Burning Etcetera


The rain is drift-falling and layers

cannot save you from this winter.

On concrete, teenagers

lean against nothing, Air

Jordans laced and grounded

in a shift of faces. I wonder

if there is an art to dying

young — if food markets

remind us good times aren’t forever.

Yesterday, we arrived to

a chestpunch of dark and cups of red

sangria. We walked

to the farside until we no longer knew

ourselves, until they looked at us

for our tongues.

Pyramids have dusted here

but some still watchdog this valley,

pushing back against snow.

My days are a murder

of time and watching

the gray slick-slide of trains.

The markets are cigarette-

stained and coffee-mouthed, tired

buildings stiffed against sky.

They are reminders of yesterday’s

dark. The people

are friendly, speak

slow when they see me failing

in Spanish. I don’t know Spanish

like I know Volkswagens. Like

I know days that are weathered

boot bottoms. I wander

these undersides, rub roughness

against my face. Inside

is warmest, I rest

my feet on nothing.

What was once

a horse track in Mexico City is now

a public park. Kids and fathers

pop fireworks

overhead. It sounds like something else.

This morning we almost got lost

looping dirt paths. I lose myself

in new places. Where you can barely see

it, an old castillo

watches over everything. How

did it end like this? We came

from Bone Thugs and Selena, a mix

of vibrations in our bonedust.

Rigid is the wrong word

but it follows me. I can sketch it

onto sides of buildings,

trace it

on rain clouds. There is a fresh-

ness I haven’t known.

Outside is a crawl

of wood-

lands between us.

Feel what is missing

and make contact without


Say thank you.

Say I don’t know.

Say did you hear that noise?

These walls are not

really walls. They are

cave mouths, reminding:


Fuck off media

Beach this way —->

I don’t know why I stay in-

side myself so often and away

during summers but I dream

and earlier I blinked

across a border

while listening to chatter.

I plucked

a book from my bag and let it un-

fold, turning pages

of Ross Gay

like shovels


sun-burned fields.

I palmed the roots,

if only for a split, and stopped

where the outside was a freeze

of glares. For as far as I could

drink there were barely-built

things and wargrounds where revolution-

aries once foxholed themselves

the way we must foxhole our dreams

at night. What does it mean

to be this small and sober?

Hold this heaviness. Hustle it

among your bones.

These mountains cannot

be trusted. I cannot

juggle planets, cannot

press rewind and shove it all

back. Where does this weight

on bone-ribs grow from?

There is no talk of politics

that does not upset me.

Put these rocks in your blood

and pretend you are

not fluent in burning tongue.