Daily Archives: December 20, 2017

No Lines No Seams

They keep asking that old question:
which half of me is 
Abruzzese and which is 
Mescalero — a question

as old as I am and
maybe older if you think
of how many generations
before me had to hear it —

and if you think about how often
I’ve heard it myself,
you’ll understand that it’s gotten
pretty Goddamn old for me as well.

Tonight I’m looking at myself 
naked in a full length mirror
and can’t decide — where, exactly,
are my sections? Am I

Italian waist up? Apache
waist down? Brown left,
White right? Maybe the divisions
are within? Maybe I’m

a blend — always in flux,
swirling like coffee with
milk? Maybe there are
no boundaries at all within me?

Dammit. No. I seek the physical
proof tonight that would 
contradict that — some slight
configuration to explain me

to the open eye. I’m tired,
tired of living inside this body
that screams one thing to the world
and holds another back —

I’m tired, tired of my entirety
being invisible, tired of looking
like a lie to myself, tired of how
ridiculous I feel for feeling this way

on days when I am not secure
in full knowledge of myself.
They cannot understand, when they ask
me that question, how old it makes me feel.

One more night before the mirror.
One more night in search of myself.
One more night trying to answer
someone else’s questioning of how it is

that I am both and neither, and all at once
I break the mirror and see it as
the beginning of becoming visible
as a whole being, no lines, no seams.

So Much Has Slipped

In Austin
someone I know once threw me
a small bag of weed
as I stood in a hotel elevator
surrounded by 
cops on vacation.

I’ve been to some
cracked moments
while on the Journey.

In Venice
I stared down 
rapacious gondoliers
and watched
from an unsafe distance
as students
in Piazza San Marco
rioted for lower tuition.

I’ve been close
to the fur-gloved hands
of Fate often enough.

Sat at a university president’s desk
during an occupation of 
the administration building
in Amherst. Was in the rush of bodies
that broke the glass doors when we 
stormed it. Was one of the last ones
to leave next day at sunrise,
weary and jubilant all the way
back to the dorm; cannot for the life of me
recall why we were there.

I have forgotten more of my life
than I have lived, I think. Forgotten,
I think, how close to the front lines
I’ve come without ever engaging,
how clueless I have sometimes been
about the breath of history and disaster
on my neck.

I watched the Towers fall from less
than two hundred miles away and watched
friends die on television as they fell
and sat in an empty office for hours after
breaking the news by phone to other friends,
some of whom 
could see the smoke
from their rooftops, 
some of whom
were thanking their stars

for the blessing of escape
until they heard from me. 

I have been the Angel Of Death,
posting open letters to the dimming light
in beloved eyes,
all in the name of holding on
to whatever I could
when so much else 
has slipped.