Song Out Here

- 1948-

if i could sing

i’d say everything         you know

from here on the street can you turn around

just for once i am                     here

right behind you

what is that flag what is it made of

maybe it’s too late i have

too many questions where did it all come from

what colors is it all made of everything

everything here in the subways

there are so many things and voices

we are going somewhere but i just don’t know

somewhere

but i just don’t know

          somewhere

do you know where that is i want to sing

so you can hear me and maybe you can tell me

where to go so you can hear me and just maybe

you can tell me where to go

all those hands and legs and faces going places

if i could sing

you would hear me and i would tell you

it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright it would be something like that

can you turn around so i can look into your eyes

just for once your eyes

maybe like hers can you see her

and his can you see them i want you to see them

all of us we could be together

if i could sing we would go there

we would run there together

we would live there for a while in that tilted

tiny house by the ocean rising up inside of us

i am on the curb next to a curled up cat

smoking i know its bad for you but

you know how it is just for once can you turn around

a straight line falling behind you it’s me i want to sing

invincible                                             bleeding out with love

 

just for you

More by Juan Felipe Herrera

tomorrow I leave to El Paso, Texas

see my brother-in-law with a styled shirt

in spite of his cancer below 

then a small dinner in the evening the next day

no one knows except I may be on the road

Mesquite where my father settled in '31

forty-five minutes west then a left you go in

sister Sarita waits for me on Abby Street

after decades in separate families we just met 

now I hear the clock snap I swipe an ant

time to walk my dogs five blocks and back

a different route to soothe the mind

it is the same one but I am hopeful

You & I Belong in This Kitchen

longtime hermano Bob          tells me
one of the monks in brown directs us to the deep sink
made of two sinks the hose & the silver table where all 
the spoons & metal tongs are clean
wait at the entrance for directions the monk gave me
but he is in there & points me to another sink
made of two sinks & a silver table where all 
the spoons & metal tongs are clean
scrub off the rice burned at the bottom 
there it is clinging to the sides of the steel
outside working the hole in the earth
three monks in brown stir the blackish pots boiling
four mouths of mud cakes for the new lunar year
the dragon the people the monastery the mountains
one monk stands staring into the nothing
no thoughts around him 
the other monk descends through the scaly fog two
children angle an exploded tree limb back & forth
so the sparks play with them      to the left 
the meditation hall is curved & faces Escondido 
down below where my father drove his army truck
& pulled our trailer to a stop on Lincoln Road in ‘54
I watered spidered corn & noticed the deportations
little friends gone the land left to ice alone
lunch is served we go to the line the spoons
and the speckled tongs await by the brown rice
white rice eggplant kim chee & a grey shade pot
pour the seaweed soup we go with our tray & sit 
the mud cakes are ribboned in red & gold & green 
there is a way to do this 
it requires listening & seeing &
silence           silence the bell rings
longtime hermano Bob & I      at the parking lot
we leave brown cloth                           brown cloth
naked spoons      naked pots
steam         rises from the sink &      the view
the view with no one           in front or     in back

Five Directions to My House

1. Go back to the grain yellow hills where the broken speak of elegance
2. Walk up to the canvas door, the short bed stretched against the clouds
3. Beneath the earth, an ant writes with the grace of a governor
4. Blow, blow Red Tail Hawk, your hidden sleeve—your desert secrets
5. You are there, almost, without a name, without a body, go now
6. I said five, said five like a guitar says six.