Yellow Papaya: Border Poems

Yellow Papaya

A colony of green papayas populate

A grove of the large leaf long-necks

That beg for water even if piped through

My water hose;

But one is surely the gay warrior, as

Yellow as the moon swimming amongst

Dark and green clouds;

Ready to fill our mouths with exotic pleasure;

What spell has fallen on the papaya loam

And made the earth fruits bloom?


My grandmother’s watering on a dusty

Hot, summer afternoon would

Signal a sudden gust of wind

As mild and breezy but fiercely

Embolden to push away the heat;

That magical touch that abuelita

Knew exactly the time of day

To sprinkle water on baked earth

And blessed our spirits and made us

Feel home in a small corner of paradise

That would soon fade away like memories

In a somber dream.

Along the Border

Train weaving along border memories of

my loteria and checkerboard life;

frames of family portraits fashioned

into a colorful quilt of sweet voices,

slight profiles, and happy, happy eyes

shining through our thoughts of

trepidation erected by border walls

setting us apart, away from each other

toward a reality that looms like a

head injury; a train wreck, no matter

where this train takes us the halt is

always erupt and deadening.

When we get off the train, when our

feet finally tread on steady ground,

you don’t know which side of the tracks

your heart lies.

Gloria’s Birthright

Pieces of earth puzzled into

mosaic revelations of

gaps and stops;

the human stride hampered

by a matching duo of

transnational bridge and border wall;

for every bridge

there’s a wall and still,

the migration continues like

the ebb and flow of relentless

time and space, and

the rebirth and death of

day and night. Never stopping:

like a lake that cradles

the spewing brew, or

a river that collects cascading water,

or fresh sprouts of trees

fusing with fossilized stumps.

Humans’ undeterred spirits

run their gamut like water flowing,

roots reaching, and rivers

morphing into oceans,

deep, vast, and free.

Featherless flying beings we are,

embracing the essence

of our birthright. 


River Rain

The río bravo takes you across to safety

away from the clutches of jaws and jails;

The río floats you across into the arms

of the one that has loved you always;

The río saves you from the monster

that you dreamt about when you were five;

The río pulls you under until

your remains are deeply buried within;

The río haunts you in the darkest of

moments and shatters your dreams;

The río drives you mad

until your spirit dies with you;

The río turns you into a liar

and thief, a shell of what you used to be;

The río baptizes you and leaves you

naked when you think you know its eternal secrets;


Only the thick, mysterious fog can work its

powerful magic, dragging, stirring

its ghostly spirits, and unveiling the corpses

washed up on its shores;

The clouds, laden with sadness and anger,

open, and let the rain burst into tears;

Rain, rain, river rain.

No picnic

Any other river like this

one would invite the locals

for a fun-filled picnic.

Instead, the Río Bravo looks desolate

Against the trappings of steel

posts, wired fencing, and

concrete military mesh.

Pedestrians on the Mexican side of the

bridge pour out into an open plaza,

darting toward waiting city buses.

The folk women, utterly

exhausted as they console their

children and grab on to bundles

of bulging plastic shopping bags,

bearing names of department

stores from the American side of the bridge.

When the border wall is erected

we won’t be able to see these

retail gobblers but who cares.

As long as the money keeps flowing;

globalism easily seeps through

impenetrable walls;

A preponderant fact for

the countless that everyday dare to

cross into the land of promise and

the purgatory of uncertainty;

We hear stories that make your head spin

like the one of how pets

are treated with dignity unlike our brothers;

and the earnings, no matter how long

and hard the work, barely

enough to put food on their table.

At the Mexican side, a

welcome-home flag awaits

those who failed to cross, big enough for

the world to notice how it flies more

boldly, bigger, and proudly than

the American flag behind them.

Chameleon at the Border

I know home when I get there;

Like a chameleon I carve my footprints from the

Natural hue of mud and sand pit spoils of la frontera,

A border rich with countless of untold stories.


I see like the border; I taste like the border;

I feel like the border; the border is all

Around me – but, mostly the border is in their eyes, anchored

At the sight of a new world; so desperate

To leave that only the absence of memory lingers.

Water (The River of Life in a Desert of Hell)

Water droplet on scorched tongue,

like a fragile twig almost dead,

Too precious, too little, so wrong,

only a surreal existence lingers,

Fingers reaching for the empty

Plastic jug that feels like brittle

bones aching feet useless appendages

that burden every slight stride

Now slow and heavy;

life pleading with merciless sunrays

determined to kill;

Caged in an inferno of hell,

Let death be the victor,

Let death be the heaven that

brings peace, peace, peace;

And stops the agony.

Water for the thirsty, water for the dead.
















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