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Authors: Juan Felipe Herrera

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BOOK: SkateFate
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IN BETWEEN

MY FOSTER CASA

& THE HARD WORLD

where the sun is still watery

whimpery soft & uncurled

where the alley night appears

as a yoke of tawny smoke

where each dreamy footstep glows

on the powderpowder sands

where half of me cartwheels

on the whirly foothills

where the other half breaks out

into elastic planets

where me & you & me & you

gossip a little about us two

where guns & knives & bombs & needles & bullies

are loomingboomingzooming

where hearts & minds & sometimes

kindness & time & time & time

seem so so far away

AT THE
GO-GO
GIFT SHOPPE

for the nurse—

Pepto apples & Alka pears

for the firefighter—

watermelon hats & diamond fountains

for the little girl on the dentist's leather & chrome chair—

iced white chocolate mocha lattes &
a furious-fast candy-apple colored limo

Jason Blocker's hand came up to me with a silver lightning flower at the end of it. opened up and grew so fat it ripped everything out of the classroom. dunno. just heard myself stutterin'. somewhere. in middle of the. blast

SKATE IT

ON A KITE

AT NIGHT

send it to the stars

send it to the stars

when they tremble

eon dresses in light-year skies

grandmother Serafina's bedroom curtains rise

light up in amber sighs

ON A BROKEN-UP
STRAWBERRY-COLORED
SKATER DOLL

on the gnarled foot so it will turn into a swan

on the hurt breast so that every beat of the heart

writes a new word for love

on the shattered hip so that the consonants

become cha-cha-chas

on the screwed fingers so that new vowels

without the howls sprinkle out & grow

on the twisted head so that colors wind sail & pigtail

into laughing skies

on the ripped belly so that every building bends at the center

& bows to you

on the split knees so you can climb beyond Mercury

beyond Beyond

on the aching ankles so that every other sour shoe

can become skippery-sugary

on the reddish palm so that every no no no will now know

how to glow

ON THE TAG
ON PAPA Z'S DUFFEL BAG
AT THE LAST GREYHOUND STATION

war

is not

a video

game

war is not a video game papa z tells me

but sometimes i think it is all the same

SKATE IT
INSIDE A
RAINDROP

so when it falls

on the frozen windshield without notice

the glass will melt &

spell your name in one wavy Alaskan blast

when the driver ambles in & tosses the worker jacket

the tennis racket & all that world affairs racket

her eyes will read you through the shifting ice

balanced in the air all that is there

every moment born anew at last

IF YOU

FIND A POEM

BEFORE YOU GO TO BED

if you find a wet drippy poem

a poem filled with goldfish splashing Jupiter colors on a dish

or

a poem of tadpoles skipping over a tuna

making a whale of a wish

if you find a marvelous majestic mellifluous poem

that wants to sing

tired & tied to a 8 1/2 x 11-inch white picket fence paper

untie it—that is all &

take a rubber-band taper from the morning paper

& tape it to the wind for goodnesssaker & let it become Spring

AT THE
GO-GO
GIFT SHOPPE

for the astronaut—

   
a mailbox of tangerine horizons & two trillion tortillas

      
flapping around Saturn

for mad foster moms driving you to school—

   
Capezios to make it all easy-os &

   
a hooray Hula dancing class at twelve o'clock

for the faux-hawk skater cruisin' to the stars—

coconut-flavored Post-its & a swimming pool filled with 7Up

now i can talk about it. after a year of screws in my legs and operations and tubes swishin' in and out of my stomach and kidneys i just wanted to roar out. touch things i had never touched. to see if it was true. was i still here was this life still here. on this side. whatever you call it dude. wanted to touch everything like van Gogh touched and smeared everything when he painted. so i wrote it and spoke it. maybe mama would hear me. cuz i could hear her. sayin' When your heart hurts sing. wherever you go. and i'll be there. maybe Des would surprise me parked around the corner. maybe papa would come back. sometimes in between the commas and periods and semicolons and gasps he said things to me. he said. Lucky. i. love. you.

ON

MY

SKATEBOARD

porpoisenosed

cheetahpawed

ancestralfinfinfin

bluequiverriversilvers

sawdust of awesome awe

here

i

gooooooooooooooooo!

gooooooo!

goooooooooo!

gooooooo!

gooooooo!

when you are dreaming you are dreaming

that is when you are awake when

French violet flower petals greet you like van Gogh &

all the streets lead to where you are

& there is no where to go you know you know

blue green hills & dawny-light & hope fill your eyes &

shake your heart

when the A train rides you to the City of Sparkles

& you call out

“here's where i stop so i can start!”

when each finger paints & each breath almost faints

all the moony messages & sassy singers

from all the fire escapes fly out it's your turn! they shout

it's your time! they dance

it's your rhyme! it's your chance

in a circle made of infinite circles in a breath

that breathes all our breath

when your face is smeared with summer & winter

autumn & spring sorrow & laughter what you lost

& what you are after what is soaring &

what sails under the sea

your season is here you see

it is near

can you hear its freedom melody ringing

it is you

so skate a poem

wherever you go & you & all will know

you

can be tragic you can

be casual & usual & unusual

1,2,3 put a poem on backward

& it starts to spell Me

are you listening-listening

write it weak every week

write it strong so every line can goooooooo looooooooooooooooooong &

belong

to your unexpected song

that's it that's it—4, 5, 6, 7, 8, i said nine

print it on an Abercrombie sign

a BMX flying over Spider-Man bouncing sticky

across time right in the skate-skate it right there with a flair

right there

for all the looooosers & all the wiiiiiiiiinners

for those grounded for all those wounded

in wars at home in the school yard unknown

in wars far away in wars no one can say You're so gay

when all is quiet in the foster home zone

when every face & space in MySpace quivers &

logs out for a thrilli-second of rhyme

skate a poem that is your cue your sign

wherever you go

in a flurry in a hurry a textmessage w/o a worry

text it there text it in your own

magnificent mysterious texteriousway

text it to the girl with wrists cut

whose father storms into her room with the dust of Iraq

gone so soon?

text it to the boy with his mother so poor so lost under

the liquor light moon

text it to the girl-boy considering the angry gnarly rope cool

hanging from the roof so solemn so hairy so early in

that lonely shadow pool

text it to the teen soldier

ten years older

than yesterday's improvised explosive device duel

get serious with it seriously

get delirious with it deliriously

get omnivorous with it omnivorously

¡opalescentplasmathunderquake!

ithappenedtome

when i went flyin' & cryin' & dyin'

for goodness sake i ain't lying

be with it

be in it

be for it & after it beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

the poem thass all

be the song-song

you are singing

with ADD or

stutter-free with acne & ghee & horchata on your knee

with a bow-legged shape

with crisscross eyes that can truly see

with busted legs the color of eggs

with freckles & dimples &

heckles & Shrek-colored me's

going

going

gooooing

further than your dreams & screams

invisible & visible & visualized & televised

in your high-def lows &

your diggable-digital highs

in the eyelash of hip-hop creation or

in the woo-whoo of your own Claymation imagination

skate a poem there

do it pronto

for your girlfriend

for your self-fried

for your boywhocried

skate a poem crazy & lazy & wiggly & wobbly & brave

ready—i said go!

skate a poem wherever you goooooooooooooooooooooo

blog it

pog it

ride it

roo it

goo it

do it

crew it

brew it

shoo it

shoe it

moo it

blue it

Sue it

froo-fruit it

10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, eighteen

OMG—

skate it

on all the things

that come from no things in sight & things

critically wrong complicated fragile & magnificently strong

deodorant-stick fried burritos Bengal tiger carpet that's

where your pet went

dental braces & Disney gongs & throngs of

pregnancy tests & physics books & dental floss

Goth shoes plain white laces

quadratic formula prep-test races

isosceles triangles &

número dos
basketball championship shoes

what do you want Baghdad or divorce?

no one asked you to choose

diet obsessions behavioral mess any

more crunchy questions anyone

adoption option & foster papers all that mess you wished

was gone

PennySaver & craigslist gone wrong

you don't know what kind of boy you are or you aren't

skate it there girl or boy or both whatever

vitamin water or the fume in the perfume market crash &

all the rash

on your ex-friend takin' a lap & then a nap

in between all the gangsta' rap no fear

on CNN on all the baby names

on your stepmom's
Grey's Anatomy
at night

on the boy with the gun in the gloom-room w/o a sun

when

you are dreaming graduation is near

gooooo!

goooooooo

goooooooooo!

when you are dreaming

that is

when you are awake when

French violet flower petals

greet you like van Gogh &

all the streets

lead to

where you are . . .

BOOK: SkateFate
6.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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