Fotografía de Manuel Alejandro
The soul is not at risk,
Bur you don’t have a soul.
If asked you’d say you know
Where and who you left it where.
But you don’t know
The extensive body of literary theory
That precludes you from thinking this problem,
Or the men that’s written it, their cousins.
They’ve got this, institutionally.
If asked you’d say that you left it there,
You’d say that you’d know well where,
You’d speak of a lonely boy, you’d know which one.
But there was never more room, nor clear standing or direction,
In the embodied human cynic, for a soul or a chance.
Not when plastered upon the burning horse’s glance
Of the twentieth first century.
Not that the white and red and black of it got to you,
Love did you no favors,
before your life began.
Cut forward, hard, early and often.
No one gave you a job you got a job.
You made it to a pantsuit, all of you.
Look at you, naked you,
and afraid a babe in the boardroom.
Soft and grave is the second code you master,
Trying your hand at soft sexuality turns to disaster, but shame piles
Softly upon shame like plush linen blankets. Coming down with all sorts of antics,
Toiling pennies and plucking dimes you are the best and no one is the best.
Y’all is doing the same thing and no one knows what they’re doing.
On the roll call you’re best listed as absent.
A woman like you had no business
On the spotlight your body feels like prison, on the bedframe it’s spread like the class frog
Your honor, the lady’s using her vagina as a cutter. Self-harm as self-worth testimony-
But on the paperwork you’re clan and master. Not much for drama but the pastoral clings on
The family lends on you either give or we’re through,
gee baby you aren’t rare
They are just so the same, they just look alike, nominal proximity comes to like ten grand, its expensive, your family is your most taxing habit, presence posing as parameter, martyr
but your first brand sunglasses did feel good, if not grand. It was your own money and the first time. Capitalism is a cancer
You understand but the barricades aren’t throwing you
Any hands any more that you are them. Yes, but also the grand the clan relinquished to you. It was all you the whole time. You did it to yourself, you know that’s what to say.
Then a man, a den, a birthday party, ten.
The sullen order of suspicious posts
That was you here before, like ghosts.
Your husband and you sometimes miss, and happen upon each other.
Like clockwork, this stranger recognizes you
How you know to be recognized. And the know is the only barbed wire of cognition.
Time is thick now, the characters concrete but dimly remembered.
You could have been whomever you wanted- how
You could have died in front of that screen right down-
The man next to you in the video never knows about the substance of some lines
You buy phones you can’t afford and a couple more. A real woman wouldn’t have acted this way
In your biopic there’ll be ten minutes on the reel of you drooling into the screen
For the sake of accuracy. Now, it’s a pretty good gig,
Look at where you slipped and look at where you started
And there never was quite that much time
To go where you didn’t think of.
Then you have two sons
And they get to wander off.
You get to pluck their feathers off
Naked turkey white babies roam the world
You full woman you have to go pick them up
And feed them you and cook you and serve you at the table.
You pander to the handcuffs one of them worked so hard
To get himself in. He never clings to what you would cling.
And you cook this world as much as the last one, though the laundry collapses
On top of you. There are no innocent bystanders in the drive by of
Look at the state of us. No one props the broke doll,
And the humiliation is fantastic.
He breaks all that you couldn’t even touch
And you’re caught in the plastic
You, is it that you are fifty eight and you still ain’t got no plan,
You don’t call your accountant; you hold on to no man
But the lines of your life are geometrically conscious
You’s fine. You wish you had a daughter,
You learn to love his wife.
He has a sense of meaning you don’t think you’ve ever had
He doesn’t want to look for you,
You know he wants your house
And you don’t have a house.
It had to be you
The second person pronoun is the skin I sink in. I wear it like I wear you, all the time and never knowing.
The second person pronoun offers no reparations.
The second person pronoun is sad because it can be with you but it doesn’t care about you.
The second person pronoun gives no indications, but when informed it would never snitch. It always respects what it cannot teach.
The second person pronoun hid beneath the second floor of Noah’s ark throughout the whole thing.
The second person pronoun survived word to alphabet translation; it may be the thing that’s keeping us in. Shame will keep us together, the second person pronoun sings. Shame, shame, shame.
The second person pronoun knows about that man for years. The second person pronoun has never cared. It’s not rape, rape. It’ll send you to him, it sent me.
The second person pronoun is not the skin you can think, but it will make you think that you know
The second person pronoun bad to the bone motherfucker body juicy body needs so much attention
The second person pronoun it’s their nation and through saying you at us the nation spreads. We lost language. We lost fair. I mean what are the odds.
Me and my brothers and my cousins except that one.
En DF los barrios se llaman colonias.
The old cat and the kitten looking at me. My ancestors looking at me (co-sign me not for I can’t hold that gaze). My moments of glory and my moments of shame. The mangled equation of a mangled mango tree. One that has no place for me. All me are this you. The one that never seems to look back at me. I see you, hanging peripherally on the side of sight. The one that begotten was the one that fed. I always wished you looked back at me. I always wished you were audible. I always wished that you stared.
All the frustrations, the centuries of frustration, the whispered cries of the man that was king for a day. I wish for a day when this you is me and the dainty cries of my mangled brothers compel me to action. But it does not come.
If come it would see and never not see. The spectacle tropes on the wall. The concentrated labor of looking the other way. The hand that seizes hands and the hand that locks the door? Are these not hands like yours? Do they not twitch at what they haven’t held? Are these not hands like yours? There is no room for them in the pyramid within but there is room in the pyramid that schemes the world. They’ve seen the room that’s why they yearn. Concocted and afraid. And that’s where we’ve been and have been known to have been. Are these not our proud brothers and sisters, howling, tyrannical, the tropical toxins of frustrated rage, dreams deferred, the brothers were deferred like the way you left me.
Let good looking men sing away at defeat. Let pretty lads in pretty noses sigh far and high away at the sky. Let the boys be entertained. Let the entertainment be art. And let art be entertainment. Because it is entertainment, then, for those men.
If I was to sing, and I don’t sing but if, but probably this you can sing, or was, in the heart of time, a legendary singer.
Nobody moved more than you and no one was loved as you were, the mother denounced the child and the bride deserted the lover in the middle of the road. All the deferred dreams are boats, little ships in the landscape that never was. But somebody made it and now it is. And I mean made it, sold the lease, and now lives on the rents looking down on a phone that never calls.
At least you were only colonized both outside and within. At least you see what you see. Come see me when you are ready. Not when you see all the references but thousands of light-years to the side, when you waltz in and guess right because you are naked and entrenched in the clot dark clay. We’ve had both right and history on our side this whole time. Jazz needs no defense from you, the rivers of unfed masses roll on without you though they do do the police in different faces yes and you always have been with them, standing on strapped stolen legs by your own bootstraps stranded, the currents that rise only to lock the door behind herself and away and removed I made myself as away and removed I unmade myself. Look at you go. Look at the time and the chances.
The ten thousand thousands of missing faces are missing because they are as dead as dead ever was broken and still the metropolis floating still, held together by the tight net circle cycle of abuse that’s the shame that keeps us together. I sing of foundations rotten, ill, that will long endure. I sing of the master’s structure, the master face, the great height from which we all look down on one another like husbands and wives who are so sad they are tired of all the sad for so long. I sing of women who win, even when it means dragging the boy who triumphed over them and all the small victories they collectively amassed, the masses of perfect that never was.
Once I looked at love and now I look at you.