Only we make beautiful things just to destroy them

Vickie Vértiz
          After the exhibition “La Gravedad de Los Asuntos 
                 (Matters of Gravity)”
 
The Mexicans and the Russians were always in on it 
This is collaboration in zero gravity democracy 
—blurry violet lights and no clear answer 
This is a nuclear glow in the dark so we can start over 
We board planes to Mars and six engines fire
 
You spin away. It’s candy guts out here—all our voting machines are breaking 
You tumble and can’t stop, but 
Grab a harness—an adult pigtail
 
Six plane engines click on and your homie has to 
Push you so you can swing at the exploding star 
A way of thinking, una estructura doblada
 
Alguien cortó oropel azul en cuadritos 
And stuffed it into the piñata. A yellow paleta 
Big as a chicken, floats to the right hand corner and balances 
Tipping into the comrade’s hands
 
What’s a layer of confetti and candy compared to DDT 
The kind you sprayed over all our naked bodies 

We’re diamonds: hard, shiny, and we 
Get processed to go through 
We don’t infest, pendejo. We invest 
There goes your friend again, diving toward 
The paleta, which has to be pineapple flavor
 
We were always in on it together 
Me and my honey watch a video on loop 
We gently hold each other like the beach balls we are 
The light dims and that constellation swings 

Only one Russian cosmonaut will smile at a time 
They watch a compa swim away 

Reach out 
Don’t make someone else do your work for you 
Some of us were grounded 
The whole time 

Related Poems

Redacted from a Know-Your-Rights Training Agenda—

That a potholed street in the middling borough of Collingswood, New Jersey, bears the name Atlantic, after an all-consuming body of water.
 
That all-consuming is Atlas’ curse to bear the heavens on his shoulders.
 
That after the fall of the gods, half of the heavens is darkness.
 
That inside the car speeding down the street, I believe I am safe from being halved. 
 
That “I” am not a white box, but a body of water.
 
That white is a pattern of boys who expect to live long enough to become men.
 
That some of these boys are whistling by on their bikes, and behind them, clear as a dream, welcome candles in the windows framed by blooms of vervain.
 
That “welcome” means I thought I was not afraid of the dark.
 
Since the jade scrubs of the cancer ward.
 
Since the florescent grid of the factory and the vista of small bones in my father’s collar while I was interpreting for the twenty-something-year-old white citizen,
 
                             “Tell your dad he can quit or I can fire him.”
 
Grief had already burst its cocoon; it ate him like an army of moths from the inside.
 
That brown men and women kept stitching jackets under the heavens of the machines.
 
Welcome.
 
That a moth is trapped in the car with me – it will die, but I do not want to practice florescence alone.
 
Like a first language bleeding hearts call, speaking truth to power.
 
I don’t know how they don’t know that power doesn’t care.
 
That watching fires go out will become a pattern.
 
That fire is everywhere, and therefore, cheap.
 
That the hole in my foundation is all-consuming and at its bottom a frangipani tree opens its yellow hands.
 
That POLICE ICE is printed in yellow or white on the jacket of the night.
 
That the night walks freely among the ranks of the sun.
 
That a body of water parted once like a red skirt then sealed over the armored horses of Egypt.
 
That Whitney Houston is a bone blasting
 
out the car windows.
 
That tonight, the night after, the night after that, for as long as the distance between god and a pothole, a moth’s flight will spell,
 
                                	“They are coming for you.”