He is the end of every unfinished sentence. That thought that lingers after read and lost Chicano poems. A book that holds you tighter than birth. Like almost but not quite, could have and should have. The fuss and frustration of cum. He is a thousand words wrapped in newspapers cus he can’t afford wrapping paper or cus he hates capitalism, consumerism and looks for every ism in the dictionary to make sure he doesn’t let any of those cucarachas escape. Like being back in the basement he grew up in. The thrill and dread of turning on kitchen lights at night. Black dots scurrying behind plates and under the toaster. The hunt, and satisfaction of destroying them, stomping them out, crushing their bodies under napkins like smashing stereotypes. The disgust. With himself and the world. The crunch of death and power. The oozing out of life under his fingers. Dirt and something sweet. Rough bitten dark under nails from digging.
The world is cold basements to him. He can only walk through basements, through life, he is always underground. He thinks this is why he is so pail. This is why he is shy and palms sweat when he doesn’t know you. He shivers in his sleep even in summer, always needs blankets.
No matter how much Ma complained to upstairs heat only came in short bursts and faint gusts, sucked out by thin windows wrapped in plastic, draped with old blankets that might have worked in Mexico but made no sense in Chicago basements. He’d come out of lukewarm showers dreaming of cement to seal off this dungeon, to trap in breaths. Thin body shaking, drops of water vibrating off light brown skin or maybe dark peach or orange. He gave up assigning colors to his blood like culture a long time ago. But he still wishes he was darker, so people wouldn’t be confused. And the sprouts of hair that scared him once. What white, Arab, brown, Spanish, Mestizo blood did those come from? Each hair a different peoples, growing thick until he could be proud of them all, strut them like feathers, curling dark brown proud. He thought he was supposed to shave them all off. Especially the ones that started growing everywhere but his face. The fear of becoming a man, a dog like cayotes. Something wild in his hands at night fumbling through sheets and sex and selves.
He hasn’t changed. He could be 19 or 35 today and he hasn’t changed. His body will always scare him like a thousand centipedes crawling on his neck. The never ending growing pricks of legs and antennae reaching out from under his chin, feeling the air around his neck, tasting the noise of his breath. A million pencil marks, quotes and comma’s he’s drawn on his face to make him a man, to secure his masculinity like his deep voice and uni-brow makes him Frida. If he could only be as potently Macha as she is painted, free of sex sometimes. He sees himself. Eyes can be without gender, can pull you into them and love you without questions, without uncertainty. Eyes like lips are what float around him everyday floats around him and speaks soft I love you’s. Lingering romances regardless of sense, sex or similitude. He dreams of moist breaths lust and longing, pull and push but never quite touch in his fantasy, in his reality too. He only likes the about to, the maybe, the holy shit is this happening. Not the afters. Not the happening. Just everything before. Like writing. But there’s no difference when you are what he does.
He writes. Like making love to himself has been the only way he could keep warm some nights and the rest of his life. He needs sex or bodies like blankets to write on. Even if just to kick them off in the middle of the night, jab his elbow in your side cus he doesn’t know how to be warm, only knows how to shiver like scribbling on the walls. When subconscious awakens and tells him he can finally be warm, tucked away deep in himself, his thoughts and dreams are the same, like persons he has come to know friends and lovers locked beneath his eyes. They are cold little people who complain to upstairs about the heat, but they love him. And keep the words coming. And keep him erect through every night, waking up to the longing of unfinished business. He is always cold and stiff.
He lives his life underground. Always watching seeds sprouting. The roots digging deeper. He swears he’d love to watch the flowers from above, watch them fertilize and fornicate. He is a gardener with no hands. But tactile and touches with eyelash and lips. He knows everything about reproduction, how to love, and the heart like giant acorns, hands like leaves, crunching withering mulch around him. He knows about dying. He knows the way the world looks through his mole eyes. The dark blinding way he writes at night, keys like feelers to touch the world, to see above and outside of himself. Hope like crushing insects with his bare fingers, the smear of souls, red and gold insides. A salamander on his shoulder, tells him with green eyes to someday venture out into the world. Out of himself. Out of his words. And to stop talking to worms.
The worms tell him he should dig to Mexico, spend the rest of life digging through all the pasts, back to where he came from. But he is too many sharp edges and bones. He is not the slender slimmy end of a penis. He cannot start himself over. He cannot un-orgasm back into his father. To see father’s flesh from inside. To finally remember father’s like name and feeling. What it means to be male. To follow eons of evolution and instinct. To be a real man. To be his father. To fertilize. To take himself back like words. To apologize for everything wrong in his blood like the first steps Cortez took into him. The fist penetrations of culture. The loss of pigment like tongues and temples. The first maggots that bit into conquistador eyes. The dead buried under churches. The splitting skulls of sacrilege and sanctity. Salvation and the sour breathe of the ancients. Before. Before. He is always digging deeper than the beginning.
There’s no end. There’s no beginning from the top to infinity. Only dirt. Only dark cold dirt. And he is warm in his basements. In the sense of dying. This warm release. Like the last word and period at the end of his book’s beginning and end without a middle. A worm that grows into two separate selves is his story, is his sentence with legs and heads and ends but no middles, no happenings, just before and maybe he’ll allow just one after. His ends. He hopes like crushing cucarachas will be happily dying so. Beyond the cold. Beyond the words. And so. This is how you write and this is how to breath and this is how he shivers in his sleep. How you will never read his work. His own words will never know his name.