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Posts Tagged ‘spanglish’

I want you to know

that this started

as a suicide note,

 

that I wanted to end it

by slitting my throat …

 

cortando la lengua

ahogado en sangre

 

kicking and punching

because I was angry –

 

buscando salida o comida

pa’l hambre

 

before I had realized

how this

was coming along.

 

That the words I was

writing transformed

into poem

 

palabras perdidas

de mi corazon –

perdona mi arte

si no tiene razon

 

when by

language and meter

it turned into song

 

filling some hole

that was born and

kept growing

 

nunca sabia

si venia o me iba

 

before I had learned

what was worth

knowing … and by

writing discovered

where the muses

were going

 

tormentas privadas

y como me joden

 

that language

could save me

enslave me to living …

force the forbidden

I keep hiding and

hidden

 

me salvan … palabras,

alarmas y espadas,

siembrada sin planes

que encuentro en mi alma

 

inside me

whatever it is I

awoke that drives me

also derides me …

it’s haunting, but lively

 

idiomas que usan

qualquier instrumento

buscando sentido

y razon pa’l momento

 

and despite it

I keep writing

along

 

like beating a drum

turning the silence

into a hum

of a rhythm to come

flowing and stirring

the smoke and the rum

 

asking me questions

of where I was from

making me look

at what I’ve become

 

the meshing of parts

that somehow you think

is less than the sum

 

the stranger himself

the prodigal son

a brother and father

con un corazon

 

and nobody knows

where it is I belong

they haven’t discerned

if I’m right or I’m wrong

if I’m noise or I’m song

 

But I want you to know,

that while you

may not always love me

yo siempre te quiero

y no puedo, sin ti.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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Perdoname
 
      as I tell this
          because it is remembered
     in more than one language
          slipping between tongues

     twisted by root meanings

               Padre nuestro,
               que estas en el cielo
 
how do I decide

     where the truth

 

          la verdad
 
     is when I rely on memories
          spoken in broken Spanglish?

 

               Santificado sea su nobre.
 
Whole conversations
     that I’ve had in my life

          that are lost not just

     to time but also

          to palabras perdidas

     tambien

               Venga tu reino
               Hágase tu voluntad
 
I have lost so much more

     to yesterday than I have

          to ayer o el dia pasado    

but death is hardly tampoco

          a match for la muerte I will take death

1,000,000,000,000 times

          Over una muerte

               En la tierra como en el cielo
 
Because I was first afraid
     of the dark in Spanish

          then certain things will always

remain in that language

     Veo la luz
     Vivo el dia
     Tomo el agua
     Amo ha mi madre

     Trago mi comida

 

The English of my conversation

          has turned out not to be

            any sort of escape from    

those awful terrors

but a sharp, cold burrowing tool.

               Danos hoy el pan de este día
               y perdona nuestras deudas
 
The reality is

     I am losing everything

          in these translations

I cannot balance the equation that I am –

          the calculus of my temporary stages

Whenever I’ve stopped to observe it

          I affected the outcome

          and rendered it all useless

Proof of how loco estoy

               como nosotros perdonamos
               nuestros deudores

 always the two sides

          se quieren matar

because there is no hero

          solo maldades y el diablo

a desperate tale of minor

     chapters I can’t write down

     because I was born

          naci aqui,

between times and tongues

               y no nos dejes caer en la tentación

     sometimes I wonder what

      the voices are really saying

        because they are as grainy as the faces

          they belonged to and the reason

           I love watching sand and thinking

how their ancestors

     las montanas, las piedras          

were cut down to size sobre tiempo    

by el mar y el viento

               sino que líbranos del malo

               Amen.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

 

 

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gothica

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

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© 2008 henry toromoreno

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ask anyone who does it

and they will lie about everything

when they do it

or how it comes to them

when they started

and how it feels

 

for a few, it is a gift, timeless

for others, it is a curse, heavy

for some, it is a job, mindless

for most, it is a chore,

like having to pull splinters

from your abuelo’s feet

          which I’ve done.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

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