Emerald City Blues

Emerald City Blues

 

Sky favors no one grey upon grey or ocean blue

Lovers and homeless wake up under it wet with dew

The model city we imagine and how to renew

 

Night after night old man his curtains drew

Then in one day his house razed and cat at the window too

Sky favors no one grey upon grey or royal blue

 

All over where there was a structure now there’s two

With fallen buildings, memories of who we are wither and slew

The fair city we dream of, or the one we misconstrue

 

Corner barber poets keep faith, comb newspapers through

New trends motivate, then again, crows weep a déjà vu

Sky favors no one grey upon grey or summer blue

 

Change leads to change till the day when we ask, we are who?

And what of our hearts to unlock the impact of each adieu?

The city we imagine, and the one we are, can be true

 

In future’s rearview mirror, we knew what we knew

Those who lose are many, those who win are few

Sky favors no one grey upon grey or blissful blue

The city we aspire to be, or the one we may rue

 

Think of Santos

Read at El Centro de la Raza, on Dia de los Muertos, November 2nd 2015, to commemorate the death of 12 year old Santos Rodriguez.

Think of Santos

— In memory of Santos Rodriguez

Since not anger, not prayers, nor protests

The clock can stop and prevent the bullet

Fired by a half man and his coward hand

And no brotherly love nor mother’s tears

Life into his lifeless body may inject

We who live yet must Santo’s life recall

His narrow shoulders, the milk of his teeth

Remember his tomorrows in each day

In children smiling on their way to school

Cherish and protect the things he didn’t get

When you say his name he lives inside you

Inside me live his truth, his hopes, his dread

So as the moon calls tides from her distant perch

So may one day soon Santos and Justice merge.

 

To learn more about Santos Rodriguez go to:  http://cipotabajolaluna.blogspot.com

Seattle’s Poem

Seattle is a house

Perched

on the comings and goings

of water and wind

ripple of fish

feather of crow

early morning ferry yawn

Seattle I say

and invoke a man and a place

the two inseparable

not proportional

not parallel

but as language

is to poem

and salt to sea

I watch bridges, bicyclists, boats

summer blankets tendered

on public lawns

I watch fiery sunsets

tango and sway over jagged peaks

and autumn trees bursting gold

up and down hilly streets

Nevertheless before

I postcard and gloss

and more sunsets

and more trees

find their way into my lines

I must confess

the house’s foundation

is in places brittle

and many rooms dark

for windows lack

Plenty have I been

on the receiving end

of rehearsed indifference

heard enough shallow

arguments on who belongs here

to wake up scooping

ocean water with a spoon

we are all here

that need to be

The city is concrete and steel

plus the sum of its people

everyday we destroy

our house

then race to remake it

those narrow windows

block future’s view

mute voices

that need to be heard

muffle the sound

of the fallen tree limb

heavy with ripe plums

Everyday we tread

over Chief Sealth’s legacy

his prophetic words,

“At night when the streets

are silent (…) and you think

them deserted,

they will throng

with the returning hosts

that once filled them

and still love this land”

We are not alone

save for his people

we are all immigrants here

waiter, teacher,

artist, worker nurse

we belong

all of us belong

Seattle is a house

we all need to afford.