Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘poems about family’

for Alex, who said he hates me

 

 

It weighs heavy on me,

the things that you say

when you’re angry.

 

How mean you get in a hurry.

How blurry your love seems

at times. Your tongue becomes poison;

betrays our lives together …

we’ve been just fine. But

at times like these, I’m lost.

 

It’s the cost of being your Father,

not your friend. I know.

For now at least, my love,

I will take your slings and arrows,

ignore the million cuts –

 

I’ll tend instead to other seeds

I’ve planted … and hope for you,

strong roots, water, air and plenty of room,

And of course, a great bloom.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2017. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

You know

the many reasons

that we named you Gabriel;

.

arriving in the world

when and how you did

according to a fashion

unguided by the stars

directed by the chances

of who and what we were

.

I know my story states

there is no grand designer,

there is no author penning

lines for you to say

there are no demons coming

or angels to save the day

.

and I cannot use the devil

or eternal damnation

to turn you away

from the “dark side”

… what they call temptation

.

now that you have

no use of a soul

or a search for salvation

to easily tell you

what’s wrong

and what’s right

.

now that you know

that we may be alone

in this corner

of space and time in the night

 .

now that you’ve learned

of the treasures we’ve earned

as social loners

making culture and learning to write

.

now you’ve been told

all the monsters before

were imagined and less deadly

than the monsters we know

.

now that I’ve shown you

in form and in poem

in lines and at home

through kindness

and failure and flaws

what little I know

of the nature of laws

.

I am sure you too

you will find yours.

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

hermano, amigo

               I don’t gots nothing more

                    but words for you …

an open invitation

   like the blanket I hung

    as a door when we lived

side by side, all the places

          where we were young together

 .

even these things are leaving

               us now,

          that we don’t talk,

                    that you can’t call

     to say “I love you too”

               now that I’m just another

          Facebook friend or bit I.M.

 .

Te acuerdas,

               remember how we met?

          ¿como todo paso?

how by accident your mother

               bought the house across the street

          from ours? How twelve years

               earlier we had both surprised

          our fathers and bent their tomorrows.

 .

¿Que cosas, no?

 .

that so much had to go,

               had to break a certain way

to find us playing tag in

               the summertime, dodging

between cars or playing kick the can

              and waiting for the street lights

to turn on.

 .

Te acuerdas como nos conocimos?

 .

                    You doing your imitation of John

              Travolta from Saturday Night Fever

                 and singing the Bee Gees’

                    “Staying Alive”

                   to mock whoever the hell was “it”

                … except me …

         we were already running as a team

        Ploying silently to keep the

                rest at bay, pushing to be better

               than each other because no one

            wanted to be Robin, because

          we both felt absolutely golden,

      whenever we were together,

          you were Larry and I was Magic

              even though our skin said

                   we had it backwards

                      … we knew better

 .

Ya tu sabes!

 .

So here’s a list that only

          you will understand with your

decoder ring and secret index

        of punchlines and memories

Pink Champale and Greased Lightning,

     Lower Grant and their mutant bigs,

Hershey Park spinning on its side,

     Reggie, the bleachers and spaghetti,

Willie on the train and the fucking fractions,

     Missions to van Sicilen, Crescent or Norwood

The middle of winter and a rat’s nest,

     Pitufas and soft shelled crabs,

The Dominican outback needing dancers,

     Fernando in the ambulance,

Shoeless football, stir fry and home grown,

     Seafood Mamajuanas, Billy Joel and

about a million other words I could

     string together to hang around our necks

like totems signifying we know

     exactly what they meant.

But we don’t.

We have our own stories, no?

          Even if we shared that

glory time so long ago, all things

          can gather enough dust

to be covered in the end.

Te acuerdo, te amo, te extraño.

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

There are shows nowadays

          that let us ride along

safely from our homes

          with the kind of people

who cast an imprint on the flat world

          that you and I travel on.

My uncle, the sailor, for example,

          who got a tattoo in the Navy

before they became crackerjack stickers

          or cheap substitutes for personality

was one of those who marked the earth

          with his work and left behind a hurt

now that he’s gone past horizons

          we cannot yet get to;

and we are left at the pier, standing by an edge

          measuring the air with everyone around

until we are met with what we can recall –

which are all the pieces of the world

          he scraped off with his fingertips

and nails to bring home

          and mix with the salt of our meals.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

pa’ mi mami

.

The first guests, my godparents,

turn the corner to begin their walk

down the driveway,

.

          (50 feet of uneven pavement

                framed between

                     my parents’ home and

                the Chinese neighbors

                        who’ve thrown away

                            a grocery bag of garbage

                     every week for 20 years)

.

… a ceremonial walkway for the invited

.

the gate left open to let what used to be

          a flood of relatives through …

but we are older

          and have lost a few to the earth

and others to unresolved conflicts

.

               (Even today, on my mother’s 60th

                         a new injury will be born

                when my middle brother

                        fails to celebrate with us)

.

I could see now, clearly what we had become

          as my father greeted his compadre and comadre,

my youngest brother,

                        (a suit wearing executive during the week,

                        in his weekend barrio wear;

                        pressed khakis & ultra-brite white tee)

pulling green plastic chairs for them to sit.

.

My godparents are frail,

          like half the crowd who will come today,

guests with measured steps and canes,

          and more still that come locked in arms

with the same person I remember them with

          from my childhood.

.

The music, Ecuadorian ballads mixed with

          Puerto Rican merengue and other

tunes from the roots of our America

.

                        (that faraway south

                                  painted in greens and grays and decorated

                        with eyes and teeth that strike out

                                  like stars in the night sky; smiling mouths

                        stuffed with bacalao and ceviche

                                  and full of laughter and Spanish)

.

Here too, the food is ready,

          paid for by my brother,

prepared by memories of my mother and

           abuela in the kitchens of the past;

my hands mix the red cebollas

          and lemons and limes and

               cilantro into nearly everything.

Everywhere there is pepper and garlic

                        mixing into the smoke dancing

                                                from the three grills we have going.

.

We brought together again,

          those people we only see at funerals now,

to celebrate what they had started

          before we existed;

leaving their childhoods behind

          they ventured out of sand dunes

and into snowstorms, unheralded;

           they traded their tiempo, every last

minute measured by train tokens

          and time cards they punched;

measured by checks that paid them

          only for their output and

never considered what they were

          really giving back to the dream

that is this America.

.

They sat around now

          frail, but victorious,

eating gumbo and platanos,

          arroz y gandules, barbecued chicken

camarones, hot dogs and

          hamburgers, topped with

ketchup and salsa picante, listening

          to the sounds of the past

exploding today in celebraccion.

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »