2019 Pamphlet Series: Poems from Jerrod Schwarz, Mateo Lara, and Kristin Garth

From conjure

prologue/dedication


i need to know that the earth can be stolen.

 

i need to write beneath grammar, to suck the word filth

into my blood: ram horn gut fuck hierophant blood scent.


a mangle of the word father.

how to bring you back/what to do with you

i buy blackout curtains and hang them

around the bathtub, sit for three days:

anemic touch of tile wall

and my own skin. my wife and twin daughters

beg me to come out, but no one can break

the salt circle.

 

your bones phase in first. i lay on my back

in the tub and let calcium fall to rest on me:

your clavicle balances on my clavicle, your spine

curves over my chest and belly, your metatarsals

wedge into my toes.

 

blood vessels root down from the shower head

and stripe over your muscle fibers; i feel your grease

in my leg hair.

 

before your brain and heart can connect, i shackle

your arms to the faucet. you wake up to darkness

and restraint. beneath the sink, i have hidden

a forty-pound medicine ball

covered in the full sentences

I can remember you saying:

 

you know i don't serve the devil, right?

you can call Rebecca mom, if you want.

I think the bald look suits me.

i drop the ball on your kneecaps; your tongue

is still forming, and the gut-scream diffuses

in your raw throat. i drop the medicine ball

four times on your stomach.

i don't want all your ribs to crack,

 

so i move on to your face. i shine my cell phone light

up at my own face; i want you to see my nose, my ears,

my hairline; you are darkness, but your grown tongue

begs me, please, I don't know you, please let me go,

please, is this hell?

 

i take off my t-shirt and wrap it over your face; your face

hangs beneath the tub faucet. i say i have questions,

and turn the water as hot as it will go.

 

a list of questions/phantom pain

you had cancer cells, and mom had a hysterectomy;

did you ever meet my flesh parents?

 

[sic] waterboard, [sic] no answer

 

i've heard rumor words: womb jelly, grew,

a journalist. was my true dad a fling?

am I a rape baby?

 

[sic] fingernail peel, [sic] whimper

 

you remarried after only a year,

did my marrow remind you

of radiation and remission?

 

[sic] bleach scrub, [sic] quaking fists

you liked raising show horses and beef cows; why did i sleep

in a guest bedroom every other weekend?

[sic] salted ice on your eyelids, [sic] whisper,

[sic] i don’t know everything.


From Glitter Gods

Winged-Man & His Stars

            For H

Stripped-down             where               our holy spaces          filled with ants.

I’m ripe & thinking of the first time someone fucked me.

Blade-hot supplements wings silver-slicked      down my back

I’m hungering here      nested  in the backseat        of his Cobalt.

Soft clay forms             spot sticky with newness         so much newness white & impure

Not saintly       he tells me god does not exist         pay attention to the stars.

I’ll float & drift within his silver-slicked push—take & give.

I enter  his indifference un wanted but satiated         we last three years

Before my flesh pulses with memory               flying above & under him.

 

He talked about cosmic intent             whatever the fuck that meant

Cosmic intent              super nova & its burst              orange death/rebirth.

Black hole        sucking & fucking a galaxy      he studied chemistry in college

I studied          his eyebrows                how much he cried when we broke up                        

How much my             mother             loved him         before she started loving me

& stars             dead pulse        bright dead pulse         so many stars

In the sky         that god did not create             that’s what the winged-man said

When he unfurled        his silver-slicked wings to cover me         

to cover           my       eyes.

Design

            for Shawn

It feels rushed—diamonds are supposed to glimmer not gut

insides, watching the black & blue of your body shape into marvelous ruin.

It feels incomplete—this harness of power, lightning struck chords

water rushing to pummel a gold shroud in your bloodline

you hunger for happiness, it stains the room with light.

a broken moon awakens in your horrible idea of trust

& what spills in our cavity of chai tea & La Villa tacos

 a tooth-rot of sweet, never let me down in your high-walled rooms

roomy enough for a glittering building burning betrayal

from old homes we call a shelter.

It feels unready—the carelessness of piles & mud-caked shoes

needing a river, needing a sun to dry out what wets O mouth

with indecision & thought upon thought upon thought of

your eyes stained darkness & questions unanswered swallowed.

your nights are bright & pulsing & every brick is rough

& red-blistered around you, a chunk of stone became jewel

& I’m not ready for another beautiful thing.

It feels timeless—however, it’s true, some things are missing

but precious gem cradles your stomach, it’s in your hand, just look

pay attention, a bunch of words still

must find air...hike up, bike out your wondering

finds you in shattering dream, gushing out of a pleasure room

the kind of love that is ready to quench a desert

 monsoon a memory of cherishing out of you.

Winter Exorcism

where did I fall? what shivering waits for blizzard…

I suppose every gathering was Lucifer’s call to a queer bone.

I am unapologetically queer—each bruise purple & azul

another Mexican, another survivor of white saviors

another snow drop in my mouth

another—uncouth & whiny, icy melting.

I suppose my friend S would doubt

this ruling, demon-possessed fingers

digging into his thigh at night

I wonder & wander each corridor

anticipating my murder, my earthly death

waiting for resurrection—green vomit, sucking cock in hell

swelling up, scars, friction.

I, California—winter’s only two weeks

before heat thaws all tension away

tell me where you feel, put it where the chill

will numb me senseless, sensible once more

unafraid to utter, I love you in dark corridors

no burning pyre, no matchsticks, for the faggots

& my greatest expectation of self—come gouge my eyes out

shroud me with winter love, winter blue, winter everything

douse me in holy water, pray for me, I’m doing good

I’m doing good, I’m doing good—estoy hacienda el bien

jesûs me salvo del pecado...like that: thrive surviveunwind.


From The Legend of the Were Mer

Maudlin Mermaid

Pacific princess pouts behind a fin.

Charcoal, her scales, sequined sunlight on waves.

A raven head on rocks, she must pretend

to persecute the sailors that she craves.

 

Her sisters swim to join with rainbow tails

and tresses tinged in pink and honeydew,

with smiles that spread the closer ships do sail.

They celebrate the evil that they do.

 

Their circle song, she’s not invited in.

Secluded to the side, a sable spy.

Distrust a dimpled face too dour to grin.

As ships to sediment descend, she’ll cry.

 

Dark iris rimmed with red, unlike her peers.

Inside the tide, you cannot see her tears.

Were-Mer

Midnight, a solstice, fourteenth birthday moon,

secret, a swim, to reef cocoon.  Abrupt

from failing thrash of tail, two legs are hewn

of no avail — complications erupt.

 

Asphyxiation under, frantic swim,

a flail of limbs towards buoy or end.

All waves now weakness, nature’s cruel whim,

a climb to safety and to comprehend.   

 

A sea that rocks new legs to sleep, from fish

woman, a transformation complete.  Change

a cudgel harsh as daybreak sun.  Dreamed wish

light grants, nightmare undone.  Mermaid deranged?

 

All day beneath, belief it’s dream reprieves.

Until the moon brings legs.  She cannot breathe.

 

The Capture

Two worlds, her teens: in day, sea green; legs, night,

alight, discover desiccated dream.

From half-shell bed, sand dune instead,

pink light, electric neon call, a city gleams.

 

Erotic extremes, 20, indigent

in cut-off jeans, from bar to bed by men

she’s led, a wordless waif who’s fed. First glint

a dive inside an ocean deep to swim.

 

A fisherman, psychopathic pretense

of friend. Awake to leave, but he won’t let

her go. A nude in net, bound, defenseless

pale flesh to scales and fin, a tearful sweat.

 

A flop and breathless fearful heart that sank.

She’ll wait to serve at night inside a tank.


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