Sheltered in rooms with paper thin walls.
I paint them with the tiniest of brushes.
There are blackbirds, pygmy forests, and
light blue skies. The black cat at the
window keeps its eyes on the blackbirds. I
close the drapes out of fear it breaks
through the walls to feast on the blackbirds.
I am thinking of painting a giant black dog
to keep the black cat at bay. I have no
solution for the cold wind or the loud noise
which the paper thin walls cannot contend
with. When I bring friends over I beg them
not to lean against the walls out of fear they
will fall through the pygmy forest or the light
blue skies. I pour them a drink from a cheap
bottle of red wine and offer them cheese
and crackers. It is all I can afford these
days. Friends come and go, the good
ones are hard to find, but easy to keep.
The Lost Birds
After Mario Trejo
Birds do not get lost--
they just fly too far away
and disappear into the sky where
they blend towards colors
that defy explanation
and sight's memory.
They fly into the sea
like a ghost's imagination
and its bewildered dream.
Upon the shore for a brief time
their songs echo, skip
through waves, cast reflections
into the distance.
I call them faraway birds,
sea birds, nocturnal birds,
but never lost birds.
This Is Me
This is me,
a former waiter
and coffee cup server,
a third-grade basketball champion,
and if you find anyone who cares, ask them
how many dishes I washed before I quit,
how many cups of coffee I served,
and how many points did I score?
Forgive me if there is no corroboration
for what I remember. I washed a hundred
plates at least, I served and washed
a hundred coffee cups, I washed a
hundred glasses, a hundred spoons, forks,
and knives. I was given two dollars in tips,
and so I quit. I scored 10 points, five
baskets, each more creative than the other
playing below the rim. There was no three-
point line in 1977. I stuck a half-quart shot
to win the game, 15 to 14. Another kid made
one free-throw, and two others made lay-
ups off of my behind the back dimes.
I’m going now.
I just wanted to let you know who I was.
That was me as best as I could remember.
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and works in Los Angeles. His poems, art, and photographs have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Escape Into Life, Medusa's Kitchen, and Yellow Mama Webzine. His most recent poetry book, Make the Water Laugh, was published by Rogue Wolf Press. Luis recommends St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.