The Light and the Bushel Poetry Chapbook draft for pinyon press submission


Jesus, not the one from Galilee, the one from Grand Rapids

Threw down the bottle of beer and sneered out of his truck window

Radio sirens blasting noise through the land of snow and dreams

Roberta, at the bar, sent out her warning

But no one listens anymore to the stupid sayings of women

“He will make your head spin,

The type to make you dance on water,

When you fall off the boat, sure as hell won’t catch you,

Leave you to swim, or drown, with the fish eyes”

Now, who would believe an old maritime hag like this?

Sure enough, Jesus left her when her belly

Was as round and ripe as any busted watermelon


el sueño americano

papi is a wetback in Cali

feet tucked under the wet straw

el burro está en el gestor

una pared no se separará

from mami, in her flower dress,

blowing up against her slender brown

thighs in the night

the dress dancing up against those thighs

as she sways to and fro to Manu Cho's "Me Gustas Tu,"

I dream the rain, the motorcycles, you and me,

me gusta sonar, me gusta la moto, me gusta la lluvia,

who do you think the rain is for? ¿quién crees que la lluvia es para

it is for you and me. it is for the gods that hide in our dreams.

in the clement, merficul air, Felipe prays before the Virgin, and

with each breath, the desperate throb of indulgence.


"I think I might have feelings," I said muffled.

You looked down, way down, your eyes tucked beneath your chin,

My hand was on the stick shift, backing the car out of the concrete parking garage.

"What kind of feelings? You mean, you mean, l-e-s-b-i-a-n feelings?"

And your voice started to sound like stones and gravel about to be flung

At a dying, bleeding bird.

"Well, it's nothing I did to cause it. I know that much, for sure."

"Well, you said back in November, you might try it, you'd try it with me,

if you were that way."

"Well, I probably would be with you, if I were such a thing, but I ain't no such thing."

For two weeks I cried each night straight into a pillow inside the tomb waiting

For Martha and Mary to come wash my feet. The third week my soul was

Resurrected, and I took off my embalmed clothes, and I was brought back to life, only

To try to be your friend, only to realize once a bird dies, it dies,

Once a thing ends it ends.


He was tall and handsome, that common blend.

His eyes were narrow like the eye sockets had been dug into the head with God's

Thumb, first, before the eye balls placed in.

Always with that damn knitted cap perched on top of his bald eagle head.

He would come and sit down, saddle up next to me, shoulder blade to

aching shoulder blade, his breathe hot on my pink earlobes.

He was the high school jock, at fifty, the stud whose simple one word of "hi"

Melted valleys of lumpy women, the way brown gravy melts on buttered biscuits.

I was the clumsy school girl, the one good at all the homework, at thirty,

And I never knew if you really liked me, or just needed some help studying for the

Biology test. Maybe you did not know how to dissect the frog, dissemble its hind

Quarters from its front, and that's why you sat next to me, laughing with your tight

Lips perched on each newly formed word.

"You're my girl, you know that right?" You said it standing at the office copy machine.

"Yeah, I know." I didn't know. I wondered, "How?"

I thought he hung the moon, till one day I tried to lasso the moon he hung.

That's when I found out, a man riding in the misty shadows of Camelot

Is not really a man at all, but is a coward with a thousand dreams,

A lost little boy who needed someone to cradle him inside deep mother-loving arms.

cómo quisiera

how i would like

to taste you

to kiss you

to hold you

Quiero saborearte, tocarte, sentirte hasta que estoy borracho con usted

mi amor es intoxicante

I would like to write a poem that is as simple as my love for you.

I would like to drink you in, in the rain, behind the green lush wet grass that

shelters us.


November, the cautious month of my birth,

Warm air blowing in the lands of swamp

The dying dog days of summer's last long goodbye.

Standing there in that airport gift shop,

I must have counted each glass mermaid one by one,

And then there was the mermaid bottle opener,

which I purchased for you first,

only to exchange it at the last minute for a heavy cast iron mermaid that was utterly

useless; when you unwrapped it you asked, "Is it a bottle opener?"

"No," I said, as my mind floated back to the first mermaid I purchased, then

exchanged for the one that now lay swaddled in white tissue paper.

None of the mermaids perfect enough to give to you;

I settled on imperfection so as not to miss my flight,

with a bag full of mermaids, the cast iron speckled blue one, large enough to hold in

hand with some gravity to it, because things that swim in the waters need

the heaviness of gravity to pull back up to the surface,

so as not to get lost for too long;

the smaller refrigerator magnets, one a brunette (you),

the other a blonde (me) in shimmery turquoise bra and fish-tail shell.

April, when the tulips bloom, and seeds scatter in the dirt,

The cold air blows, a shofar of hope,

Standing in an airport in Columbia, Missouri,

Ten thousand tiny stars dart back and forth across the broad sky,

as I longingly dream up ways to win you back.

November, the morning of my flight, you texted me,

"I wish it was US going away,

for some straight fun."

"Me too," I texted back.

April, my soul has become a mermaid half submerged in the waters of

my shallow stain glass heart, a pilgrim of the Spring,

while your silence is cracked lighter.


Created with images by Catedrales e Iglesias - "Misión de San Gabriel Arcángel,San Gabriel,California,Estados Unidos"

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