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Carl Velasco Dec 2019
Coming out of the last
film screening, the empty

mall looks like an abandoned
cruise ship. There's the lingering

sense of brief occupancy, in the
same way plastic toys are lodged

in the sandbox after parents
have fetched their children.

The shops are dim, empty.
They're on break now, preparing

for next morning's
language of want.

Glass doors are locked.
Objects, once for sale,

are inacquirable. Price tags
are sheltered in the quiet

specter of dark.
How I do leave this.

Where is the exit.
I need a way out.

Is there anybody out there.
Someone to guide me.

Look around. Some few hover.
There are people still here.

A man at the snack bar
closing up shop.

Laborers downstairs, fixing
tiled floors.  

The guards. And their
transceivers humming gargled

whispers. And me, a spectator
of the way things are after

everyone's gone. I am built
like this, I think. The after

hours, the empty. These feel
holy to anyone who wanders

around vacancies. Hoping to
discover a place inside the place.

A field trip during midnight when
loneliness doesn't have anyone it

can flirt with, so it eats its own
body and desires itself.

In all this emptiness, I look
for something small. A human,

seeing me, sensing I'm lost,
and coaxing me toward a

narrow exit and out into the
open world, where I'm even

smaller than before. Outside,
I think of inside. The massiveness.

And the people still in it,
bracing themselves for another

12 hours
of this tomorrow.
after Knives Out, Robinson's Magnolia
Carl Velasco Dec 2019
Their backs heavy
with the burden of
one more evening
shared without knowing
each other's names.
Smoke from their
cigarillos billowing
thin, floating in the
room like ghostprint,
steam from the
carcass of an affair.
A small lightbulb
and two shadows
barely moving.
We're talking two
boys, two bodies
on the bed.
Swimming.
Sinking.
Sailing.
The faucet drips
faster than the wall
clock ticks.
I count.
     one drip, two drips
There are too many
things I want to ask him.
But after *** there
is only endless pause.
He lies there with his belly
rising and falling.
I time my breaths
so that his stomach
is up when mine is down
     three drips, four drips
On the bathroom mirror
there's half a fingerprint.
I wonder if someone had
wiped the other half.
or whoever left it was
incomplete.
     five drips, six drips
I like the sounds you
bring out in me. The
way I'm primal with you.
A creature. An animal
enduring the whiplash
of almost having all of
you, and all of this,
whatever it is.
     seven drips, eight drips
I used to think we have
*** because we like the
anguish of fleeting
****** contact. But now
I understand. There is
a sacredness to the way
we don't want to acquire
each other. That the
passion burns in a vacuum,
away from distinction,
from names. I'd want more
soon. I know myself.
     nine drips, ten drips
But for now, this will do.
I twist the faucet close.
And wipe the rest of the
fingerprint.
Carl Velasco Nov 2019
I clean wounds with animal spit
so I inherit a lust to escape
human capture. But what happens is
I take in their power of blind loyalty
and approach the incarcerator wielding
the softest gun. I fall for boys
who teach me how to mend my
anomalies, and when I'm renewed,
they find I'm not damaged enough
to keep fixing. So I'm free but I miss
prison. I miss following the cowbell
that leads me home. I forget the past
it took to crumble me. My own shadow
haunts me when I step into the light.
So I hide in dark places to keep him out of sight.
Carl Velasco Aug 2019
Imagine I’m just a voice. A voice without a body. So now you have to ask, where is the voice coming from? Imagine you don’t want to ask where I come from. You don’t want to accept the more challenging questions of hearing a voice from a vacuum. So you accept that I must come from a body. Now imagine what my body looks like. Let’s start from the deepest layer, where it all begins: Poprocks. Sprinkles. Skittles. Pebbles. All the sugary grit underneath. Candy bomb flavor, sweet like carnivore blood. Sweetness, the start of my body. Then we get to thinking about bone, soft as sponge, wet as electric posts during a typhoon, breakable under natural tragedy. But blameless. Sugar and bone. Then veins: uncut confetti. Rainbow spaghetti. Canals of bloodspeak, channel of time, of heat, of elixir. So Sugar. So Bone. So Vein. Then you have the heart, made of chocolate and pounded crickets, plus the corpse of queen bees. The hive emptied their wombs to give you your sugar, and they go to your heart to die. Their resting place is your alive, the miracle machine protecting the tether between sane, sedated and over, ended. So now we have Sugar. Have Bone. Have Vein. Have Heart. Imagine the alternative. All those are lies. I’m just a voice. A voice without a body. Where is the voice coming from? Or you can always go back to the body, even if you don’t understand what it’s made of. Not yet. Sugar, Bone, Vein, Heart. Vigor sown, slain — depart. Body, I butcher, loan for shame to start. Consider the voice is alone, but alive, and the world completely dead. The voice lives to tell its perfect heartaches, the contortions of the body struggling to be itself turned into vibrations, sounds, moaning, exhalation. I’m just a voice. I’m just a body. I’m just words shifting between multiple properties and materials. Moving fast, then slow, then turning invisible and visible. Until you accept that I am and stop looking for where I am, what I mean.
Carl Velasco Aug 2019
When I'm excited, I turn young
and cry wine blood, in my tongue
bitter and slick and arousing
like the bleak colors of international
pain. I wear a necklace forged from
the calves of men from the moon,
I invite moaning thunders in my room.
I am perplexed. Why did I waste my
youth pretending I was old. Why didn't
I offer my body as springboard for parasites
to court the song of decadence from
between the slippery crotch of mountains.
I am now with age and yet without age.
I've been seen. Touched, too, and combed
and stretched and smote to coarse powder
now riding the wind where we go off violining
down the perilous slopes of people's
roofs. Time, take me back to a place I
didn't know was waiting for me.
Time, take me back to fix the failure
of language. I know. The past is a cemetery
of spasms. I know. The present is a heartburn
in progress. I know. Only in the future
can I see the work being done.
How time feels when I'm lost
Carl Velasco Jul 2019
My boy
stick your tongue out
even if no winters
could ever arrive here.
Don't wait.
Come and go
As you please.
Earth is a hotel room
of strangers
rehearsing abandon
with ease.
When you get cold,
bet on me.
I can lay
my body down.
Fitting to yours
like crooked teeth
biting the ridges
of a saw.
I promise, it's
a soft bite.
Trust, that's all.
And I'll try my best.
But please.
Don't ever ask,
Are We Here
Carl Velasco Jul 2019
A funeral pyre.
Tonight our bodies on the bed.
I will never tire.
Mapping what isn't being said.
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