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14 April 2013

Things in Light Poetry Series 2013: Mark Lopez


The tenth installment of 2013 TiL's 2013 Poetry Series features the work of editor, writer, poet and newly minted Burqueño Mark Lopez. 


I was born in a ball of water,
came out trickling, oozing,
sticking to the hands of a man,
concocted from rich ornaments,
delicate pin-stripe portrait 
of a lost, listless anecdote.

I came out on a cold, autumn morning,
knees askew on the dirt, asphalt,
sun beaming down on my jet-black hair.
Bulging eyes eclipsing the desolate
hospital room made anew
with the soft touch of her delicate hand.

"You are mine," she whispers.
A tear trickling down her bright pink cheek,
her Latina essence shadowing
my new outlook of the world
from whence I shouldered a bubble,
bursting free from any prison that 
dare lay siege.

I held on, coveting this creature,
replaced my strength in mid-air,
caught by the foot,
streaked with fluid after fluid,
until my body caught sight of a lovely being,
cradling it to sleep,
cradling it to feed.

She sings a song,
over and over,
dancing around the words 
like a fortunate place with a kind partner.
And he shows up.
Dark, broad-shouldered specimen of a man,
with jet-black hair 
and a thick black mustache.

He cradles my head,
he kisses my hand.  
He says, "That's my boy."
He smiles and they connect eyes,
taking only seconds to kiss and embrace,
embrace and kiss.
How lovely the sound of a birth can be.


Boom Boom!
The weight of this room
causes us to rattle and fume
under the shrouds and sheets
placed at our calloused feet.

Government prescription
makes a hasty decision,
United Health 
signals the stealth 
of the brave and few
who carry traces of red, white and blue.

Language barriers,
structural barriers,
moving fast.
The apparent apartheid will not last.
We move and shake
and shuck and jive
to prove to them 
that we're still alive.

They turn their color-blind eyes
toward their white sky,
and we shout for life,
while they scream, "DIE!"

Doctor, Doctor! Find the antidote,
while the trumpeteer plays his haunting note.
And we march on and on,
hearing that sacred song,
that anthem of freedom, love and equal rights,
knowing we are desperate for an equal fight ... 

... while he signs his papers, puffs that cig.
But we won't go into the ground,
no matter how long they scream, "DIG!"


She may feel it today,
but tomorrow, she'll call it a sickness.
The vibrating nausea that
pounds its vibrant drum in her stomach.

Go to sleep, horn.
Sound yourself in the morning light.
She's not ready to claim you,
much less, call you a confidante.

The lacquered mirror is begotten
by lost images of a face
carrying one too many stares.
Seven years, seven names.
Each a memory, each a glare
that catches her wayward eye.

She'll name you Maria, Alonzo, Hector,
Fabian, Lourdes, Marcos and Sophia.
Each a knot on a strand of hair,
curled tightly around her pounding knuckles.

God bless the child who suffers ... 
... enough to recant their broken drums,
their skipped beats,
in a rhythm that was once steady.

No, she'll burn them out
with an ember of her last smoke,
contemplating the loss of one more pack,
she'll bury their little arms and legs
in the pillows of another's bed.

Now I lay me down to sleep.
Each of their hearts is one to keep ... 
... inside this box, holding tiny keys
to doors of a home
filled with the silence of seclusion.

Each breath a tiny contusion:
A lasting illusion
that where there was once a quick heart beat,
another is sure to follow.


The shadows and the school buses and the gaping trees…
…blossomed the clouds with their shattered choruses and scraped-up knees.
Ma called out to me in the morning with her back all scratched.
Was this your favorite moment, when you got stuck in the garden-hatch?

There was a sky-tapped globe atop your shoulder,
When you danced wildly there.
Into the timeless incisions of your false decisions,
Where the Father swallowed your air.

The treetops and shrubs of the lonesome bugs, caught sight of the sainthood.
And we tried to climb down, from the rusty drownin’ of the etched-out cedar wood.

Pa came to save you when the sun caught hold of your skin.
He gave you kisses and told you where to begin…
At the touch of a glove,
With order…
Set order…
With his fatherly love,
Those fields,
Those fields,
Gave you something you’d never forget.
Where they found you, where you tread.

And, brother – I found you in the dark, by your lonesome.
I saved you from the monsters at bay, and fought them with my sword.
You stood there, eyes a-blazin’ like you’d forever lost your spirit.
Blossomed and emboldened, colored and swollen, just begging for me to hear it.

I walked you across the cold, dark room, my arm around you.
I sang to you, as you tried to creep along the sleepless corridor within our home.
Though, you just dreamt of Grandpa Bear, I watched the faces and fixtures.
I never left you, though you’d thought I’d forget you, but I hummed to you some lovely scriptures.

…The bird and the cow jumped over the moon,
And the moon came out to play.
The bird is a saint, the cow the remains of the sky that is expanding and waving.
…The bird and the cow came down from the clouds,
And the sun peaked out from the day.
The bird is a grip, from the cow that was tripped by the hand that is misbehaving.

She awoke and sang us her soft screech of the morn’
And we just drowned in the constant frowns of the early shore.
The faces faltered when we found them anew.
You just turned under the burn of their cold-colored hues.

The times have changed and we are children…
…But we have scoured all the cowards to find out where they’ve been.
And the parents and teachers and preachers and principals and nuns.
Found us forging under the morning, with our hands all red from the run.
The building’s choked on its pipes that broke, and we try to plug ‘em in.
The people and their god-forsaken little sins.

The moment you have had your finger smashed by a door.
I apologized to you, and said I’d tease you no more.
We followed the thunder,
So noisy,
God noisy, in the night-time.
We found ourselves in old bodies,
That warned us.
Oh they warned us,
That we shouldn’t find ourselves afraid,
Of the debts that we haven’t paid.

Oh, my brother, you find yourself lost, and I’m not there with you.
You laid your hands a-clear from the bones and spears that Mommy and Daddy gave you.
Though, you have fallen, blasphemed and swollen, and begging for something to give.
Brother, I’ll try to find you and tell you musings.
I’ll find you sitting on your lonesome rock, and convince you that you’re not losing.
Though, what we’ve been, and what we’ve seen is something more than we can decipher.

Pack them up, for we know they’re just parents and a daughter.
The sky still shines, and the mother rhymes, and we can still find some water.
Though, I have seen you, drenched and squeamish, daring me to find myself unknowing.
Though, I try to sing it, try to believe it, but I can’t graze that which is not sowing.

Ma and Pa, they try to draw, and find us within our globe.
They fix and fold, daring to grow old, within their lobes.
She is broken and still swallowed from her cold refrain.
The bogeys and bugs are under the rug of tomorrow’s rain.

And the pictures are all staring as you dance your crazy dance.
We stare at you, with eyes glued to you, like we’re in a trance.
The room is a-spinning, faces a-grinning, you smile and then bow.
But, we have never known your truth, but God, just tell us how.

We found you there, inside the cupboard, treading on silk.
She carried you south, then tried to save your body with milk.
We move and then whisper,
Loving you, we try to give you ages
Of order…those same old stages.

We carried your clothing,
With our eyes glazed-over,
In the morning, where you planted yourself.
We could love you even more,
Hoping that with one soft tune,
Until you grow old,
We’ll have this,
And only this…

…The bird and the cow jumped over the moon,
And the moon came out to play.
The bird is a saint, the cow the remains of the sky that is expanding and waving.
…The bird and the cow came down from the clouds,
And the sun peaked out from the day.
The bird is a grip, from the cow that was tripped by the hand that is misbehaving.

A World

I dipped my foot into the cold, clear water
Feeling renegade droplets bounce upward, onto my knee.
They sent little blasts of shivers all the way
To the top of my head,
Causing my brain to jumble and fumble about,
And send hidden signals to your ear…
…that swollen ear,
That heard the silent cries of that whore,
Giving birth to a nation,
As her cunt bled wildly,
We searched the levels of land,
Thinking we’d find her son? Or her daughter?
Was it some sort of liberty or chastity
That befell this new born king or queen,
That never had a chance to sing his youthful spite
In the parked omnibus that moved slowly
Down the lane,
Picking and choosing,
Choosing and laughing.
“I’ll take her,” he says,
Pointing at the fair-faced reaper who,
In white garb,
And a skeleton face,
Smiles crookedly, exceptionally,
For she is only bones.
No flesh, no muscles,
No womb for which to carry a country.
She dips her toe into the ramshackle blows
Of terrorizing waves sent from the God of the Ocean.
She feels the mist and spray
That seeks shelter on her empty face,
And hums a little tune in the middle of the next phase.
She feels a kick to the belly,
As the buoys rock back and forth,
And the ringing in the distance
Makes her wince and moan,
Oh, how this baby nation has grown,
Grown and consumed what little room is left,
Taking all the green as he set sail across the blue.
“This land is your land. This land is my land.”
Oh no, that is not true,
It’d take 1,000 islands for him to change that tune,
That lonesome, little note that calls the wandering souls forward,
Those who claimed a spot on the green since 10,000 BC.
But no, she sprays the blood and baby onto the rocks,
As the trees applaud,
And her fair-faced prayer goes unanswered.
The soldiers march out of her once-closed womb.
She lays her head back in surrender,
As they storm the land that was lent to her.
And her last breath goes so smoothly,
While her body stretches and melts into those rocks,
Set aflame by the watchful eye of the shore.
“This isn't your land. This isn't my land.”


Mark Lopez was born and raised in a city by the sea … broke free of the entanglements of oceanside meandering and wandered to the lush, green and blue town of Austin, Texas, where he received bachelor's degrees in English and journalism from the University of Texas. After graduating, he freelanced for various publications, including UT Law Magazine, CHAOS Magazine, Jupiter Index and the Corpus Christi Caller Times (his hometown newspaper) until he trekked the 14-hour ride to Albuquerque, N.M., where he currently serves as copy editor and staff writer at the Weekly Alibi.

Unknown / a fifth-wave feminist from the fourth estate | a burqueña | a ladyboss | a writer + editor

I am a fifth-wave feminist and a reluctant member⸺hey, Groucho knew whereof he quipped⸺of both the fourth estate and the gig economy. I am an Albuquerque-based freelance writer, editor and social media marketing and branding+PR consultant. I remain an observant ’90s riot grrrl and a devout practitioner of halfhearted yoga posturing and zen and the art of the sentence diagram.


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