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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Jessica Helen Lopez
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 02:14 PM
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American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** Jessica Helen Lopez **


Thoughts From the Kitchen Sink

Some arbitrary musings and perpendicular thoughts.
Onward the onslaught,
The never-ending squabble
of the same old plot.
Marching, they come,
an army of black ants,
to scurry and pick at
and pick at
and pick at.

Like the poem undone, the bed unmade,
my daughter's braid,
that will surely unravel.
Here, my hands in soapy dishes,
food clogging drain,
a baby howl, tattered towels,
I trail again.
These lingering thoughts from the kitchen sink,
I think.
I think.

Of the sad song passed along,
this legacy from my father.
The black-blue gene pool
of depression and anger.
Wound within the helix,
my genetics, the fat lip,
bruised face my mom wore to college,
everyday and every mile,
the city transit took her there.

Crack pipes sizzled, mental error whizzed.
There it banged off every wall.
I remember, I never played with dolls.
Never played house, didn't sing tender songs
or comb the hair of a baby doll.
There's a bed unmade, dirty clothes to clean,
and of course my daughter's braid,
that will surely unravel.

Like a charcoal thumbprint on a picturesque day,
a smug, smudge on my balanced plate.
A left-over smile fades away.
suicide not for fame,
but the loneliest,
loneliest,
because it is,
just that what it is
to fade away.

Sensitive but sensible,
I study my art,
fold linen, let the dog in.
Shed and shake it off,
pull the plug from the kitchen sink,
watch the gray water drain.
No time to think.
No time to think.

Besides, depression gets me down.
It's only art.
I ought not.
I dare not.
Some arbitrary musings and perpendicular thoughts.



Sunday Shopping

Blood in the lettuce,
Caked in the veiny leaves
of romaine,
the heart of crispy iceberg,
and bags of cellophane
contained ready-made mix.

Juicy grapes like
the pulpy matter of
guts infected with
black, gelatinous cancer.
Purple, green, deep-
dark maroon.
Eyes like seeds watching
from the vine.

Strawberries like
callused thumbs,
bumpy backs, big
fat hernias in
brilliant blood-red,
scarlet.
Caged in green nets,
Baskets like too tight skin.
Ten family members to a tent.

The watermelons weigh heavy on scales,
like old men, creaking
bones moaning,
squeaking ball joint with no tendon,
rubbed raw by repetitiveness.

Watch the
lemons, oranges
and all things citrus.
Their skin can slide
right off.
White pesticide,
patches of goo and pus in pore.
Thick residue.
Sticky sweet like the smell of death.

From the field
to the store.
the fat lady shops,
a tangerine print muumuu.
The shopping cart,
squeaky wheel, hobbles through aisles,
pushed by
little old ladies
who groan and bitch.
No haggling like back in their day.
Everything has a price.

They all pick, prod, poke
at plastic food, clip
coupons, hum canned
songs that appear
through the sterile air
of the supermarket.
The one built overnight.
Lights, too bright,
a fake fluorescent world.

So far,
Too far,
from the earthly field,
and the brown people,
who lift, load, heave
thieved our best jobs,
reaping our American benefits.


Jessica Lopez lives in Albuquerque, NM, where she is a full-time student at TVI Community College. She will be attending the University of New Mexico in the Spring to pursue an MFA in creative writing. She is also a single mom and a waitress. "I have always been a reader," Lopez says, "but it wasn't until recently that I admitted to myself that I am also a writer."


Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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