolescence
that of four years gone,
Will this night to go on and on,
To Infinity
Bite your lip, hold back the tears
Run until you lose your fears
Come to a screeching halt
you're face to face
in the Vineyard,
sacred space
In the Vineyard,
           Say Goodbye
In the Vineyard
           Say Goodbye
Salt water makes for sour wine
Quickly now we've little time
In the Vineyard
           Say Goodbye
Paint your eyes black
and greet with a bitter kiss
You never thought goodbye could taste quite like this
Sever your ears and bury them in the bank of the river
Bring forth the memories and shiver
Sever your ears so you can't hear the sound your tears make as they collide with the concrete
Curse the beauty of these streets
Curse the comfort of your sheets
Sever your ears and bury them here
Because you owe this place a piece of you
You made a vow you knew you could not keep
So bury them,
          Bury them deep
And bury them well
Grow long your hair so they can't tell
Rely now on sight and smell
and hold forever
your final memory of sound
the green waters rushing over this sacred ground
Maybe you'll come back someday.
But now, there's not time to waste
The guards come quickly to tear us apart
I loved you fully with my whole heart
But now it's time
Whisper tenderly your final lie
In the Vineyard
      Say Goodbye
This one is kind of a mess, still a work in progress
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
I have fallen in love
With the air, the trees
The thinly paved and often cracked roads
And even moreso with those covered in cobblestone.
I have fallen in love with the tanned locals
Old shopkeepers with hats and bifocals
Their calling voices
The natural movement of their hands
The cool sea water
And hot white sands.
I have fallen in love with espresso
And how it feels in my throat
The smell of leather
Taste of gelato
Harbours full of fishing boats
The sound of a vintage vespa
Weaving its way through a crowd
The arguing couple, arguing loud
And this is a country of which to be proud.
I have fallen in love with the architecture
The vast and complex history
The more I learn the more I admit is a mystery.
I have fallen in love with the way the sun shines brighter
The air is fresher
And the fruit is sweeter
The men are bolder
And the books are cheaper.
I have fallen in love with the words they say
And how those words effortlessly roll off their tongues
I breathe in their culture
And try to hold it in my lungs.
Pizza, pesto, cute cafes
Absence of anxiety, holidays
The tourists who view it all through a camera lense
Adventure begins and tension ends.
I have fallen in love with it all
Every flower
Every hue
All those pairs of knock-off sunglasses
I love them too.
Every cloud
Every ray of sunshine
Every drop of ***** riverwater
Every painted line
Every brick
Of every church
On all those hills
In all those tiny towns
That populate the green countryside
And every visionary who in them has lived and died
I love
But most of all
I have fallen in love with the version of me
That comes out when I am in Italy
Ariel Baptista Aug 2014
Sudbury rain falls down
dark sky
Scan the horizon and sigh
for this will be the very final time you're here.
The scene's been shot and that's a wrap
this set's no longer needed.
Childhood chapter closed,
Finality fills the air.
Its a muffled desperation
Constricted respiration
Soft precipitation
Around a promised revelation.
Nothing's immortal,
but there are things that should be,
So engrained within the depths of me
How could this not be forever?
Constance crumbles,
What was near has become distant
and it all flashes in an instant
Then I'm gone
Driving down dirt streets
Slow-sad soundtrack
and melancholic heartbeats
Wishing I could hit repeat
on the past seventeen years
Hating myself for held-back tears
and lost time.
But let me look at this as liberation
I shall be a new creation
Slow and steady celebration
of my sentimental inclination
I shall take this as I stride
onto greater things
Bearing each blow that life brings
Remembering what Here taught me.
Don't let this fade,
Oh, Don't let these things fade
Let my soul be a slightly altered shade
for having known Here
for having felt this land
having had it fill the fractures in my bones
having adored it,
every single, solitary stone
having never been overwhelmingly alone
because I knew Here was still Here.
Well now it's not.
Memory leaves me broken and blind
I've always been the one running away
I don't think I'm very fond of being left behind.
Ariel Baptista Oct 2014
I believe that we could do it
If we really wanted to
I could really fall in love with you,
If I let myself.

And I bus home
On a rainy day
through the blurry embers of autumn
smeared on the Greyhound window
Remembering how she and I
Walked back after that movie
Our breath crystallizing in the wind
But barely breathing
Full of reverence
and sweet sisterhood
the cinnamon bun midnight
and soft whispers
of the life we used to have together.
Bury your sins beneath the heather
and hibernate in hypotensive hallucination
a final hallelujah
of appreciation
for the gifts that were ******
so prematurely in our arms
Straight from the oven
they burned our unprepared infantile hands
as we stood, indifferent to distant lands
and consumed by our own reality.
Well, we're grateful now.
Grateful in a way that destroys us a little
We both know we both know too much
to ever be completely okay
And who would ever want it any other way?
We smile through hard earned tears
and kiss the make-up off our years
And breathe the air of the country that gave us life
And we don't shy away from the things that make us hurt
And we thank the things that help us heal
And we know that home is never farther than a bus can carry us.

So I think we could do it,
If we really wanted to
I could really fall in love with you,
If I let myself

(Lord knows I need an adventure)
Ariel Baptista Jan 2015
What have I done to you?
My lambs ear child grown thorns
Along the backbone of our narrative
Each vertebra a catastrophe
And I can’t make skeletons fall in love with me
No matter how much flesh I force on them
And in the interludes of the symphony they wrote for us
I taught you dark by darkness
I watered you with gasoline
And snatched each word from off your tongue
I sprayed fresh poison into your lungs
And I can still recall
The twelve tears
Blurring that birthday
That suffocating epiphany
Of this-has-gone-too-far
And these aren’t scars
They’re time bombs
Landmines in the marrow of your bones
And this is not a ******* throne
It’s an electric chair
Look at me I dyed my hair
And I mourn us with the black around my eyes
Here we are we walk this line
I ask you how you are
And you say “fine”
And I am shocked at how much those thorns sting me
Every ******* time.
Ariel Baptista Nov 2015
Hair burned into beautiful submission
Face acrylically defined and chemically composed
Adornments meticulously chosen
Scent tested and approved
Smile practiced and performed
I am a porcelain doll
Sipping tea, at 6 am in the quiet of a sleepy-city apartment
Porcelain doll dainty wrists
Washing dishes, feeding cats
Folding linens, singing hymnals
Praying for peace and safety
Porcelain doll knitting sweaters
And folding paper cranes
Reading poems, setting tables
Wearing cardigans and pearls
Porcelain doll decorating cupcakes
Lighting scented candles
Watering potted plants and humming childhood lullabies
With my porcelain painted lipstick mouth

But lipstick can be dark
Eyes lined black as city alley ways
There is anger at injustice
The world outside the confines of a pastel doll house
It’s messy
It’s hard
It’s iron and concrete and coal
And I am too
Biking through the brick metropolis
Sunglasses and headphones
And anarchist literature
Evenings spent sprinting through the smog
Heartbeats synchronized to the crude drumming of the city
So hard to impress
I’m on the metro
Eyebrows structured and defined
And adorned with a calculated air of apathy
See me social justice march
Down highways with fervently entitled youths
See me armed against misogyny
Until my peers learn to better conceal it
See me smoking cigarillos
Drinking black coffee
Breathing the tainted air of the city that birthed me
And chanting manifestoes.

But my manifesto can be love
And love can conquer anger and fear
And hatred
Love can reconcile, it can erase timidity
And it can abolish resentment
Let it wash my face and take the need for vengeance from my spirit
Let it replace the thirst for power with thirst for truth.
I burn incense
And wear long skirts
Naked face and braless lazy days
Reading pacifism in the park
I walk far to find pure air to breathe
I sit and deconstruct my dichotomy
Under a wise and ancient tree
I trace myself backwards and forwards
I meditate on the paths I have traveled
I cry for the things I have seen
And for the things I have done
I contemplate transcendence
I drink wine and listen to folk music
On the terrace of my home
I bike barefoot to buy Indian takeout
And eat it in silence on the floor of an empty room

I think only of death
And resurrection
Of betrayal and redemption
Of opposites and compliments
And how to progress in knowing how divergent pieces of myself can learn to harmonize
I think about minimalism and materialism
And swords and pens
And how this race I run was rigged from the start
I think about blackberries
And the complexity of their literary and symbolic significance
I think about the number seven as I see it reoccurring in every possible sequence and equation
I think about God,
And TS Eliot
And If I dare disturb the universe
I think about porcelain dolls and ****** activists and ***** hippies
I think about war and peace and politics
About corruption and poverty and imperialism
About western ideals and conspiracy theories
And communism
I think about being radical,
And how both sides of this ideological war are defined by fear
And I think about love, as radical but defined by the absence of fear
The absolution of fear
And how I am fairly certain it is the answer
I think about the inevitability of art and war
how they create each other
how they destroy each other
inspire each other and annihilate each other
and how there is nothing that is innocent.
I think about pain and privilege
And stacked decks of cards
I think about dreams and nightmares
And prophesy.
I think about the darkness within me
Tendencies to lie and manipulate and steal
The darkness that I know could make me very great
But alone in the ashes of the world
I think of the curse of wealth and power
And I try to evaluate my motives
And the driving force of my ambition
But I don’t know.
I think about grace and all the things I don’t understand
And toil and fate and destiny
The shape of these things, their origins and culminations
And what this black box of secrets contains.
I think about so many things,
Until everything I was on the outside is gone.
My body is gone
My painted face and sculpted hair
My varnished nails and pierced ears
All my clothes and appendages and freckles are gone
My blood evaporated
My brain an invisible energy in the wind.
My home and street
And city
Are gone.
And even in such complete concentration
When it is only my essence and nothing else
And I transcend throughout my past and future
When I am spread thin
And stretched into the corners
When I fill the cracks and crevices
And melt into the pores of everything
And my spirit is awaked to a dimensionless reality
Even then,
Scio Nihil

I know nothing. .
It's long but an accurate depiction of how my brain works. Written this summer back when I had to much time to think about everything.
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 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 Jun 2014
An Ode to the sweet Northwest that I once called my home:
I have loved you, from the first time I opened my infant eyes, I have loved you.
You gave me my childhood, you taught me and you raised me the only way you knew how.
And blinded by your beauty, I did as you told me, but things are different now.
Within the boundaries of your boarders I grew tall and strong
And I thought that you could teach me everything I would ever need to know,
But I was wrong.
Because just as snow covers dirt and makes it look white,
So did you, you lied to me.
But I know your deception was not of spite,
It was of shame,
Because my whole life you had lied
and told me that perfection was your name,
It’s easier to see now from on top of this mountain,
Than it was from between your trees.
I know you never meant to hurt me,
But the lies you spoke brought me to my knees.
When I was young I never questioned you,
Your lead I would follow,
My identity I found in you,
But that life I lived was hollow
And in leaving you, my love did grow,
Because I only ever saw the snow
I forgot about the dirt that lay under
And as I grew, I idolized you,
But never once did I stop to wonder
If maybe it wasn’t all true.
As the years went by,
I held you close in the back of my mind
You were still my home, my love, my future and
my past,
You were the place I would one day return;
You were my first and my last.
But one summer I excitedly ran back to you
And found dirt instead of snow
It hurt me more than I can say,
I have to admit, it was a low blow.
Because little did I suspect,
When I was far away,
That day, by day, by day
The snow had slowly melted where it lay.
So upon my return,
There was nothing left for me
And I felt disappointment
But honestly, also a bit of relieve.
Because from you I was finally free
And I could be whoever I wanted to be.
And I do still love you,
Despite it all, I know you did the best you could,
For what it’s worth, I think you’re beautiful,
The bad and the good.
Ariel Baptista Sep 2014
Oh, she’s a killer
A knife-shaped *****
She’ll rip through your guts
In the rain-stained
Metro station
Down-town east-end
Blood spills on the bathroom floor
And she just smiles
And familiar
Walking along
Coffee in hand
Going to work
When she hits you fast
Black arrow to the eye-brow without warning
Stamped in the carpet
Cigarette-**** burned and bruised
And just when you thought you could be ok
**** you, Nostalgia!
You know just how to play me
Just where to slice me
All the right words
At all the wrong times
I’m a sucker for your curved blade
I wear your scars and curse your name
**** me quietly
I am always, only, ever yours.
Ariel Baptista May 2015
Museums as art
Art as museums
Sail the trail to my mausoleum
Psychopaths and physicists
Psychiatrists and philosophers
Philanthropists and pilots and painters

Declare now, that these are our days –
Our hours, and our days
These are our city, our hours
Our time, our days.

This is our world –
At 14:92 I landed here and claimed it
And searched it and found it wanting
Of civilization that I could so easily supply
By means of wounds and iron
And brawn and truth
(and just a tiny touch of influenza darling)
By means of our Lord,
Who grants us all that we desire
If only we **** enough of those he did not choose.
This is our world –
And we shall make it what we will
Make it in our own image
Teach it that innocence is not knowing the difference between right and wrong
Raise it to hate no one
But to love itself so deeply
That all other love seems hateful in comparison.
This is our child, love
Yours and mine.

Here the first shall be last
And the last shall be first
But once the first are last they shall be
And once the last are first
They shall make it so they can never be last again
This is our primitive accumulation
Of necessary materialism
Let’s cultivate matter
To make objects that we can place on shelves
And in cases –
These are our cases
And we love them as we love ourselves

Museums as mass graves
Mass graves as museums
Kiss me in my mausoleum
Priests and prisoners
Prostitutes and prophets
Pioneers and pilgrims and pagans

This is our time –
And we are dispensing it in spendthrift increments
Buying threadbare bandages for our cavernous canyons
Buying ample earplugs
To seal in the silence
So we can somewhat say
“look there is peace –
Look we have done it
In our time it is accomplished” – 

This is our peace –
And we know it by the signs
The lions and lambs lay quietly together
In our brass-barred zoos
For as long as shelves and cases
Are intact and the first are first
And the last are last
And the civilized are organized and holy
There is peace –
Oh, look
We made peace!

And as for Solomon and Socrates –
We take their words to weave through our new wisdom
And when we re-chart the constellations
We shall give them each a star
And salute them once a year
When they come around the universe
Oh, look
How wise we are!

Mass graves as art
Art as mass graves
There have been no better days
There has been no greater time
Politicians and pornographers
Professors and pirates
Psychologists and pastors and pianists

This is our time –
And we are doing with it the very best we know how
The last are toiling and trying
And the first are trying to think to try –
But there is a shortness in our hours
And a violence in our peace
There is inherent foolishness in our wisdom
And disease in our cities
And there is death upon our shelves and in our cases.

This is our world –
We crafted it and declared our truth to be true
We sculpted this, our colosseum
Please inscribe my mausoleum
With “we know not what we do”
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
I have grown rather fond of being alone
I have found myself to be sublime company
I like to be secluded
In a dimly lit apartment
With a blanket
And a kettle
With tea
And a book
And my thoughts of course
And I am somewhat of a brilliant conversationalist
But occasionally there dawns a time
When I have run out of clever things to say
To myself
And I have finished every book
And drunken all the tea
And then there comes a moment
When I am significantly less fond of being alone
And I miss you
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
It is the twisted teal torrents of water
That gush through its heart.
It is the paint on the walls
And the Ancient museums full of art.
It’s the beauty of the city center
The shops and the boutiques.
It’s the bells of the green trams,
Winding down the cobblestone streets.
It’s the wind on my back
And the sun on my face
It’s the way when I go out,
Hours are lost without a trace
It’s the people floating down the river
In the heat of the year.
It’s my feeling of security,
Because here there’s nothing to fear.
It’s all the unique traditions,
Passed down from generations.
It’s the faces of the people,
One from every nation.
It’s the feeling I get
When I just walk around.
When I take in what’s around me
The sights and the sounds.
It’s the knowledge that
In this city I have grown.
It’s all the things I’ve learned,
That I may never have known.
It’s when I sit still in my room,
And know that there’s so much left to explore.
It’s the opportunities I have
To do things I’ve never done before.
It’s the archaic beige bridge
That stands down town.
It’s that path we like to walk,
Or that cute cafe we found.
It’s those beautiful books I bought,
The ones I know I’ll never read.
It’s the happiness that comes
With the quiet life I lead.
It’s how much more there is to discover,
So much beauty I’ve yet to see.
It’s that feeling of contentment
When you know you’re where you’re meant to be
The more I learn about this city,
The more my heart desires to stay
And know I may be wrong,
But I think this could be home someday.
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
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 Aug 2015
You have heard it said that
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
But truly I tell you that
I am that I am that I am that I am
Dripping with Jehovah and stardust we fell to earth
Pieces of atmosphere pieced together
And who can trace the mythology of our chemical compositions
Or rewrite the narrative of our anatomies?
I fell to earth soaked in Yahweh and covered in snakebites
Black holes where the fangs sunk into the astronomy of my freckled skin
All the galaxies of my body each with their own elliptical orbits
Connect the dots to form two wolves in my milky way
Romulus and Remus –
My ******* bear venom white as the purest lamb
Whisper astrology and
Remember the day we built Rome by stacking corpses
Remember the day when all the stars burned red for us
But that was millennia ago and
I’m not your Venus anymore –
I’m nobody’s ******* Venus anymore
It was the age of Pisces and we came out drenched in Messiah
You found me picking painted roses on asteroid planets
With a blonde-haired child and a fox
In the garden green snakes and white roses
Thorns and soft pink ribbon-tongues
Fangs and velvet petals
Two drops of blood in the white sand like Mary,
I bore a son and named him Ares
I named him Mars
I named him Set
Boys will be boys will be boys will be monsters, you know that
I am that I am that I am that I am.
Swim down deep enough into the black waters and you’ll reach the heavens
Keep drawing blood from thorn wounds and you’ll drag out the atmosphere
Stare out intently into the abyss and the abyss will stare back into you
These are the things we knew
When we reached the outer boundary of the cosmos
And realized how hydrogen is nothing but celestial amniotic fluid
We, motionless
Smothered by God and Carbon and perfume and poison
In this ****** we named universe
On this fetus we named Earth
I am that I am that I am that I am
Truly with you until the end of the age
Until the afterbirth of star matter gets tossed out with the baby and the bathwater.
You have heard it said
A rose called by any other name wouldn’t smell as sweet
But truly I tell you
A rose is only as beautiful and fragrant as its thorns are sharp
And if you want to know what fills the space between protons and electrons
The gaps between breaths
The light-years between planets
Then listen to the sound of your own heart beating
Counting down the gestation period of our own reality
I am that I am that I am that I am
I’m more than a Rose.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
I cling to him,
Mascara stains his shirt
Like ink blotches on a left wrist.
Oh, how deeply, deeply
Sweetly –
Completely I feel this pain
Burrowed in the most hidden corner of my soul
Patched like cancer on the walls of my lungs
And Oh, how deeply, deeply
Sweetly –
Complete and utterly
Did we weep and wail through the darkness of that night
Tears cried by dull-ember fireside
This hurts more than we ever thought it could
Crocodile eyes ooze wet and hot
Figures entangle themselves in desperation
Words are few yet heart-wrenching
The strongest among us are bulldozed into flat implacability
Sorrow inhabits the cracks in my soul
Like chalk smeared across concrete.
Weep dear children,
Not ready to grow up
Weep dear friends,
For the depth of your love
Weep dear graduates
When morning comes you’ll have to leave
Weep for this country, that stained you and changed you
Weep for the institution, that burned you and bettered you
Weep for the people, who loved and supported you
Weep for your childhood, that carried you from birth to here
Weep, sweet alumni for all that you’re losing
For all the departure
For all the uncertainty
For all the promises that will be broken
And friendships that will not be kept up
Weep over the map
And curse the dividing waters
Weep my beloveds,
Deny yourselves no tears
Weep deeply
Weep deeply
Weep sweetly
Weep completely
Weep utterly and totally and whole-heartedly
Weep because this matters more than anything ever has
Weep because this has been the most beautiful and devine gift
Weep because you’ve been pierced to the core,
Debilitated by the most far-reaching love imaginable
And weep because
The world is expansive,
The oceans are deep and the lands are wide
The people are numerous and the cultures are diverse
The opportunities are endless
The combinations are infinite
Your life is long
And your future is full of immense possibility
But you will never have this again,
So weep.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
It smells like summer on the island
Like laundry and leaves
Like late-afternoon lakewater
And pollen-filled breeze
I remember my summers on the island
The bunkbeds and bonfires
Beaches, bikinis
And dirt roads under dark tires
Birch trees and blackberries
Blue birds and sour cherries
Two hours on the ferry
Summer on the island
Lawn chairs and lemonade
Hammock-hanging, holidaying
Laying in the lazy shade
Hiking high into the bright blue sky
Deep inhale and satisfied sigh
We had been waiting for this
Our summer on the island
Cold tides and closed eyes
Penny candy and pecan pie
Crop-tops, flip-flops, tree-forts and drop-offs
Crayfish, crayons
And breakfast on the dock at dawn
This was summer on our island
Millions of mosquitoes, minnows and movies till midnight
Eating smores in the smoky firelight
Running through the trailer park in the rain after dark
Our summer on this island
Everything was my favourite part
I loved it all
The grass
The trees
The foamy waterfall
Sun, seagulls and sand dunes
Either services or sleeping in till noon
Sweet island summer, over too soon
Summer on the island
Was a lifetime ago
The island was my summer
But I’m letting go.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
Will you remember me, Tanzania?
When my map of your curves is folded
And I see no more your mountain in my mind
Only your smile, straight as a line
On the day I flew away.

The wind travels far, Tanzania
And I must follow
Knowing you has left me hollow
And thus I search
But will you remember me?

The feel of my flip-flop footfalls on your face,
The sound of my laugh as your wind carried it away,
Will you remember how your thorns pierced me,
Pleading with me to stay?
Oh, will you remember me Tanzania?

We pause for a moment at the barbed wire fence,
Brief it burned
But coke-bottle circles in my cheeks will be my memento
Like your dark-eyed children and how, somehow they grow
Taller, darker, row on row.
Tell me you will miss me so
Oh Tanzania.

Will you remember how your sun kissed my forehead?
And how I tasted the feel of your words on my tongue?
How I stole your air to fill my lungs?
I stole as much as I could bear.
Small, dark hands braided my hair

Will you remember me, Tanzania?
As I cling to these landmarks and scars
Which fade from my mind,
Remember how I shook as we left each other behind
Remember how I wore your earth on my skin
Then let your rains wash me clean
How I felt your forest
Brown and green
You were not as you first seemed
But nor was I

Tanzania, Tanzania
What will you remember?
Here with your thoughts on mine,
I bless the legacy of your skyline.
Beautiful or ******
Oh, Tanzania
Who do you say that I am?
Inspired by *Identities* by Matthew Mead, and also by my own travels
Ariel Baptista Jul 2014
I look into myself and see only an accumulation
of lost objects
Piles of beautiful, forgotten documents
but loved for what they are
I am the words on a tea-stained music sheet
that mean nothing
and yet
you turn them over eternally in your mind
because there's something about that
sequence of syllables
that makes them
Look at my shelves and see my soul
Repeat my words and learn my essence,
Home is knowing who you are.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
I would say it all to you if it would make a difference;
I love you
I'll miss you
I'm better for having known you
I will never forget you
I would say all that and so much more
if it would  make a difference
if it would matter at all
if somehow hackneyed words could break this fall
I would say them
(I would say them all)
But ******* can't stand up against time
Those words would be washed away and forgotten
so hold me tight in this moment
say nothing
say nothing
I know and you know
and that is enough
and that is all
that is all
and all
and all
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
T-10 to the unknown
I built this city stone on stone
I worked my hands down to the bone
and unknown
Completely alone
and terrified
Rotten soul and acid eye
Crumble and forget
Lock the memories around your neck
Lock the prisoners underground
Lock your mouth into that frown

What now, is beautiful?

In the street the women march,
Glorify the marble arch.

Here we go and here we stay
Turtle smile and tremble
Oh how child you do resemble
A woman I once knew.
Oh how she destroyed me through and through
How she brought rot to my core
Your lips,
Her beautiful eyesore
All you are and so much more
Mirror-bound like a broken sword
Cling to the promise of the patient Lord.

In the street the women march
Glorify the marble arch

And sing sweetly
Let the music fill the air
Let the treble clefs fill the cracks in your bones
Let us melt and merge these thrones
Tender treason undertones.
Throw the darkness all away
or hide it behind the beating of your heart
First to finish, last to start
Slit your wrists and call it art
Scattered pieces torn apart

And here is where it all begins
The women, they march on every avenue
whispering the secrets of me and you
but if only they knew,
If only they really truly knew.
And what now, is beautiful?
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
This is it.

And we are sitting on the graves of those who fought
And we are inhaling their last breaths
And we are singing their last words
And we are thinking the thoughts that they left lingering in the air
And we apologize
Because life is unfair
And this is it.

You shout confidently
But I whisper.
And you know what is right
But I am still unsure.
And here we are
On the edge of what they obtained
And we are feeling the pain that they endured
And we are hearing the sounds that echoed in their ears
And we are seeing the sights that reflected in their eyes
And this is it.

No call with no reply.
No questions.
No explanation of why.
And this is it.

And you look at me and see deep to the back of my mind
And you gasp
Because you’ve been warned about things of this kind.
With three arms instead of two
You finally understand the things they knew
And their legacy proclaims what you must do
So you point and follow through…
And this is it.

And we are sitting on the graves of those who fought
And we are inhaling their last breaths
And we are singing their last words
And we are thinking the thoughts that they left lingering in the air
And I apologize
Because life is unfair
And this is it.

Their tears are falling from the sky
And their blood is flowing from your truth
And their voices are calling with the wind
That we were wrong.
That we have sinned.
And my last breath is a prayer incomplete
Because here we are
All these years and we’ve come so far
And yet, here we are
Old feuds, new scars
New wars fought under old stars
Old fields covered in new tar
And we say we’ve come so far
But nothing has changed.
I feel the place in my ribs where your good intentions penetrated
And this is it.

No time left to say what I know to be true
And life is unfair
But I will try my best to leave my final thoughts lingering in the air
So that maybe you will hear them
And this can be it.
Ariel Baptista Jul 2014
I pick you up in my hand
A red apple from the cart
I turn you over and run my hands along your curves
I see your beauty
I see it speckled with imperfections
Red so deep
Like crimson
You look so sweet
But there is much you could be hiding
I toss you in the air
and catch you
I see the sun reflect off your polished surface
I see your dark spots absorb the sun
I twist your stem and take it
I smell your skin
and estimate your circumfrence
All around me they are filling their bags
to be measured
piling them full
taking so many of you without a second thought
But I have many thoughts
I wonder
and I wonder
Who you are really
I don't see you like they see you
I don't know you like they think they do
I'm not like them
at all
Are you what I am looking for?
Oh, small red apple
Will you show me who I am?
Will you help me or harm me?
Will you liberate me or cage me?
Will I find in you my identity?
Are you what I truly want?
Perhaps I will buy you,
Perhaps I will leave you
Perhaps I will continue to hold you and wonder
until we both rot away.
being back in my 'homeland' feels different than I thought it would
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
We sat, in a row,
on the couch.
They spoke
And we listened, but without complete comprehension
And I laughed, slightly, to relieve some tension.
But in a moment,
we were gone
Far away.
And I tried to understand how we got to where we were,
Because the passing from there to here was all a blur.
I looked around and saw nothing I knew,
This, would take some getting used to.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
Our city is wicked
Or so I have been told
The air is thick with smoke and sin
The ground is covered in dust and disease
The people are vile and villainous
Our city is wicked
Or so we have been labelled
We are a nation defined by unrighteousness
We live to spite a God we don’t believe in
With each breath we curse morality
And choose to live a life parallel to what is right
We are the thieves
We are the murderers
We are those you shield your children from
We are the wicked
Or so we are thought to be
One look into our eyes can **** you
One night in our home can corrupt you
One drink of our wine can rot your soul
You have been warned
Stay away form the wicked city
Stay away from those who lie and cheat and steal
Stay away from the perverse dwellers of that place
Stay away
Stay away
For we are unclean
We are unrighteous
We are unholy
Unfit to be loved
Unable to be saved
Uncalled by God
Our city is wicked
Beyond reproach
Past the point of redemption
And far from salvation
We saw the line between right and wrong
And we crossed it
And we ran as far as we could
Because we are a wicked people
Or so you have made us out to be
And we were too far gone
Salvation no longer and option
We were a parasite
We were leprosy on the face of the earth
A deadly disease destined to **** all of humanity in slow decay of character
We were the wicked
Or so you tell yourselves
We deserved to burn
Just as we had burned your commandments
We deserved to die
Just as we had killed your children
We deserved to lose everything
Just as we had taken it from the poor
We were the wicked
And we deserved it.
All of them, and me.
My city and I.
We deserved it.
Because we, all of us, even I, we were the wicked.

But somehow,
I felt the flames on my back
As my city burned
As they received what we deserved
I heard their screams behind me
I felt my people dying
And I remembered the warnings
But wicked as it may have been,
I loved my city
And to break the rules one last time
Now that would be a beautiful tribute
To us
The Wicked.
And so I slowly turned for one last glance at my blackened home
And joined my people as we stormed the gates of hell.
Sin in our hair
Salt on our lips
And Sand in our souls
We, the wicked
We, the corrupted
We, the sinners
Too unworthy to be offered grace
Too black to be reconciled
Too evil to be forgiven
Forced into submission to the grave
And abandoned by God
Because we were wicked
Our names have faded away
But our legacy remains
In a pillar of salt
Next to a pile of ash
A sight you cannot un-see
And you can pretend to forget us,
Or tell your children that we deserved it
As you teach them of forgiveness
As you tell them of grace and mercy
Tell them how we deserved it
And hope they are blind to hypocrisy
But remember that pillar of salt
Remember our city
Remember who we are
And how we died
But most of all remember that you are one of us
And we are the wicked.
Genesis 19:23-26
Then the LORD rained burning sulfur on ***** and Gomorrah – from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities – and also the vegetation of the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Ariel Baptista Jun 2014
You and me
We’re coffee and tea
Waves in the sea
Two out of three
But, what to say?
What can I say?
What could I even say about us?
But let’s see
You and me
You the coffee
I the tea
Us the waves
The world the sea
Two sisters
Out of three
Thats you and me
Two completely different beverages
Both served in mugs
Cold as ice or warm as hugs
Side by side each morning moving slow as slugs
And ten years from now it will be
You and me
In a cafe somewhere
With coffee and tea
But for now I’ll miss you
Because now we’re waves in the sea
Kissing different shores
The same water makes up our cores
The same land covers the ocean floor
Tides force and tides free
Those waves in the sea
And thats you and me
And I love you
Because we’ve always been two out of three
The best of friends since my youngest age
You could record our quarrels on a single page
There’s not a thing about us that I would change
Leaves on the same tree
Two out of three
Thats you and me
This has been perfect
But now,
What to say?
What can I say?
What could I even say about us?
Coffee and tea
Waves in the sea
Two out of three
And there is nobody I would rather be
Than the person I am when it’s just you and me.
A poem for my sister as she leaves me.

— The End —