Archivo de la categoría: English

Loss [pt. 1]

A horrible hangover the other morning had me wrapped around the toilet puking fire. I don’t know what it is Dallas BBQ puts on its boneless buffalo wings but it is as delicious going down as it is hellish coming back up. It clogged my esophagus and burned the back of my throat, a nightmarish sensation I’ve never experienced. I feared its imagined consistency, red-hot paste struggling up my tubes for the longest time. This is how people choke on their vomit and die, I thought. However, what came out more closely resembled tomato juice. Perhaps a little more orange than a bloody mary should ever be, but it didn’t kill me. I hold the same hopes for the ugliness making its way to the tip of my tongue-fingers. Hunched over my laptop like I was over the john, I brace myself for something equally gross. Word of warning: this, too, will take a while.

A strange win occurred on my way to Budin, a nice little café in my neighborhood where I started drafting this entry. As I was writing, a doble-level tow truck had gone by, filled to the brim with the remains of flattened, shredded cars. It was and is irrelevant to my story but I’d never seen a derelict vehicle reduced to its paltriest, let alone that many at once. Not sure why I was so attracted to such wreckage, but I was. This was not the win, though.

On my walk to Budin I stumbled upon a local bookstore a couple of blocks away. I had been thinking of a passage I’d read days before, a tweet of a picture of a book. The excerpt, which belonged to Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, would later reveal itself to be a colossal spoiler, but as I walked into Word looking for it I had no such information. If you intend to read this fantastic book, which I recommend you do, perhaps you should skip the following quote.

And while they wished to look out for each other, and to keep tabs on each other, staying in touch took a toll on them, serving as an unsettling reminder of a life not lived, and also they grew less worried each for the other, less worried that the other would need them to be happy, and eventually a month went by without any contact, and then a year, and then a lifetime.

I strolled through neatly stacked shelves fully aware I only had $18.57 left in my bank account for the next three days. I held Hamid’s book in my hand and turned it over. Sixteen dollars. Would be less than prudent, yes, but I still had some food in the fridge and not a whole lot of plans. As I got closer to the register, it dawned on me I hadn’t considered taxes. I was pretty sure I was covered but math has never been my forte. I spent those last seconds steeling myself for embarrassment, just in case. Exit West came up to $17.42 with taxes. This… was not the win either.

As my depreciated card returned to me, the lady announced it was Indie Bookstore Day and I had «won a little something». She handed me a small bundle, neatly wrapped in delicious brown packaging paper. «Oh, cool!», I offered with unabashed, unwarranted enthusiasm considering my bounty were the most random books I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I didn’t know that at the time and it ultimately didn’t matter. This was the win I had urged the universe for after the longest, most miserable streak of shit luck.

The possibilities and excitement concealed within the little brown parcel far exceeded its size. Although it would’ve been nice to get something I actually wanted to read, the jolt of genuine joy I had for that couple of blocks’ walk to Budin was my actual prize. Once I opened it, of course, I didn’t feel as much struck by luck as grazed by it. However off the mark, though, a win is a win is a win.

Having allowed a strange, off-brand victory to remind me the little things, for better and worse, matter most, other modest triumphs revealed themselves to me instantly. For instance, finding five unlikely singles in my wallet, which effectively covered my four-dollar cup of coffee (plus tip) at a place where there is a five-dollar minimum for cards. Also, I didn’t have five dollars in my card, so this, compounded by the fact I got the table right in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, felt like a killer sweep.

And with all those wee gains under my belt, I thought I could finally approach the foulness that had been bubbling up inside me for a full year. I had let some of it out before, but seems insignificant now. I had basically said I felt like a loser, and while that is still true, I later understood I was grappling with what made me feel like a loser: loss.

A finished draft for what would’ve been Loss (pt. 1) has been sitting in my desktop for the longest time. It is virtually identical to what you have read up to this point. But from here on out, I had said something along the lines of «let me tell you about fucking loss: I’ve lost a father, a boyfriend, nearly all of my friends in this city and am weeks away from losing my authorization to work in this country, as my OPT comes to an end. With no other job in sight, I am bracing myself for the loss of the life I have built here and my hope to stay». Thus setting Part 1 to be about my dad, Part 2 about my ex and Part 3 about New York.

All that stands. I still wish to export all that bullshit out of my brain. Heaven knows, now that my EDA did in fact expire, I have nothing but time. However, I realized it implied I was, more or less, equally devastated by all three. I was not. What I had wrote for Part 1 made me feel good… and that’s how I know it wasn’t honest. I minced my words. I tried to look good. I didn’t lie in what I wrote, but I was purposely focusing on the positive feelings I was left with, instead of the full truth:

I promised ugliness and here it is: I wasn’t moved by my father’s passing.

No, I promised ugliness and here it is: I don’t care my father died. He was «an unsettling reminder of a life not lived», of the wellspring and offspring we did not turn out to be. I suddenly found myself performing grief while dealing with his loss. Putting on the mourning show for all the sympathetic people around me who were only sympathetic as long as I complied, as long as I bothered to clothe my relief with acceptance. But make no mistake, a loss is a loss is a loss, too. And this one was felt. In fact, it had always been felt. It started ages ago, on the night of my first earthquake.

I don’t really remember how old I was, my memory paints two very young kids watching TV while their mother is at work and their father is, as usual, locked in his bedroom also watching TV. I must’ve been no older than six because I didn’t truly know what an earthquake was until it introduced itself to me as it happened. My sister and I banged frantically on the door while the earth banged beneath us in similar fashion. All three of us stopped around the same time. My father came out to scold us but not immediately. Him and I have been dying ever since.

So you see, his actual death is the end of an ongoing loss to which I had become accustomed. The negative space of loss, as it turns out, is also loss. I don’t know how else to explain it, to you or myself. However, being Father’s Day and all, I believe it’s important to set the record straight: I absolutely do not hate my dad. That’s too strong an emotion, I didn’t know him well enough for that. My feelings are lukewarm at best, as they would be for a silent benefactor. Occasionally dampened by the fact he wasn’t always silent.

He was who he was and that is fine. I am an adult, I understand. I am not angry at him. I am not bitter nor resentful. I am at peace with us. But I will not make excuses for him to convince people that I am okay. I won’t remember him fondly in every conversation to appease my family. Death does not a saint make.

When somebody dies, people often expect you to immediately wipe their slate clean, no matter what, as if forgiving and forgetting were the same thing. As if acknowledging the unsavory parts equaled holding a grudge. Sugar-coating his memory seems a lot more offensive (and pointless), if you ask me. I don’t need that to remember him warmly in the few occasions that I do. I can celebrate the good without erasing the bad. That’s our whole story. It’s all in me. That’s what being human is. Denying it serves no one and it brings me no closer to peace.

Where absolution was needed, it was granted. I long forgave him for not trying and myself for walking away. I forgave us for this nothingness we had, if only because it stopped making sense to hold on to it. I believe he was ill-equipped to be my father, perhaps a father, and that I can understand. If nothing else, that deserves some compassion. Whatever anger I had went with him the last day we saw each other and, when he finally passed, I was relieved for both of us. Relieved he wasn’t suffering anymore, but mostly relieved I wouldn’t suffer our nothingness anymore.

Like any love story, some pairings are just not meant to be. They are what they are, last what they last and have the impact that they have. I was always meant to survive his absence. And I did. I wouldn’t have been able to earnestly hold his hand at the end otherwise. I believe it was important for both of us to let the other know we had owned up to our history and let go. No struggle or resistance, just acceptance and release.

And there it is, I admit it, I’ve let go. Entirely. I don’t think about it. I don’t feel any particular way about it. I wasn’t sad on the day nor am I today. I actually didn’t remember the one year anniversary had happened until half a week had rolled by. And even then I said nothing. I briefly considered texting my mom, but it felt contrived. I dismissed the idea immediately and spent the rest of my morning roll around the bed wondering why I felt guilted still into fabricating grief. I’ve let bygones be bygones and accepted us for who we were… and for that I am somehow seen broken or monstrous.


There goes the bride

It let itself be known
a maddening wind
punching my ears shut.

to the chest I surrender
a lost embrace blinds cold.

Important things have been lost to the winter
and you, a hue of blue
Nature cannot paint twice.

Last words

Morning unzips the dark

giggles down the street.

If he’s okay wakes me up first thing.

Finds me nestled still in the curlicue of a long night’s neck.

Leave me alone stretches my palms

open. I grieve

for all that exceeds my grasp.

I don’t want to see you sits within the periphery.

Only stepping into focus to jag from time to time.

Twilight slashes the sky again

nightfall spurts out.

Somebody maybe will go to work.


Rattle, rattle

Used to say we have not been taught to be older, just to be young.
But what I meant was we have been lied to about what getting older actually is.
It is nothing.
You don’t get to a point where you suddenly have your shit together.
Mostly because shit only knows to fall apart.
There is a wisdom that comes with age, but you will still feel very much inadequate, ill-equipped and/or odd at times.
In many ways, perhaps the worst ways, I still feel so young.
Not «oh, there’s still time» young. Thirteen young.
Perhaps because I don’t have the next generation breathing down my neck.
People are only expected/forced to «act their age» when they become parents.
Since I am yet to become anyone’s anything, I continue to be just me.
The same me I’ve always been. Perhaps since I was thirteen.
Nearly twenty years laters one could argue I’m on overtime, but I’m merely living.
And if you were afforded such a luxury, dear breeder, you’d be on the same boat.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.
My grandpa died less than a year ago. My dad died this past Saturday.
I have no children. I’ll have no children.
Feeling kind of out of context.
The last male, disconnected from lineage.
Also, I’ve missed both funerals so it’s kind of like cheating death a little bit.
But then again I am the end of the family line, so I am death in a way.
I’ve all these silly little thoughts in my head.
Like loose change, rattling inside my skull.
It’s kind of a drag.
It’s kind of familiar.
It’s thirteen going on thirty-three.


He took a look around my room


was declared to be very me.


Stumbled upon my cologne and quickly corrected

himself “No.

this is very you”.


The way he said it, I was already a memory

a fondness

standing right in front of him.                    Was I?


Deemed an inanimate object made me

small and lifeless

and round.


He put it down without even smelling it, as if he didn’t know

W                    H                     Y

he bothered picking it up in the first place.


I now live in his memory alone.                   Am I even flesh?

Some remote mausoleum in the corner of his mind

mere feet away from                       .


Notas que uno encuentra

Back when I didn’t write in English
I wrote in Spanish.
Back when I didn’t write in Spanish
I didn’t write.
Back when I didn’t write
I drew.
Back when I drew
I copied.
But all my copies
were mine.

“Nothing gets more in the way of saying something
than my need to say it”.
These things must not
have names at all.



Un día fui al río con mi Moleskine y esto fue lo que salió. Send help, I guess?

Used to think, as a child, «I must’ve been a bird in a previous life». Nothing made me rest as easy as wind flapping around me. I’d roll down the windows of all moving cars and stick my head out devilmaycarelessly unless instructed otherwise – and then I’d still sneak at least my whole face out. I don’t love rollercoasters quite as much, though, so I must not have been a bird of prey.

It was escapism I enjoyed, I’m sure. Being hastily taken away from wherever I was and fully wrapped in a gauzy airy cocoon. Wonderfully removed.  However, I find my soul seems to return time and time again to wherever there is water. As I write this I’m perched atop a rock, much like the seagulls staring off into the distance upon old docking remains on Brooklyn’s side of the East River, and so I wonder if perhaps that is precisely what I was: a seagull.

I don’t enjoy the ocean – or the river or any large body of water for that matter – as much as I enjoy air. Must be the consistency of it. That soft, fabric-like quality of being fully draped in fast moving wind is way more soothing – at least to me – than the pulsating embrace of water. Maybe it’s my reasons for liking air. Like I said, it’s escapism, it’s about jetting right off the face of the Earth, disappearing into thin or not-so-thin air. Whereas being immersed in water is a very present experience. You’re aware of every inch of your body because surrounding water exerts pressure on it.

The seagulls are mostly gone now. A few are still scattered further from the shore, as if wishing to make their way over to Manhattan undetected. I see you, seagulls. Your bright white coats will hardly go unnoticed, I’m afraid. Could I then have been one of you when I so often go unseen? And how would that have worked for me, being part of a flock, when I am rarely ever the gregarious creature? Prone to loneliness as I am, how does that work. I see some of you drifting apart but never truly away from the rest. There’s a sense of cohesion of all parts even as they scatter over a larger space over time. Me, I’m alone right now. As alone as can be even though there’s an entire African American family making their way across the rocks in front of me. The daughter is beautiful, though maybe much too young for me to make such remarks. Or maybe not. I’m a gay bird, either way.

The water does give me something, though. Or rather it takes something away. My restlessness licked clean off by the mere presence of rolling, living water. It’s unlike anything I know. I’d go mental without it, I know. How does anybody live in-land, locked away in the dirt? I’d die. So I wonder if perhaps my breathing has deceived me. Perhaps I was an underwater creature and I simply cannot remember what it was like to breathe a different way. Even when I think of water now, I hold my breath. How could I ever imagine a life without air.

I take a deep, deep breath now. Inhale all I can take, as if all this underwater talk has triggered some sort of impending-oxygen-deprivation anxiety. I make no sense, I know. I’m just kind of alone right now and most of the seagulls have flown away where I can’t follow. I sit here daydreaming about taking off, taking flight but that’s just it, I’m still here. I know very well I can’t fly.
But I know I sure as hell can sink.


Joy in the doing

Joy is alive
it rolls, it laughs
joy grows
it springs expands
where there is room to be had
to breathe
to sow.
There’s none here.
There’s none.
Where is the joy
the joy in doing.
What is this hell
of my own making.



On this the holiest of days, The Holy Spearit is SPEAKING to me

Breathe you out
Breathe you in
You keep coming back to tell me you’re the one who could have been
And my eyes see it all so clear
It was long ago and far away but it never disappears
I try to put it in the past
Hold on to myself and don’t look back…


I don’t wanna dream about all the things that never were
Maybe I can live without
When I’m out from under
I don’t wanna feel the pain
What good would it do me now
I’ll get it all figured out
When I’m out from under

So let me go
Just let me fly away
Let me feel the space between us growing deeper and much darker every day
Watch me now and I’ll be someone new
My heart will be unbroken
It will open up for everyone but you
Even when I cross the line it’s like a lie I’ve told a thousand times


I don’t wanna dream about all the things that never were
Maybe I can live without
When I’m out from under
I don’t wanna feel the pain
What good would it do me now
I’ll get it all figured out
When I’m out from under

And part of me still believes when you say you’re gonna stick around
And part of me still believes we can find a way to work it out
But I know that we tried everything we could try so let’s just say goodbye


I don’t wanna dream about all the things that never were
Maybe I can live without
When I’m out from under
I don’t wanna feel the pain
What good would it do me now
I’ll get it all figured out
When I’m out from under

I don’t wanna dream about all the things that never were
Maybe I can live without
When I’m out from under
And I don’t wanna feel the pain
What good would it do me now
I’ll get it all figured out
When I’m out from under
From under
From under
From under
From under