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A Yearning

Posted by arley sanchez on January 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (1)




Look in my eyes, deeply,

I have control now.

I love you like myself,

but I have come close to extinction

so many times and now again.

She calls and I am here,

where the air is frozen,

and I am afraid, paralyzed,

and so is she.

I could have solved this with courage

a word, but I am watching her die,

someone I grew to love,

someone who knew she was dying

by the look on my face.

And why should she lie,

when she says she’s not afraid.

Why lie, Beware, she says,

but I am guilty of nothing,

except of being afraid.

I can feel her tremble.

Is there anything I can do for you?

She shakes her head no,

and yet I know she doesn’t hear me,

my voice makes scratches in the air,

lightning in the summer sky.

God is metal, after all, strong and silent,

immovable, inanimate, unfeeling.

We offer grace and beauty,

grasping at things that don’t matter,

blind to the only thing that does matter,

and when I offer you my dream, my life,

you smile and turn away.

When we walked in the mountains that day,

a big horn sheep came around the rock,

froze for an instant,

and then it bounded away,

Oh it’s gone, you said, it’s gone.

But it will be back,

like love, hope, a yearning.



Want to See a Real Man?

Posted by arley sanchez on August 12, 2011 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (1)

I read today how a man barricaded himself

in a trailer with his girlfriend,

and before he blew her away and himself too,

he yelled to the cops: “You want to see a real man?”

You don't like Joey's, the booths are duct-taped.

You like Capo's, cozy and romantic.

But I like Joey's jukebox,

two plays for a quarter and no CDs,

just oldies with scratches grooving with memories.

Two quarters slide in but a couple behind us arc

like crossed wires, high tension connection

says he can't wait to take her home

to mess her up but good.

Your eyes cloud when I turn in my seat and say,

“Must make you feel like a real man.”
His eyes blaze and smolder like embers

under the rim of his dirty black cowboy hat

perched on his head like a crow.

Her eyes are disconnected, like a broken TV.

“You want to see a real man?” he says, his tongue

burrows like a snake into his mouth.

A real man steps into the darkness to the blast

of a passing train, the bright sound arouses snakes

squirming in my belly.

“He's a psycho, pendejo,” Joey says, “You better go, pronto.”

Vamos,” but it's too late. The psycho's back.

The long cool barrel of a .45 is cold and heavy

and twists on my temple, like the devil's finger.

My heart clangs like the church bell

and from the jukebox, Elvis sings “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

Eyes lock and load and his breath is short and ragged,

like a dog hit by a car.

“You want to see a real man, cabron?”

We breathe our distrust and dark fear,

the air clouding of hate between us.

She begs him please, don't, and time crawls

on my skin like a spider.

He pulls the hammer down

and a real man slides back into his holster.

Real man drags her outside into Joey's parking lot,

and her screams crash back in through an open window,

but before I can stand, you push me back down again,

amazed I'd repeat “Must make you feel like a real man.”

I walk to the jukebox

and fumble for a quarter

to drown out her sound.

Never Said I was Pablo Cruise

Posted by arley sanchez on July 8, 2011 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I ramble beat and anxious,

skitter like a leaf over lava rock,

a sweet city woman sings on the radio

and promises she'll wait for me.

So long ago cruising Mexico with Pablo;

he asks me for one more day

and I nod okay,

powerless to say no to Christmas tree eyes.

The radio blares Pablo Cruise

but Pablo spins the dial.

Real rock has no horns, like Chicago, he winks,

but Pablo Cruise,

he says, can come along for the ride.

My thoughts are rambunctious,

like children climbing a haystack.

Ghosts rarely tell their tales,

they are shades fading on the Earth.

I am made stronger by loss,

and what I lost is later found

by someone else

who will be made stronger by loss.

Sweet City Woman's empty promises

return me to Mexico

so long ago when we became camarades,

our friendship cemented on a Mexican weekend,

riding Metallic Blue with a name like corn whiskey

and a sound like thunder and white lightning.

Pablo rides shotgun, challenging Chevys,

chiding Cudas, harassing Hemis,

the squeal of molten rubber

and the roar of a 351 Cleveland

vanquishes Mexican Road Warriors

and Pablo beams, his golden locks whip

in the wind como el Thor.

Y las chulitas en Juarez bunched

on dangerous street corners,

screeching parakeets with flame blue eyes

and skinny brown legs,

raised skirts and silky wet tongues,

Oye, muchachos, Quieren dulce?

No es caro, very cheap.”

The plaza clatters in a chaotic din

as I am buscando el Pablo.

He wheels around a corner

like a windblown tumbleweed.

He can see I'm annoyed and possessive

of the only real friend I ever had.

His speed freak eyes accelerate

and he says with a wink,

“I never said I was Pablo Cruise.”

Weary like a promise broken too often,

my sweet city woman still waits.

Time splashes from a shattered

hour glass at my feet,

spilling blood and dreams.

Death walks like a shadow,

yet we pretend it's a lie.

The old can't see the precipice;

the blind can't hear the storm,

the unwell never knowing how to solve the puzzle.

I was shaken awake this morning

to pay my respects.

I find you lying on a brass bed of red,

your heart bleeding from a needle full of black tar.

A cop with black mirrored eyes tosses you

in the back of an ambulance

like so many broken dishes.

Later your cold blue hands clench a rosary

and on your head a shiny new baseball cap

sticks straight up like a head stone.

The body waits, the spirit kneels, afraid to go,

like a victim whose home

has been carried away by the storm.

Rosary beads chant and raging voices

dance inside my head.

A smile curls like incense

as I remember the day

you learned I loved your sister.

You looked in our tent and said,

“What the hell are you doing?”

and your sister replied,

“What the hell does it look like?”

and she slapped you so hard

your long golden locks fluttered

in the wind like a young man's flag.

When your locks fell away

like the leaves in the fall,

Thor died,

and your eyes became his tomb.

A clock ticks somewhere on Sundays

as I search for Pablo Cruise.

We swallowed miles and beer,

watched the full moon fling stars

off its hip like swing kids,

living for today and wishing for tomorrow

like children on Christmas Eve,

lamenting yesterdays

like lovers mourn for lost chances.

At the light a cop glares

and I growl like a dog at my own reflection.

In the rear view mirror, I imagine I see you

but it's only a tumbleweed.

Cruising Sundays solo, searching for solace,

probing for penance,

como un buscador soltero, a seeker alone.

I found a weathered snapshot of you today,

your face was haloed in gold,

and I hear myself say,

“You never said you'd be gone on Sundays,”

and then your reply,

“I never said I was Pablo Cruise.”


Posted by arley sanchez on June 8, 2011 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Desire inflames spangled lips,

red pumps stir sparks

on a catwalk windy with stars,

a galaxy dazzled by black nylon

and red garters,

energy pulses from a comet

rambles closer, and in the shadows

planets swirl amid a taste of sugary pears.

Tingles on your lips linger on mine,

collecting heat, even your eyes are meteors

pulled by an irresistible force

I can’t resist,

bending your body like a knife half opened,

your red lips flame like in comet’s tail,

and a desert wind murmurs dangerous promises

whispered in soft sighs

sparking fires in the heavenly bodies

out of control.

Saturn and Gemini witness

to our unrequited love,

lonely winds with a scent of lilacs,

your soft skin draped by a satin scarf of secrets.

My disheartened desire pulses in a dark universe,

a comet celestially, perpetually,


Dimming of Day

Posted by arley sanchez on June 6, 2011 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

September's wildflowers covet the stroke

of an indifferent benevolence,

snapdragons wink heavy with intrigue,

and in the dimming of the day,

I miss your touch, your dreams, your love.

Sparrow poised on a thrusting yucca,

Shy Iris sensuous and silky

like a woman awakening.

Gilded rock roses gather like children

for the ice cream man.

Butterfly weeds detonate

in tangerine anarchy.

September’s wildflower lifts her face

for a morning kiss,

and prickly pear curls in jealousy.

Blossoms sway to crickets' chirp,

honeysuckle dances with the breeze,

imaginary eyes search in softness,

Virginia Creeper boasts plump purple berries,

but promises no wine.

In September's wild graces

lie a conspiracy of waiting,

austere and forbidding,

yet reckless daring finds beautiful intrigue

wild and free in the dimming of the day.

When He Slit My Throat ...

Posted by arley sanchez on May 23, 2011 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

When he slit my throat, my life

bubbled away in blood

seeping into dirt, releasing

my soul, bringing me back

to this morning when my brother

came home with blood on his shirt

not his own, and when I asked,

no answer.

In the quiet dark morning, explosions

blinded and deafened me, nightmares flash

in the dark, illuminating faces of hate

I didn't recognize, my sister rocks

on the toiler seat, another mixes

chemicals from under the sink

to throw in their eyes.

My mother kneels and begs for our lives,

my brother bursts into the room,

blasting a shotgun, explosive thunder

and fire, spent shells rolling on the floor,

a sound of death pounds against my chest

and head, until at last I hear just a click, click click,

and smoke curls around my brother's smile,

as he tosses the gun away and waves

at me one last time,

until I joined him for the journey

on that smoky blood night of fear

and death, I chased him struggling

to catch up to his long legged gait,

like when he was my big brother

and I was a little boy, always

a few steps behind.

At the top of the hill spotted

with petroglyphs and a trinity of crosses,

we sat on the rocks like brothers

beneath the Holy Trinity,

rosaries clapping in the wind

on a shrine with candles

blown out by the wind,

and watched our blood

boil into the ground,

becoming a part of the mountain, forever.

Matanza Blood

Posted by arley sanchez on May 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Sleepless night, dreams of Matanza morning

snip at the darkness where the terror walks,

but today it seems held at bay,

outside in the cold iron morning, my family

works in sunny camaraderie,

roasting green chile in pungent smoky cedar,

sweet and smoky

like the hollow of a young girl's neck.

Muffled laughter to dirty jokes,

women gossip, men boast laugh and lie.

Sizzling chicharones silenced

in red chile and a warm tortilla.

My uncle strums his time-nicked guitar

a couple dance on a floor of dirt and hay.

Smoky cedar girl winks from the fire,

but I look away, afraid.

She knows a young boy's fear

and rubs away the blush on my cheek.

Her cold face against mine fragrant

like herbal Yerba Buena.

My dreamy vision shattered by my father's yell,

the pig roasted, now the lamb’s time.

My father hands me a tugging rope,

on the other end a lamb upside down

twirling in a pirouette of fear.

a sound like a baby crying;

I remember the serene,

silent plaster lamb lying at Christ's feet

in the church, as the practiced fatal slap

of leather beats against steel.

Fear drips freshly cut in sanguine

cedar smoke; I grip cold steel

and a meadow lark sings in the field,

melting away fright and pain,

painting the ground scarlet wet.

My father passes a whiskey bottle

and I drink, at last a man.

Cedar girl’s eyes rimmed in red

and my heart sinks in sorrow

as I empty the bottle in the mud.

My father picks up the bottle

and walks away

shaking his head

tosses the whiskey bottle

high into the air.

It falls into the fire

and explodes

in a garland of flames.

Winter's Rose

Posted by arley sanchez on May 2, 2011 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Winter's Rose 


They pray and ask me to help, in God’s name.

I have to be a miracle.

They hand me the darkness, I must find light.

They ask me for proof,

I must find roses in winter's snow.

My love finds you afraid and alone,

I must give solace.

The incongruity of flight, is faith.

The stubborn souls,

agnostics and uncommitted,

justify my showing an image of Agnus Dei;

vanishes in their presence, like smoke.

There is nothing I can do.

I am an angel.




From Behind Bars

Posted by arley sanchez on April 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

From behind bars, they call out like cats,

time frozen on clown face clocks striking midnight.

When the lights go out, nightmares begin,

out of cities, out of God’s pure country,

out of ghost towns, out of neon’s glimmer uptown,

out of fear, out of anger,

out of bitch, out of bastard,

out of mother’s poisoned heart,

out of empty pockets,

from jars left ajar, from traps lightly sprung,

from a shiver of cold,

from crying alone face to the wall,

from no light at dawn,

from eyes like grave markers

gazing at dreams rotting in the sun,

out of dead men walking in circles,

out of boys become men

or not, their empty shells tossed in a pile,

from the stench of denial,

from a lunatic moon,

from no reason to rise,

out of lives torn asunder.

They come, without end, out of blindness,

out of vengeance is mine,

from a beast feeding on spirits,

from a need for closure,

from lockdown, from lights out,

from everything under control,

out of rehab is for quitters,

out of an eye for an eye,

from a blackout can be a busy little devil,

out of time served,

and still imprisoned.

out of cruelty, out of unusual,

out of what might have been,

out of lonely, out of time

from the color of dirt piled by a grave,

out of today is the first day

and the day after yesterday,

from behind a curtain

of faith, from a bursting of hope

smothered behind bars.


Posted by arley sanchez on April 26, 2011 at 12:15 PM Comments comments (0)


In the viewfinder of your camera, a blossom quivers,

unsure of your love or your intentions,

not the sincerity of your look,

nor the mystery of your art,

will soothe its fear,

like yourself, reserved and mysterious,

scanning the beautiful scene, layers of colors

of green and brown and blue,

topped by a grayness of subtle movement,

the light

like heaven, and when you give

such a gift of mystery, settling at last

in no words but silence, you enfolded

in my arms warm and soft, fragrant

like the blossom, young again

your brow furrowed in wonder,

some happy memory in the lines of your life,

and I discern in the intimacy of the moment,

a look that meets mine, still silent, all knowing.

in anticipation of love, for you

and for me.


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