Steven Alvarez

Ysrael in Sonora

my eye opens / hairs of lashes / I blink & my skin
like a lizard’s/ & I blink my eye flashes
wall scanning dark wall skinned like a lizard see
tops of buildings / creekside somewhere in alphabets
big burnished one in the distance / staircases
               / & we surrounded by walls / my dear

scan down / & you see me           quickly I run
you do not see my face
I hold my package / knock down
                                                        two barricades                               I stop
on the block / sandy ground couple looking at a map                I bump into some man
a priest they appear blurred he checks his glasses / see his woman
he wants to shout / she sez quiet I can scare them / I do / make them cry /
I do w/ my package in my hands I do

onward & outside / I see trash you see me enter
building door
I want to go downstairs / but I stop & check my pulse well & good
  I nearly bolt / but I hear something / old woman
               w/ flowers steps down
stairs I stop see her hand / her face a skull she’s so old her hand
on the banister she’s so old she smiles she smiles until she sees me she cries
  & dies on I move on see my black coat / carajo

you can’t see my face my key won’t turn doorlock / no / now / there it goes let
me lock this let me shut
my door let me deadbolt this yes let me check
my pulse well & good let me see my room

I have mis papeles
I remove Arowak cowboy hat from my head I maintain my hair
see my mirror you can’t see
that see Chuy
on wall see whole holes on wall see
from my vision blurred see mirror on wall my cat’s box
see me pan
up to torn curtains
window mostly dirty my bed made

see my window mostly blurred & my cat’s box
I sneeze see my lamp something strikes me
/ a pain my cat wakes                see
  my window mostly blurred

I set my papers down / I feel the whole
holes of my wall
I feel my window / pull down
shard of torn red curtain
there / now no one can see except cat
I bend down to cat / touch its neck
black cat / white stripes my mirror dirty & blurred

I circle only nothing but my bed
let’s walk to my bed let’s lift cover let’s stop
you realize I
have a dog as well
they watch me let’s take this blanket / let’s let no one watch
me I cover my mirror
w/ dusty cover

I have a bird too / a parrot
¡ ATENCIÓN ! it cracks
blinks & I scan my room once more
¿what of that dead lady on those stairs?
  I pick up my cat / open my door let’s let
cat out   cat looks too much now let’s get dog
I set dog
out / cat enters blurred cat
I pick cat up / let
it out door / dog enters
bird remains in its cage / blurred
    ¡ ATENCIÓN !
I pick up dog /
yarp yarp sez dog
cat enters once I open
door           pick up cat mngnao sez cat
hold dog w/ my foot /
they both out empty bed for those two
mngarpao they sey

now / my papers see
my papers NO blanket uncovers mirror
  I stammer / quickly put
that back see that blurred my chair
  my chair / I
have but one chair I sit
my chair / see Chuy Xst on my wall nail thru
forehead of old JC
it shines blurred I walk
to Chuy / look him between eyes
his eyes   I rip him down / throw him
down / see his squared location
unstained on sweatstained wall
stamp on him / one eye left torn to shreds

my papers / my file I open my file
my bird watches / mostly blurred stupid
/ stupid / stupid / Perico
               I stand from my chair / remove
my coat bird sees me / I cover his cage / ¡aha!
¡ ATENCIÓN !         ¡ ATENCIÓN !
bird in its cage / stupid now I can’t see
my fish in its bowl mostly blurred
I have several fishes I have my files
now I can see my file
no / fish fish squirms fish
has an eye / I close this fish w/ my pillowcase
I must sit once again I
must see I see my files
eyes of my file wait
fish no / fishes
fish has eyes I’ll stop eyes of fish / alas
sit once again / this feels nice
no Jesus / no cat / no dog / no fish / no bird file
                              ¡ ATENCIÓN !
my file mostly blurred a photo
of woman & baby another I rock my chair man & puppy
group now         I rock
wedding another wedding     I shd stop
w/ this wedding now
man holding little girl outside trainstation in Tuxson
  I feel & I fell no I feel & ¿where dyall giet dem Arr-o-WAK cowboy hats?
little girlish & / & I feel nothing now man wearing eye patch
in winter now I rip up all these pictures wedding / see you later
  group at graduation / see you later woman & baby / see you later

my hands twitch
but mostly fine     see
all this trash on my floor mostly fine    my pulse
well & good      I rock nice nice chair      I love my hat    I must stop rocking
that SOUND no / no then nothing & I rock
again rocking fine trash on floor
  I won’t clean this up I won’t clean this scan my room scan my walls scan
covered mirror if you want scan blanket
& pillow covering animals / empty Jesus space now you see my face
do you need? man
w/ eyepatch in front
  of me no / is me I close my eyes cover my eyes hello
his face mostly blurred his eye lizard skin cover my eyes w/ my hands
maybe I cry still I rock in my chair
shielding his eyes/ both hands spread against his face / kissing ground & praising

La Pelona / McTlán

reflection from the mirrored top of the table sends a moon image up onto the ceiling I look at that when I kiss her then I scratch my scalp because it really fucking itches & she hardly massaged my shampoo this morning when we showered she wears dirty clothes like mine mine were bought dirty / hers mostly soiled from wear she’s worn so much depends on dirty clothes ¿is that on or upon dirty clothes? who cares / stupid poets I used to look at her mouth when she slept & think it pretty like a fucking rose I really wanted to reach my fingers in there & feel around the cave inside not scratch it / but mostly rub it / feel its wetness / slime gathered from cigarettes smoked night last she passed me cigarette after cigarette / & I took them / I smoked them / I cultivated that habit one that felt fine

  pobre hombre tiene hambre   his poetrick outburst
  in his newest digs: McTlán sun
  magnifies heat-centers of his brain
   & cause them to fortify against cold thoughts
before today Chaley felt Muerte’s eyes rescind again                     pragmatic critic
still abating thirteen lines
sent eleven days before this day

her poems he writes her poems
to satiate dreams—clandestine desires                               mindful wants secrete
as lifted literary trials           sent continually
pass words for truths
signifiers slip like smoke proving words
for readership seems futile
maybe move to other forms of art
expressing hopes
connecting cares
her face
sing her eyes
sculpt her ears
draw her thighs
  this marble hand / nothing
                like pobre Pancho who lived
that pain / groping / nail driven in
he wondered if she wondered to know
he knew she did he knew she wd for two
weeks already thought of each
well enough how cd he forget her voice
how cd he forget
   as she slept / & her warm thighs alas /
alas he lacked / lacked ate then hacked
smoked hundreds of cigarettes
drank of her nightly / slept hardly smoked / again    smoked

Steven Alvarez is a Ph.D. candidate studying English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He lives in New York City.

These pieces are from a longer work, a novel in verse.
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