The Lounge is proud to present the poetic stylings of Isa Guzman, a Brooklyn-based poet of tremendous power.
Brittle bones, my home
Walls infested with mosquitoes
Electricity suffering El Dengue
Zika the fact of sombra
I’m in the middle of it
The collapse-around-me middle
Brutal moon, my eyes
cry the larva, blood infested
Mountains will become cities
for the clouds, become the clouds
There aren’t sirens there,
just announcements for the dead
in the middle of it
in the middle of it
Thunderclouds, my soul
in search of strikes, drags me
down into myself, chest be shelter
Legs shaking like the rain
It keeps going, knowing it will
end, and that’s okay, it ends
and I’m in the middle of it
In the middle of all this
Distant hill, old woman
cataract blind, dying mighty
like a cloud, drags me into her,
into the love of her: mi Titi
Love: a swollen bite that scars
after the infection is gone
And I am there.
The ghost-child falls through the ceiling
onto a bed that is somehow empty of mothers.
He goes to the bureau and touches the mirror.
Cracks appear and roaches come flying out.
They hit me like little red missiles attached
to thin paper airplanes. They hit me all night.
I settle on a bed of dust that dissolves into
a beach of metallic waves. They leave the taste
of rust in my mouth. Then the anoles slither
and dig up the throat. Disgorge. Hurtle out.
Each lizard leaps from the tongue until I wake up.
The morning rushes in like a man on the fire escape.
There is no escape. The sun bring in more dust.
I swell and sneeze. I boil under my flesh.
The ghost-child knew and I hated him for it.
I end up in a hospital where language
is a line on the heart monitor. I don’t speak.
Somehow, the needles say everything for me.
My father stands over, tells me some stories.
The ghost-child is there: a boy, my age, who was
run over by a car while playing stickball. Or was it
the friend who, on his birthday, jumped above
elevators, missed, and stuck between moments?
My father told me the stories as he saw them.
He was a roof jumper, once, until the moment
he lost a step and almost ended my life. He laughs.
The ghost-child was there. The ghost-child is here.
He sits by the window, then slips out with the wind.
Holes surface on the skin of night.
Stars burn within them inviting
dream, perfuming panapen, collapsing
consciousness into seeds planted
into each chest, reflecting morning
tears; or maybe tearing the fabric
of flesh, piel picados de la mosquito;
Or maybe burning out the last bulb
hanging from the ceiling of my room;
or maybe surfacing within dream
It isn’t often I get the chance to look
at stars. I think of the Night, my love,
and wonder if she’s inviting or rejecting.