Charlìe (part 1 of 3)

by variousignatures


Speaking excitedly
your language
is one that does not exist
and is misconstrued
by your countrymen

You must have
strained and crouched
and fallen in the 
beds of countless trucks.
All Hail The Polleros!
and the day I 
I cringed. 

You must have 
seen and smelled
and touched
the earthen floor
with dirt shapes
a thousand times over.

Then the boiling world 
was beautiful, bounteous and 
the sweltering world
was minuscule.

The men at the shore
hauling in
billions of horrified shrimp
and you look on
and raise the question
“How’s the water?”
“It’s warm, little boy.”
so you swim out
until your arms betray you
and the men pretend
to capture you
in their massive nets 
once you return to shore.

Where were destroyed
or washed away
the reeds.
They show to you
all their objects 
and then did they tell you
what to call them?
Did they try to pull
that bastard tongue
out of your head?

You were so less
as a youth, unwizened
the unwieldy
suffered through confusion,
groaning that you are
still no more yourself.

Showing me a picture
of a young girl
and showing me a picture
of two boys kissing
and I don’t know 
what to say to you.

Rolling into New York
while we must’ve seemed
ridiculous with wealth
numerous shops and cars
all the neighborhoods
knowing you couldn’t stay long,
and there never was hardly
anything here for you.

Then there was the 
American South
you felt the 
nostalgic warmth
electric, magnetic
and saw lush
farms and farm workers
The every annunciation of
“we go down to our home”
or even
“place of the Misty Sky”
knowing you could not erase
-your mother is dead.
-your father is dead.

When I met your roommate
who looked like Castro 
hiding out as a gaucho
and laughing at my
positive colloquialisms
and said he had tried heroin
in Chicago, 1978.
Having seen more of this nation
than I ever will
and he still wonders
‘ where is my family?
where are my children?
why am I here?’

The passage in the book
nearly seared my retinas
claiming the societal outcasts
and the immigrants
are inextricably tied.
Immediate companions,
I wept in the folding chair
outside her office.

When asked your age 
you paused and smiled
“A century
(un siglo)”
I wouldn’t keep track
if I were you.

The Chihuahuan Desert is on fire
and you pin a 
ribbon of misery
in recognition 
to your staff t-shirt
for las muertas 
for the end of the world
and the sharpened teeth
glimmer by the moon
by the maquiladora
that is Mecca.
While the rest of the crew
pokes fun at your
faggot ribbon.

You and an El Salvadorean
go out for mezcal
and carrot juice
and you fear him
fear his silence
his unseen implications
this visage tattooed
with scars from torture
as a political prisoner
politics he would’ve been
otherwise unaffiliated with,
yet there is a bond there
through proximity
in tongues
and sheer 
distances traveled.

The agave heart cooked
tenderly pace the turkey breast
into the slow mashing process
it’s flavor burns
with the fervor of a home
the El Salvadorean grins
and repeats a saying not his own
“para todo mal,
y para todo bien también.”
Charlìe grins as
the worm
that promised god harvest
in 1941
pouring a stream onto
the floor for
the fertility of this world.