Jacqueline M. Pérez

Easier said than done
Do not send a banjo wind or a mouth-harp breeze. We have those. We have them inside us up here on the worn mountain ridge. An ancient beast whispers ancient secrets to us but only on days when we forget. We try to erase the paths we have forged to get away from our old memories. And we are the secrets. We never stop living in the clouds that stream from what we all know. We speak to hear ourselves, to confirm our own existence. And all the while, we make-believe. We believe in ourselves because we live on the worn mountain ridge. The winds we want come from the reeds that come from the ponds that come from the rain. Send the reed winds. Send the pond winds. Send the rain winds. Send the breeze that comes from the motion of mastodons that pushed the mountains up to the sky. We believe in the ancient whispers. We believe in the loamy aftermath of composted manure invaded by microscopic monsters. We believe in springtails. We believe in fungus that spreads the news among the trees in the eons of forests. We believe in the rings we count and the words etched inside the rings. Words that cannot be pronounced by tongues like ours. Tongues like ours fill up our mouths, clumsy and cramped. Our tongues do not unfurl like the snakes' or bears' or chameleons' tongues. We can only read the words to ourselves. So we wait for the winds that wind through the forest and unfurl up to the worn mountain ridge where we stand forgetting. We feel your banjo wind and your mouth-harp breeze. We keep waiting.

Esse quam videri
This is where my story begins. Born in water. Born in sparkling beams at the bottom of the blue. I seem and I be. I seem to know how to be. There is a place where I am born at the bottom of the sea. From that place I come to be. And this is all I know. I have no one to ask about how or why. The when is counted by cycles of sparkling and I know them by heart. The sparkles come regularly and at different angles from above the blue. Yes, it is the sun that makes the sparkles. I am born in the sparkling beams of sunlight where its warmth does little to warm. At first I resist. Resting is the only thing to do. It makes sense like nothing else under the blue. And then I see the sparkling beams, like tickles. I see the blue and everything it holds. In that moment, I want to be everywhere. And I rush up, dodging everything that darts towards me, up into the brighter blue, the azure. And finally, I am free and also afraid.

Fear is never explained. It simply was. It is. It is inside. It is outside. Just like I am. Up here. Outside. Others come near. They mark me. I mark them back. And we become together ones. A family. But nothing is explained. Like fear. That is how we know what we need to do always. We do not wonder. Focus is our way of life. The way we live. Living in this way, we do not need to explain. We wait for the sparkling beams. They always come after the darkness. Fear is when the sparkling stops. It is a cycle. It is a circle. It surrounds us. And there is a constant.

The constant of sounds and smells. This constant is stronger than anything we can see. There are confetti breezes. There are rushing waves. The scent of distant blooms reaches us and we follow them. We parade. We are covered with the scent of distant blooms and we can almost taste them. We are hungry. Hunger is like fear. There is no explaining hunger to us. We only know it when the scent of distant blooms reaches us on the breezes. And we parade and we sense our proximity to the all-sweetness. Suddenly we find the allness of everything and we are drunk. We drink the universe. We do not know how to stop. We are a wall of distant blooms now covered in us, our all. There is no escape. We are everything. We are draped in nebulae.

Until it calls us away and we have no explanation. We go. We stream back. We rainbow back. Still drunk, we parade but without the glory of the confetti breeze. Our path is a dream of knowing. And we are together always. We soar. The sunlight. The blue. The new breeze. The some-thing that pulls us from inside. And we arrive in a sobering burst and suddenly we dive. We school. We torpedo. We seek the darkest blue. We dodge the darting everything to return to the place we know. Nothing explains this. To us it is the only thing we know. We are filled with knowing. We plunge and we find. We find each other. We become each other in strange embraces. We are swarm and maelstrom. We whirl and shimmy. We do not end because we are all one, a circle of being us. We are the makers. We have made us.

By the time they come for what is left of us—what floats up towards the sparkling and what sinks to the sand—we have hidden our future deep inside this blue. We will become again and again in the sparkling beams at the bottom of the blue. It is always blue. Forever blue. I have no one to ask about how or why. And this is all I know. From that place I come to be. There is a place where I am born at the bottom of the sea. I seem to know how to be. I seem and I be. Born in sparkling beams at the bottom of the blue. Born in water. This is where my story begins.

Things that fly and float in the darkened world

Tulia sings herself to sleep on nights
when the new moon mourns for luna

moths—wings fluttering a tempest—xanthous
giants startle Tulia from her dreams

into a dream pale greens and lavenders
coax premature spring days Tulia falls

down an empty well that never ends—drift-
ing with the speed of a detached moth wing

she descries hieroglyphs of birds and corn
and people on the umber well stones stacked

along the shaft of her tomb / that tomb—as
warm as a womb Tulia never lands

but finds herself upside down on the moon
cool moon dirges how tired she's grown of wind

and ceaseless voices wafting up to her
from Earth—the prayers and cries and war songs

brisk moon embraces Tulia—imparts
how loneliness wields her in the darkness

so Tulia weeps cold moon gently sweeps
Tulia's bangs to the side and swears

that tears come from the ocean when dark moon
speaks of the ocean, her voice sounds distant—

like poltergeists calling from a tin can
telephone Tulia shivers though rapt

by the moon's lonely embrace when the moon
grows new she remembers all of her past

lovers and grows bitter her cold embrace
can steal summer from the equator—if

only she could get close enough but she
can never get close enough anymore

she tells Tulia that love comes to us
from Cygnus—only to him it's poison

that he expels into the universe
grim moon does not understand why people

cherish the swan's poison Tulia picks
up a moon rock—only it becomes a

soft-shell egg a pupating luna moth
metamorphoses rapidly inside

and scratches its way out of the soft egg
It eats the shell in Tulia's hands and

flies towards Earth quiet moon turns a dark glance
—releases Tulia back up the well

Tulia drops too fast to solve more glyphs
she mourns her distraction on her last trip

and back in bed on a pitch new moon night
Tulia sings herself awake from worlds

she thinks might only be inside her dreams
she hears the rustling of the luna moths

that cover her bed Tulia sighs she
forgot to ask the moon about the moths

Jacqueline M. Pérez has a longish name. She mainly takes photographs and tries to do the same with poems or prose from the inside. She posts some of her writing at http://gnathic.weebly.com and other places.
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