Insomniac for a high noon
called midnight. Another howling
Coyote ass chorus of disapproval—Malinche
was my Farrah Fawcett poster
masculine taped to my bedroom wall
an imagined papacito
in a big bad brown
den for real.
The gigalo furrowed browed
spittled jowls highlights yellow
an estrangement with my pack
of sancho sinvergüenzas
swimming in lack
for Mommy Malinchismo
But we appreciate over time,
our bellies get full over time.
And these papers overwhelm an archive.
So for a good time call Cortez, a casual encounter.
No strings attached
cuando estoy triste I swipe right.
Copyright © 2020 by Raquel Gutiérrez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 2, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
My friend Michael and I are walking home arguing about the movie. He says that he believes a person can love someone and still be able to murder that person. I say, No, that’s not love. That’s attachment. Michael says, No, that’s love. You can love someone, then come to a day when you’re forced to think “it’s him or me” think “me” and kill him. I say, Then it’s not love anymore. Michael says, It was love up to then though. I say, Maybe we mean different things by the same word. Michael says, Humans are complicated: love can exist even in the murderous heart. I say that what he might mean by love is desire. Love is not a feeling, I say. And Michael says, Then what is it? We’re walking along West 16th Street—a clear unclouded night—and I hear my voice repeating what I used to say to my husband: Love is action, I used to say to him. Simone Weil says that when you really love you are able to look at someone you want to eat and not eat them. Janis Joplin says, take another little piece of my heart now baby. Meister Eckhardt says that as long as we love images we are doomed to live in purgatory. Michael and I stand on the corner of 6th Avenue saying goodnight. I can’t drink enough of the tangerine spritzer I’ve just bought— again and again I bring the cold can to my mouth and suck the stuff from the hole the flip top made. What are you doing tomorrow? Michael says. But what I think he’s saying is “You are too strict. You are a nun.” Then I think, Do I love Michael enough to allow him to think these things of me even if he’s not thinking them? Above Manhattan, the moon wanes, and the sky turns clearer and colder. Although the days, after the solstice, have started to lengthen, we both know the winter has only begun.
From The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe. Copyright © 2008 by Marie Howe. Used by permission of W. W. Norton. All rights reserved.
It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand, and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop, very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say, it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only all the time.
From The Good Thief. Copyright © 1988 by Marie Howe. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books, Inc., New York.