Oct. 18th, 2016

  • 4:54 PM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
"Twenty things you learn when 20miligrams is what it takes."

One: no one will ever consider your condition severe until
“severe enough,” looks like: chemo-shock-group-experimental therapy; until the words friendship and patience
begin to rhyme with infringe upon and tolerance.
you will, to your family–and at best–become the stress
that sometimes tears apart marriages, or makes every
holiday less a time of celebration and more
everyone, in every room you’re in, now scared
they’ll become the unwilling participants
of a train wreck.

my cousin did not consider ADD an actual disease until
i screamed myself hoarse (metaphorically) explaining how:
i no longer read books for pleasure because the stories in my head are half highlight-reel, half-static;
that i no longer play videogames
or date women
with too much lag between: my turning on the system,
and putting in the time to get my money’s worth
–action, to me, is no longer how every movie starts,
but more a necessity to keep my interest going;
so, two: you will learn to love those who understand you,
and fear the ones who look with pity in their eyes,
well-meaning and sympathetic,
but also assured
that all it takes to overcome what ails you
is will-power and a positive outlook on life

except, three: homosexuality was not removed
from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental illnesses
until 1974, and
four: both the queer and mentally ill communities have the highest rate of homelessness and depression of any “minority group,” world-wide, so five:
you learn to hate every pedantic vegan-chuffing yoga-nut
pseudo-spiritualist telling you that alternative methods to medication work for everyone, always, and all one needs is to
realign chakras and drink more tea, go out an exercise
and think “Yes! I! Can!”
to quell things inside of you that are less infectious bacteria
and more a virus specifically curtailed to ruin your life;
because, six: over half the children forced into experimental programs like conversion therapy
commit suicide
rather than let someone else try to
“fix them.”

because, seven: even doctors treat the mentally ill as if they’re lying,
and, like every good realtor:
they can take one look at a shitty house and make you think
the word “fixer,” should always follow “upper,” in your prescription.
everyone in the industry is trying to sell you something–
i take a cocktail of meds and vitamins every morning in an effort to
function like a “normal human being”
– whatever the fuck that means–and, still"
there are days where i talk to my psychiatrist and i can tell he only wants me in his office for my money, and half-an-hour of doodling;
that friends hang on and ingratiate themselves because
Adderal and Ritalin are at 2$ a pill in Mayaguez, but 15$ in Ponce;
so, eight: you will learn to despise engineers, and chemists
and, nine: you will learn to despise lawyers, and med students
and, ten: at some point, you will swallow your every pride and moral
because making 100$ or more a bottle
when you only pay 6$
is too good an offer to pass up,
and student loans don’t pay themselves.

the saying goes “fake it till you make it,”
but, eleven: actors like Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hanks, Cillian Murphy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, Jared Leto, Matthew McCConaughey, Daniel-Day Lewis, Russel Crowe, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Robert Dinero, Winona Rider, Anthony Hopkins, Heath Ledger, Kathy Bates, Edward Norton, and Jack Nicholson, et al
have been rewarded for their portrayals of mental illness in cinema for decades,
and still top such charming lists as “Best Actors to Play a Retard,”
on the first page of any google search;
because, twelve: the world does not want mental illness as a reality,
they want the comedy, the dramaedy, they want less vaccinations for children,
because apparently the threat of autism is more damaging to society
than preventing the rise of infant mortality rates world-wide;
which brings me to twelve: the virtual space film offers,
and how it turns real-world crisis and disability into entertainment,
is not for you
–is, in fact, thirteen: a fucking baldfaced lie, because
thirteen: none of us can fake this shit and win awards,
when not being “normal,” in Hollywood
automatically disqualifies us for the running.

the world, fourteen, will want you to stay quiet,
and out of sight, and out of mind;
because even though most medications will destroy your liver,
and most prescription drugs are riddled with side-effects,
they think it better you evened out and compliant
than anything approaching an embarrassment.
the mentally ill have no communities because every village
abhors that which brings disease.

fifteen: aunts and uncles taught me that suffering goes both ways
when Alzheimer’s turned my grandmother from a redwood strong enough to carry three generations of children, (their children,
and children’s children) into failing lungs, loss of self, and shit-caked fingernails,
so much of her brown like the soil of every garden she’d spent decades cultivating within us.
my father and i watched for ten years as the strongest woman either of us knew wasted away to nothing (a vegetable, the doctor said once when he thought I couldn’t hear, and never before have i wanted to kill a man without remorse)
but, sixteen: you will learn families handle the phrase “terminal,” in different ways, and
seventeen: it is easy to hate, and scream, and wish worse on others than to understand what it must have been like
to watch your mother go from Mary Magdalene to
a corpse wearing an EKG machine like a halo.

every father, i think,
prays that their children will not be born “a certain way,”
and that their legacy, whatever it may be,
will surpass every foundation set to support them;
but, eighteen: there are entire generations of gay,
and bisexual men missing from history,
their stories devoured by the Reagans and their hatred for
anything that did not fit their conquest of America;
In another poem,
I talk about how my time in military school taught me
nineteen: that when were are forced to pretend,
or hide what we are:
less student came back every semester,
and no one ever said their names again;
as if none of knew what auto-erotic-asphyxiation,
or scars cutting horizontal down the middle of your wrists
could ever imply.

you are allowed to be angry.
you are allowed to want more than pity and
“I’ll be here for you, whatever happens,”
until they’re not, or won’t be, or cannot;
you are not supposed to fit in this world,
nor settle for being pushed aside and forgotten;
there are forms of art where chaos
and broken shards of every kind
meld together to create something beautiful,

this world is not for you, nor made to accommodate you;
but goddammit, that does not mean you are defined by
every awkward angle and too-sharp, or too-sudden
pieces of you that others cannot navigate.
you are not broken, or incomplete, or just reduced to the sum total of every prescription you’ve ever had;
you are not your pills, nor whatever it takes to swallow them;
in fact, hold up;

you are the ocean,
are the ever constant ebb and tide,
the push and pull of titanic forces,
each beyond our mortal control;
and, yet:
most good things in this world,
i promise you:
simply want to extend their hand,
and feel from where you are coming from.

Oct. 18th, 2016

  • 2:35 PM
pridefall: (Only Data Streams | Tron)
Let me swallow your spiders
And cough up our butterflies
Love is simply a metamorphosis
Of two parts: you and I.

Oct. 16th, 2016

  • 11:32 PM
pridefall: (Here I lay my Burdens Down | Art)
The secret to beating
Dragons or insomnia
Is often remembering
The princess waiting
On the other side

Oct. 14th, 2016

  • 3:34 PM
pridefall: (ye shall be made to know me | Lezard)
She talks about rules as if
bargaining has any place
in our love; as if we are not:
a hurricane and a forest fire
each of us so named after
the devastation left behind
in our wake

Oct. 8th, 2016

  • 2:14 PM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
Even rough and tumble
Sweat slicked ew don't touch me
Morning breath don't kiss me
I can't breathe this is too much
Too close, too hot; I hate holding hands;
Mayaguez in July, Ponce everywhere else
at the eye of a hurricane
Arm half asleep tossing and turning
Head at best a mess, a mess, a mess
--You are still the best sleep I have had in months.

Oct. 6th, 2016

  • 7:11 PM
pridefall: (Only Data Streams | Tron)
when i was five years old,
my sister pulled a prank on me
that went a such:
"you need to try this, Ian
it's a new thing of coke
and thought i shouldn't give it to you
i don't think a little bit will be enough
to get anyone in trouble,"
but it wasn't coke, not even close
it was bottom of the pot, black charred
barrel sludge--the kind of coffee filtered by:
sewer grates and knives,
drunk by old, hard men with calloused hands
and tired, vacant eyes;
a swift kick in the teeth, in other words
and from then on, i've always hated the taste
of early morning anything
like breakfast and the smell of coffee beans
somehow always translates to:
betrayal far too young, too fast,
and all too strange for me to understand
everyone looks at me weird when i say i don't like coffee
and i've written poems about it before--
explained how the skin i rock is so stained by:
cocoa butter metaphors and almond chocolate similes, and
how my never quite finding caramel or mahogany adequate ways
to describe myself tastes the same way coffee and
hating your own culture for twenty years burns--
maybe i'm a bit bitter, i guess?
but breakfast has never been my thing, growing up
and i've stopped trying to defend it, grown up;
it's just who i am:
mornings mean less to me than everyone else,
i think
because i never had breakfast as a kid,

(and this is where the poem just dies)


Sep. 29th, 2016

  • 8:02 PM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
things we forget:

Bobby pins. Bedtimes. Sunrise.
Pennies. Directions. Direction.
Stop signs. Text messages.
Phone calls. What it takes to keep in touch.

How to breathe when we kiss.

The smell of grandma's pancakes.
The way your brother folded paper planes.
How your sister pinched harder than a crab.
Addresses. Phone numbers. Skype Dates.
Calling home Sundays, every Sunday,
and telling dad you missed him.


What your first best friend looked like.
(Before the cancer)
Your mother asleep in a hospital bed.
(After the suicide attempt)

That coqui don't exist everywhere and people hate them.
Goosebumps. 1st Degree Burns. Your first miss. Near-miss.
Your complete failure at not bumping noses when we kiss.
How hard it is to say goodbye to dogs, or cats, or fish
even though you've lived with them all your life.
Scars. LEGO pieces. Medication. Car keys. Brushing your teeth.
Letting go of what doesn't matter. What does. What happens, after.

Every color the sun can paint inside brown and black eyes.

The poem you woke up wanting to dedicate to someone only to lose it in a dream. Inspiration. The Quadratic Formula. Shoes.
Where she used to leave your wallet. Your bed. Her earrings.

Loose change.

That tears can be happy. And not all silence is golden.
What songs my mother used to sing when she cooked.
The soft hum in her throat when she combed my hair.
Our father's absence. His working harder than a ghost
to keep us firmly rooted in his world. The size of his hands.


Breaking up with imaginary friends.

Where I buried my dog. Where we buried my grandfather. His grandfather. The younger brother I never met.
When to turn off our cellphones. When to stop texting and call.
How you fell out of love with them because they never returned your phone calls, never had time for you, always ran away and
all you wanted to do was make sure they were okay. Breathing.
For six years.

the sound of my grandmother's voice when she read to me.
(before she lost her teeth, before the feeding tube)
how my father cried the first and last time he beat me.
(how i would not see him cry again until the feeding tubes,
until after the first and last visit we took to see his mother before she passed. how i cried. the tiny shudder of collarbones.)
that strength comes from wounding, from taking chances,
and how none of our great questions were ever answered
hesitantly. that only failure may yield the unforgettable lessons.

That life goes on. Will always go on.
How everyone here has made it thus far.
through 100% of their bad days,
And all we need do is forgive ourselves.

Sep. 29th, 2016

  • 9:40 AM
pridefall: (Here I lay my Burdens Down | Art)
"Harsh Truths,"

Peter Pan kills Lost Boys
The Wolf devours Little Red
Ariel never falls in love, and
turns to sea-foam in the end.

We die by word of mouth.

Sep. 26th, 2016

  • 10:24 PM
pridefall: (Only Data Streams | Tron)
"si, ojos son ventanas,"

i have never been complimented in my life,
for the things that make me Puerto Rican
(whatever they might be) siempre es:
"Ay, que ojos claros tan lindos," or:
"Man, you speak English so well, Iansito,
I can't even tell you have an accent at all,"
like an ascent into gringo was something i chose,
and not a Catholic death-sentence; Iansito como para
no decirme Juan, como para no decir Francisco;
(half my family comes from slaves, and the other
conquistadors) so my identity has always been in the diminutive--
Ian SI tienes que aceptar que TODOS somo puertorriqueño,
and even tho your dad can't float (which is a racist joke, i know)
no part of our family tree has negroes on its branches;
but my grandmother proved in her thesis that the ROOTS of the word "ROLON,"
come from slaves and peasants, and present day
i am presently sick of my face being colonized by:
clear green eyes and a jawline Clark Kent would die for;
en este poema yo soy un YO escondido entre un como-se-dice,
entre un como se-llama sin ofenderla a nadie este
nigga on the inside but still born and raised light-skinneded, like
my moms forgot all the shit her ma put her through for not bein
white skinned; truth be told:
I was born with blue eyes and that Hector Lavoe complexion,
but like every good sobrino, i let Tia Dalma kiss me often,
love her too much, and too hard, to ever let it stick;
so ahora, como las pecas de mis hermanas:
you only see Africa in me when the sun's just right,
and though these green eyes change color at every time of day;
ya'll know i rep to death that real magic in Puerto Rico
only comes at night.

Sep. 20th, 2016

  • 6:15 PM
pridefall: (the fox with no hound | Gin)
 listen, they're lying when they say
there ain't no time like the present
because, truth is? 
Christmas came 'round every day
this year
right around the time i stopped
giving a fuck about

Sep. 5th, 2016

  • 11:08 PM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
the days we fell in love // the days we broke apart


Aug. 23rd, 2016

  • 12:20 AM
pridefall: (Here I lay my Burdens Down | Art)
all the poetry in a world won't ever:
make someone love you, or
erase what they did to you, or
change the world we live, or
make sad things good again, or
have you hurt less again, or
be whole again, see all of you:
shine bright again,
because people aren't stars
or dust, or universes
in the end:
we're all just bastards,
each of us hoping we don't
fuck with the wrong person.

- "it's 3am i'm tired of crying and poetry is useless to me,"

Aug. 21st, 2016

  • 3:34 AM
pridefall: (the fox with no hound | Gin)
- "i call it the downward climb,"

Aug. 19th, 2016

  • 10:08 PM
pridefall: (Here I lay my Burdens Down | Art)
i came to you a shattered wreck,
more skeleton than home;
my life not just a fixer-upper,
but a graveyard shift
me, vessel long lost abandoned;
and me: heart like an anchor,
moored too long, too sure
that no hands could carve out something proper-like
from wood so rotted to its core;
and though you did not fix me,
your kindness is a house on fire,
that saves everyone it touches differently;
i came to you filled with patchwork,
and shoddy craftsmanship;
but madrigal, you took these hands,
kissed their palms a benediction, and said:
“no one lost ever went wanting
for the promise of a roof over their head,”
like even broken i could still be enough;
that i was more than enough;
we could be more than enough;
more than just or just or just;
i am a house with too much of too little
and you are not a memory or transient;
to you i am not: too many broken windows,
too many unhinged doors, too few beds,
not enough to go around, just dust
just the remnants of a hurricane
howling lonely, terror, love-filled; lost
like toys left bereft of owners who have
grown too old, too soon; we so fast
to remember that yesterday is just tomorrow,
a today that came and went,
and present tense:
i am to you a place of rest,
and shelter from the storm;
when you draw near, I shake
down to the very timbers of my being:
your gentleness is a housefire, an anchor,
and i: skeletal remains still breathing smoke–
but, still: i am breathing;
but. still. i am breathing; love,
my soul yet still creaks with floodwaters,
and i know that i am yet filled with ghosts;
to me, in this: you are not a carpenter,
and i am not yet a house or home;
but, every day i live, I promise you
i will try to give them to you both.

- Mathew 7:24-27

May. 16th, 2016

  • 5:10 PM
pridefall: (the fox with no hound | Gin)
 no me hables,“
is such an interesting phrase to me
–and truth be told, 
to me Spanish holds far more nuance 
than gringo English ever could–
but, I digress;
I think "no me hables,” is so powerful;
used so infrequent, more a joke
than the phrase it translates,
because in the end:
“no me hables” could mean anything
literally anything between:
“don’t talk to me anymore,” and:
“to you, I do not exist.

“spanish dichotomies get stuck in your throat, sometimes."

May. 8th, 2016

  • 11:13 PM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
"dios te bendiga, porque yo no podria," a poem to my mother. (warnings for child abuse.)

my mother almost broke my elbow, once
and honestly i should've seen it coming.
never liked the way i ran my mouth so much,
and on a hunch i'll say i get that from my father
he the man she always called when single mother
became less a badge of honor and more
"Que dios te bendiga, hijo--poque yo no podria,"
so there: crash went the phone receiver, this
just fuck-off huge stereotype, holdover from a time
when calling someone meant a little bit more thought;
she aimed for my head and got my arm instead,
and no, there ain't no scar--but she hit it so hard
three elves came out my ass screaming:
snap, crackle, pop; me standing there like:
did she just really--
and i'm not going into details just for pity, folks
(nah, that's what therapy is for)
but i do want you to imagine this for me:
you're five years old, both parents divorced,
and though you're smart enough to know what that means:
no one tells you abuse can lack force.

growing up, all I wanted to be was a dinosaur hunter.
i played games like Turok and Dragon's Quest young,
and internalized heroism as facing down fire and teeth.
my mother taught me similar lessons, sometimes;
bequeathed to me a thousand-thousand sermons of:
"Desgraciado. Inituil. Imbecil. Moron. Te lo juro por Dios,
el mas sagrado, mas un rayo me parta, jodio cabron;"
every verse an inheritance, a repetition of a chorus
she herself had spent years singing; had internalized,
memorizing them so deep to the bone that:
the only way i ever came to know her mother,
my grandmother, whose name I can't even remember;
was not through stories about the woman, never how:
our hands were the same, how she married young,
how difficult it must have been for her, a racist
to raise three children when only one of them
was not stained African through to the soul; I weep--
not for never having known this woman, no;
but instead how her ghost haunted my mother,
Keeping her in both this world and the past,
and robbed me of knowing the both of them
as more than a legacy of scars.

so, why am I writing this? why bring up old wounds?
it's because my mother was not always a maelstrom;
not Kali by way of Hera, Ishtar, and Delilah,
wrath the fire of her hearth, the shape of her tongue;
there were times she went hungry in my place, times:
i had and she did not, would not; she chose:
a marriage to what she now calls unhappiness, a sacrifice
to give me a better life than she had, could have had;
ours the usual story:
a family one paycheck away from food-stamps,
no father, divorced, too little time together;
a son who honestly could have tried harder,
his mother turning: minimum wage, no college degree,
a herniated back, miscarriage, broken knee,
metal everywhere inside her; a second divorce;
missed alimony and child support:
taking all that and every month still,
somehow pulling off more goddamn miracles
than Jesus Christ himself;
show me where in the script where anyone could've done better,
and i'll still stand by her like a missed Oscar nomination;
my mother the first person to break my entire world,
but also snap her spine holding it up for me;
so, let me break this shit down for you,
so almost-broke bones don't dominate the conversation.

these days we might not talk as much, but
I still rep the Romero at the end of my name;
R to the O to the M to the E like
I know this city I am wasn't built in a day;
it took nine months, twenty-seven years to Machiavelli it,
and here I am now, bruised, scarred, but not bowed;
a proud inheritor of a firestorm legacy,
saying my mom might not have raised me best,
but she made damn sure I'll never forget how

May. 8th, 2016

  • 11:12 PM
pridefall: (Truest Words Ever Spoken | Anis Mojgani)
 Happy Day After Mother's Day, ya'll.
(we celebrate our survival today)
And to those of you who have lost,
or never known love of that kind:
come close, lay your hand on mine
and listen:
today, family is what you make of it.
and blood never worth more than life.
please do not spend time chasing ghosts.
there is nothing for you in that place,
and doubly-so if you've escaped it.
please, listen:
there is too much in this world, so much more
than scar tissue and flinching at raised hands,
broom handles, wooden spoons, chancletas;
let your house this day be no warzone,
and violence nothing more than bittersweet.
please. Remember this:
love does not begin at conception,
and raising up yourself
is anything but immaculate.
today, you are messy, and loud, and elbows;
unwashed dishes and unswept floors;
you are your mistakes, 
but not how they define you;
today, and ever hereafter
know that you are loved, and wanted, 
and if ever you should doubt this fact:
just know that i too have known your struggle,
and thus name today a national holiday,
to honor those so many good mothers
touched one day,
and forgot.
please, listen to me
and do not stop repeating:
you are loved, you are loved,
you are loved, you are loved,
you are loved, you are loved,
you are loved, you are loved,
you are loved.
- "5/8/2010," (or: the day i learned grendel is the hero of the story.)

Apr. 21st, 2016

  • 12:23 AM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
pecas might not rhyme with pecado
pero ay virgen, oh lordie lordie lord--
i am but a humble man of god.

Apr. 21st, 2016

  • 12:14 AM
pridefall: (ye shall be made to know me | Lezard)
 and i would bite down the moon for you
not silver soft sweet tickling vertebra
but the harsh off-white of a car-crash;
i would break bones like kindling, like floorboards
like every stick, stone, and cruelty
we said could never hurt us more than: 
to see the fire in your eyes never go out,
i will howl mad at the stars, i will
shove finger, tooth, and tongue
into the dark of your universe
just to pull out every star you refuse to see;
be an inferno with me, be a forest blaze;
i am a jackal driven mad of want for flesh,
of bleached bone left cooked in the sirocco,
and in your rib-cage i see a whirlwind, a hurricane
a human extinction event just about to 
wipe my existential crisis off the map.
-- at 3am i think of necks and holocausts.

Apr. 18th, 2016

  • 12:17 AM
pridefall: (Truest Words Ever Spoken | Anis Mojgani)
i talk to god and hope,
(most days)
she doesn’t answer me this:
cuz’ the time it takes for her to make these words
taste less like ash and more like
i’m past mistakes/like i can’t
complicate this life more than i already have, man;
me and her we ain’t spoke in so long,
and every day we don’t, it’s like
“extraños muy confiables,”
ain’t the refrain no more,
not just a stanza in the book
but the entire ‘verse;
and word is–or should I say:
“The Word” is god forgives anyone that asks;
she’s kind like that, mother-father-son-and-daughter;
a whole family waiting to love and cherish;
but like most twenty-something-year-olds
i can’t take that at face value, i can’t bank on it,
(my credit’s just that fucked, i guess)
'cuz every relationship i’ve had with authority’s been:
namely: screwed two ways from Sunday school,
so now i guess the question is:
if i put this call to voicemail,
after talking to no one but myself
does anyone here tonight think
she’ll call back to pick me up again?

i’ve called you all my life but only gotten dial-tone