latter-day saints

For Willie Perdomo, with sincerest apologies for missing tonight’s show. I just couldn’t deal…

Be sure to pick up his new book, Smoking Lovely, and catch him at Acentos next month, November 11th.

latter-day saints

for Willie Perdomo and Imani Springer

I. 1996

-I am you. You are me.
-I am you. You are me.

perspective flipped
god taps me on my right shoulder
whispers in my left ear

-I am you. You are me. We the same.

his words communion wine
his voice      a deep, husky red

-I am you. You are me. We the same.
 Can't you feel our veins
   drinking the same blood?

i swallow deeply
inhale the scent
of prophecy

II. 1997

   he says
if it wasn't for her
i would be standing on the corner
thinking about the world
drinking blackberry brandy
keeping a cold hustler company
with stories from back in the days

and i know exactly what he means

if it wasn't for her
i'm not sure where i'd be now
but back then
when dreams becamse nightmares
you'd find me in a bar called botanica
borrowed pen in one hand
cold pint of stout in the other
american spirit hanging from my lip
     unable to change my world
     determined to change everyone else's

i wrote it all down
alternately angry

despair is the muse of the blocked and
i was prolific

III. 1998

where's he from
a nickel costs a dime

langston told him that

where i'm from
trees are few and
far between

leaves, like dreams of escape
wither, die, fall, float
in curbside streams to the sewers below

no one told me this exactly

but i could hear it in his voice
when he tells me what his mother said,
"Bueno, mijo, eso es la vida del pobre"
(Well, son, that is the life of the poor.)

when we finally met
on the other side of
our own books of Job
he stepped down
from the pedestal i'd placed him on
shook my hand
     god becoming man
     to save my soul

IV. 1999

a twelve-year old poet
asks me
why I do not write anything funny

eyes aglow with innocence and hope
i do not have the heart
to tell her that i lost my sense of humor
years ago
but my poems
have told her exactly that

she smiles at my hesitance
and i want to tell her about
every single thing
that has ever stolen my faith
wish there a way
to put it all in one poem
shove it down people's throats
make them choke on it - gag for air
beg for second chances
     to do things right

but i don't

in her eyes
is the hope i'd lost
and she offers it to me
no strings attached
     just a simple question
     and a smile

V. 2000

of all the books
resting on my shelf
what i remember most are the voices
and the people they belong to

-I am you. You are me. We the same.

there is no poem
that can change
our worlds

only poets
who can change
our minds

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