National Poetry Month, 2015

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What’s good? In case you didn’t know, in the U.S. we celebrate National Poetry Month from April 1st, to April 30th. That means a lot of local bookstores, libraries, museums, and other literary organizations will be hosting special poetry-related events. It’s worth your time to check out these events. William Carlos Williams said it best:

“It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.”

In honor of National Poetry Month (#NaPoMo), I’ll be following my usual post schedule, except that for this month, I’ll be posting my poetry. I’ll go back to posting my illustrations and photography soon enough, but for now, enjoy some poetry. Who knows what you’ll personally find in mine.

-Luis

P.S. In case you missed my poem-a-day posts from last year, I highly recommend you visit my archived posts now.

Dokkodo–The Path of Aloneness

Poetry

(from upcoming volumes of my Dokkodo-inspired poetry)

path
path taken
path lost
path understood to lead
to nowhere, path leads
nowhere to understand
to path
lost path
taken path
path

trudge
a boot heel leaving
the imprint Timberland
tree veins, spines circle
enclosing on a tree
a life
leaves

alone
lone
not loan, a loan
although this life is loaned
it is not yours to take
value is placed
like rupees
or ripples
pesos falling
clinging, brass tarnished
águila ó sol
you ask

ask
pregunta
negotiate
a meditation doesn’t
last when questions are
water
is both liquid and solid
at the same time

This poem is part of my current, 3-volume poetry and photography chapbook project, which includes “Dokkodo; Volume 1—The Way of Walking Alone” available online at http://mkt.com/smiley-faze.

Dokkodo–The Way to Go Forth Alone

Poetry

(from upcoming volumes of my Dokkodo-inspired poetry)

She steps forward
understanding that she must
go on this path alone,
utilizing resources as they come.

He did it before.
Alone.
He walked along carrying
grocery bags full of corn,
beans, cheese, and the occasional
avocado in hand.
A treat, he would say, for
working that extra hour
at Dearden’s last week.

She violates the privacy
of his path. A 20 year old
tired of waiting for the MTA
to mope along their path.
A chance encounter.
He dropped his tortillas at her feet.
Bendita niña.

She watches him kneel with no ease.
A tattoo on her calf that reminds him of
his grandmother’ story about love.
Grandma had one story about love.
But she, she tattooed, she
steps back, uneased.

Señor, do you need
a hand with those groceries?

He smiles and says, Sí.

She steps forward
understanding that she must
go on this path alone,
utilizing resources as they come.

She takes a chemistry book
out of her book bag.
Inserts tortillas, fresh and fragrant.
Holds broccoli, cauliflower and rice bags.
He purchased no meat, she notes.
He notes the bus is not there.

This poem is part of my current, 3-volume poetry and photography chapbook project, which includes “Dokkodo; Volume 1—The Way of Walking Alone” available online at http://mkt.com/smiley-faze.

7. Never be jealous

Poetry

(from Dokkodo, Volume 1; The Way of Walking Alone)

Aún no falta
mucho para que el celo
sea el cielo.

Falta mucho, aún
para que el cielo
sea el celo.

Mucho falta para
que el celo
no sea el cielo.

No falta mucho
para que el celo
aun sea el cielo.

Faltas mucho, cielo
para no ser
el celo.

Celo faltas, aún
para ser mi cielo.

This poem is part of my last poetry and photography chapbook, “Dokkodo; Volume 1—The Way of Walking Alone” available online at http://mkt.com/smiley-faze.

6. Do not regret what you have done.

Poetry

(from Dokkodo, Volume 1; The Way of Walking Alone)

Pop saw lights
in the corner of the ceiling
the day
we made the decision
to take him
off life
support.

His final heart
beat was at
11:14pm.
74 years, 335 days
after his first.

It was Mami Lucy’s birthday.
The lights appeared
at 1:49pm

earlier that day.

9 months later
Tia Luisa walked
towards
Tri-City Dialysis Center,
5 minutes after
dropping off
Mami Lucy.

She waited at the bench
next to the sliding
doors.
Tia Luisa imagined
Mami Lucy as a little girl.

Paramedics took 9 minutes
to receive the call,
drive one block,
reach the dialysis center,
park.

Mami Lucy was declared brain damaged
2 hours later,
oxygen not reaching her brain
3 minutes too long
after her heart stopped
mid-dialysis.

All our family was there
in the first hour of learning
Mami Lucy was in the hospital.
At 5:39pm
we witnessed her final breath.

Small birds are known to die within weeks
when they lose their mate.
Especially Love Birds.

Their song stops.
Another’s response is not
enough.

It’s the short moments
of silence that kills
them.

It’s the missing fights,
the vanished companionship
in the dark,
the absent caricia.

We live on.

We live on.

Trying not to remember that you’re gone
too often.
The regret that we can’t share our lives with you
anymore
is easier to avoid.

This poem is part of my last poetry and photography chapbook, “Dokkodo; Volume 1—The Way of Walking Alone” available online at http://mkt.com/smiley-faze.

5. Be detached from desire your whole life.

Love Poetry, Poetry

(from Dokkodo, Volume 1; The Way of Walking Alone)

Como si existiera una neblina
ante los ojos.

El no saber.

No saborear.

No poner mi lengua
en los pelos
finos de tus senos.

Jamás cargar un hueco
en mi diente
para rellenarlo con tu sabor
de piña y coco.
El azúcar café,
café y azúcar.
Remedio natural.

Niña perdida.
No tu. Yo.
Ni tuyo.

Jamás vivirás
con deseo en tu vida.
La vida entera.

Es importante vivir
sin deseo, ascético
en tus maneras,
tus manías.

This poem is part of my last poetry and photography chapbook, “Dokkodo; Volume 1—The Way of Walking Alone” available online at http://mkt.com/smiley-faze.

4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

Poetry

(from Dokkodo, Volume 1; The Way of Walking Alone)

It was over a pair of carne asada tacos
sizzle of the beef still fresh
¡sás!
se las tumbaron
cilantro floated so heavenly. Towards
the floor.

Isaac stood there, motionless
Ang Lee film interpretation
a ninja would’ve crouched down and
hidden a dragon.

Guacamole has a way
of staying together in any circumstance
unlike family.

It was over
a pair of carne asada tacos.

Rolo didn’t mean to, but sort of did.
His arm slipped, a gentle hard slip
like brothers do all the time.
All
the time.

Isaac had a choice to make.
Empty styrofoam taco tray in one hand
agua de tamarindo in the other.

Isaac had a choice to make.

His choice was clear.
Smear.
Smear that guacamole covered corner
tray on Rolo’s hair.

This poem is part of my last poetry and photography chapbook, “Dokkodo; Volume 1—The Way of Walking Alone” available online at http://mkt.com/smiley-faze.