When I was going through my sketchbooks and old letters, I found these poems. I'm not a poet, but I like to write my thoughts down. I wrote all with the exception of the last four poems.
My soul is filled
deep as an ancient river
dark, and still.
In my mother's house,
In my father's house,
I am silent.
The Place I Once Called Home
You gather the sun
and scatter its light
like a pool of mercury
heavy and fluid.
You move with still, complete motion
cooling my feet,
soothing my mind.
Feeling confused, I look inside
but I find nothing.
Searching for an answer, I look to heaven
but I do not feel Him.
Her eyes, like a waking babe's–
the cool white of a spring cloud.
firm like summer plums.
the color of toasted almonds.
Her youth, irretrievable
no longer mine.
Pubescent boys on bicycles,
thrusting power between their thighs.
Confused and full of explosive energy,
they wander through the city streets
in frenzied desperation.
You haunt my dreams
when the moon is full,
and my heart receptive.
You hover above my body and
kiss my mouth like a hummingbird
sucking nectar from a flower.
Oh, haunt me again
for your lips are of honey,
sweet and thick–
your whispers like the wind,
rustling through the leaves in a forest
on a hot summer day.
Oh haunt me again–
Like incessant hunger pangs
thoughts of you do not leave me.
They throb within my being and
gnaw away at my soul.
From David (At the Time, He Was My Husband to Be)
I finally found who I
was looking for
A piece of my soul
that I have known before
You know that I love her
You know that I care
But I'll never bind her
She'll have to come here
An arc of energy
between two poles
white hot glowing
through to my soul
I thought I'd seen it before
But now I know I was wrong
There could only be one time
That I'd sing this song
A Poem Received Years Ago
This morning for want of you, I pined and ached –
this afternoon, I endured the plight of the morning.
Tonight, should there not be the slightest allusion to me in your dreams,
tomorrow shall be as empty as today,
when I neither see, nor hear from you, Pilar.
Another Poem Received Years Ago
In the absence of your presence,
faith and trust secures your throne
love not space is of the essence
you are here–though you are gone.
Nay you say.
Then so be it–but give a smile to expose your jest.
I pray that you will one day see it
that which to me is manifest.
I Crave Your Mouth by Pablo Neruda
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.
I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,
and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
When we came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1959, my mother brought along a simple cardboard box of family photos, which became, for me, a connection to the extended family we left behind in Mexico City. As I child, I often studied the faces in the photographs and connected them to obscured memories of our relatives and their facial features. That box held, and continues to hold to this very day, so many marvelous photos.
While there are many exquisite pictures taken by my father and other family members, I have always been drawn to those taken by anonymous Mexican street photographers of the 1950s. The photographs shown above are two excellent examples of their skill. Both were shot in Mexico City near our home at 59 de la Calle de Republica de El Salvador in 1954. These street photographers typically covered specific blocks on a daily basis. They took candid shots of people going about their daily activities. After photographing their subjects, they provided them with a claim ticket, which was used to pick up their photos later that day.
Although they had but a few seconds to take "the shot", by looking at the collection my family owns, I can say that each and every composition is striking. These photographers succeeded in capturing their subject's spirit, as illustrated in the photos above of these two beautiful Mexican women. Whoever these photographers were, I believe that they were undeniably talented and relentless in their pursuit of artistic expression.
The black and white photo (above, left) was used in the above video, "This is To Mother You". It was recorded by Sinead O Connor, Mary J. Blige and Martha B., and was used by GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services) as a tool to spread awareness and to honor the many individuals who help in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of American girls. To donate, click on the GEMS link.
I will soon finish this piece entitled "I See Red". It has been in progress for longer than I would like to admit. Over the years, it has undergone numerous transformations – none of which ever felt right to me. Certainly, all were "acceptable", but I was not satisfied.
"I See Red" was first explored as a small scale oil painting doll still life, then later on a wood panel because I wanted a sturdy support. Not pleased with a sheen on its surface, which I was never able to eliminate, it was abandoned. Months later, it was restarted on canvas, and has been painted over, and restarted several times.
Finally in November of 2010, while sketching the charcoal and pastel drawing, I realized the direction I wanted to take this painting. I hope to finish it by the end of May. It is a mixed media piece, and has been since its conception. In fact, the mixed media element came first and the painting grew from that particular detail.