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spacer.gif   Brenda Cardenas
Posted by : cj on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:13 AM
Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name .
Through Arms and Hands


Young hands manipulate
brushes like marionettes
in a whirl. They bend
the retina's mirror
into the world beat
of a street mural:

Revolution lifts a sister's fist,
a brother's clanking wrists
beneath a red moon--
cracked disk spinning into shadow,
the static of her profile
ripping a predictable skip
through the fleshy folds of sky.

A daughter squints
light beneath floorboards
where she hides nights
peaking at the treaded soles
who would sink
tracks above the bridge
of her brow, crush the bones
beneath her eyes, fine
as the fiberglass in a fish back.

A father turns back
to the hills, dragging his limp leg
through the dust like a satchel
of citrus plucked
from the land that sprouts
barbed trees between its wire knees,
and shakes pellets from its shoes.

Revolution's got the soul for blues,
a jazz jones, raggae rhythm,
syllabic hip hop, bebop,
a mambo,samba, bomba y rhumba,
cumbia con clave de salsa,
scat a phat rap back, tap tickety-tack,
wail back a throaty Delta Blues
that rode a rail to the relief
mosaic of Chicago skyline,
guitar strings picking the glint
of bottle caps and green glass,
shards of brass blowing
up fire escapes
down tenement reverberation
rippling off the rim of the hoop,
your life chalked into tar,
summer steam bubbling up . . .
Rebellion tags in cryptic glyph,
riffs, but never bites
another's arc of mist.


Revolution is no man's flag.


A screech unfurls
from raven's open beak
pointed like rage
into the split sky.

The raven haired women sew
bullets into blouses,
grind smoke into stone,
sing the comal's hiss
as they roll us out on the metate
like a sheet of masa.

Prayer curls around the red nest
in our chests
like a rattler warming eggs,
then stretches, unspined,
a camouflaged line slashing
into the green-gold blades

Revolution is a blade
cleaned by the tongue of God

(Published in Flor Y Canto: A Feast of the Arts 2000, featuring six poetz and the linoleum prints of Jeff Abbey Maldonado)

Sonnet for Thunder Lovers and Primary Colors

(When Sweet Nothing Just Don't Cut It)

You're more than soda fizz, than sparklers lit
for kids at play, than fireflies' flit in sky.
You spin around my heart and up my thigh
with the whistle and boom of a botle rocket.
Baby, those other jugglers' gigolo tricks--
magician's spell and mime's unspoken sigh--
don't turn my head, don't catch my ear or eye,
but your mercy rolls in my hip pocket.

Some women lke the subtle hints, require
a pastel touch, a whispered cry and blush,
but not me: I am all hyperbole.
Your howls of red, your strokes of green sapphire,
your cayenne kiss, serrano pepper rush
from lip to nape of knee will do for me.

(Published in RATTLE: Poetry for the 21st Century, Vol 5, No. 2, Issue 12, Winter, 1999)

Our Language

When I sigh
I am breathing you
back out of me.
Like smoke you pause,
then fleet, melt into air.
You are often this intangible,
the silent e of love
or hache of habito.
Hablame, you say,
yet my next breath
draws you in with the hiss
of air sliding past teeth
because I do not know
where I want you
or what you are veling
in the semantics of loss.

The hush of your hands
reaches me from every shadow
in this room. You kiss
the slats of skin open
to the window blind.
You kiss them warm l's
of light and depart.

In the caesura between hours and days,
weeks, I stroke watercolors.
The blue sinks deep
as the resonant pitch
of your vocal chords,
an anaphora of waves
lapping to the shore
untiol the paper is satiated
I am not.

We work in English,
make love in Spanish
and code-switch past our indecisions.
But in your absence,
days filled with glottal stops,
I think in sinalefas
and trace you in the ring left
by my morning coffee cup.
If only I could touch
the amber circles of your eyes,
kiss your liquid pupils
when they dilate, enticed.
Then I'd be inside of you
as you so easily
fall into me.

I'd feel the constriction
of an x we cannot name,
the multi-lingual moan of o's,
tense Spanish vowels
awaiting release.
Then the loose
twirling of an erre
down our spines,
down the soft sides of our arms,
las lîquidas vibrantes
of our blood.
This is how I want you--
at once within
and without
like a breath,
a sigh,
a language.

(Published in Under the Pomegranate Tree: The Best New Latino Erotica, Ed. Ray Gonzċlez, Washington Square Press, 1996.)

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