Michael Caylo-Baradi


Around The Merry-Go-Round

succumb surmise
anonymous anthology conjecture

Laughter bouncing in your little steps has expanded the backyard. Green grass is not redundant anymore, and now has a way of flattening raised punctuations. You run into our arms, and lose ourselves in your expectations. Your eyes surpass how we imagine innocence to be, how it veils dissonance couples refuse to recognize. Potted rhododendrons below the kitchen window still bloom in songs from another decade. But petals of bougainvilleas seem to flutter like wings in your giggles desperate to fly. Intransigence around the dining table now dissipates in your tears, or in words from us that clutter like something broken on the floor, soaking in spilled milk.

The tips of your toes, fingers, and tears devise notions of fragility that hush nights in sleepy rhymes. We become fables we read to you, the furry cloak of kings, smoothness of paper monsters, sharpness of cackling godmothers, or the solemn glitter of impossibilities on vast icy oceans. We don’t want you to slay dragons, or rescue lost princesses unprotected. We’re still in the season of coronation, of indoctrinations, of immersions sturdy as inflatable boats we paddle for you on the shallow end of the pool. Questions could ripple you to unknown shores without us, waters that fill footprints unable to submerge.


Omissions from a Memoir that might be recycled in a novel

encompass extricate
generation guile imperative

(from Chapter 5: Eyes) Mirrors in this house cannot forgive console. They want to reduce an image to its origins, to bone structures, facial features, gestures. They imagine maps, shores avoided in conversations, and elevate relegate me into fiction from other continents.

(from Chapter 8: Rituals) So I’m not the summation of my parents’ eyes and nose, or their sense of the inevitable in weekends before an altar. Their proximity is contract. Their welcome frames my constitutions. Origin is the intimacy of our prayers before meals, the echo of amens.

(from Chapter 10: Configurations) Smiles in a photograph hold absence, omissions. I restore phantoms in portraits, sneaky as breezes that levitate curtains and thoughts. They punctuate. They inspect my fictions, before pushing me to rest in fluid routines: the scrambled eggs, the traffic jams, the look at the taco stand, late dinners, all sinking in unwashed dishes.


Quenching Lucio Vampiro

impart craftiness
sly install insight

I let nights uncurl from the silence of leaves, where critters disperse sonic semaphores to perfect the night. The slope of necks levitates expectations in the hollow of half-lit moons. I thirst for language that jet from punctured solitudes, their history, memory, fragilities. I breathe, sneak myself in their dreams, for the taste of rehashed melancholies. I search not victims, but to liberate those entombed in phantoms unable to simulate flight, escape, transcendence. As always, obstructed lineage purifies blood from the past.

On a future bio-pic, the shore must glimmer like overused cliché, the kind that twinkles in my eye, and the moral proclivities of my molars. I am driving debonair in Prada sunglasses, holding its speedometer in laughter that accelerates the wind. I feel my jaws crucified in a long wait, impatient as innocence. A close-up shot on a cliff illuminates waves in my eyes, nothing tidal, or ceremonial. A wide lens would reveal lovers recycling a narrative before defamations. They could be notes in a score compressed in silhouette. Notice how the alphabets in the closing credits dilute as color that stretches horizons on your lips.

Michael Caylo-Baradi lives in California. His work has appeared in Galatea Resurrects, BlazeVOX, The Common (Amherst), MiPOesias, Our Own Voice, Prick of the Spindle, Pyrta Journal, and elsewhere.
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