Saturday, May 11, 2019

Pillowed Two

I slept in until 8 am
My eye is really swollen
Today I will go the country
I will order cider slush
for her
for me
and I will send us a picture 
I miss her

I awoke feeling so alone 
in the bed
I wanted to reach for you
and got a pillow
so cold
Yearning for the snuggle
of your warm belly 
against my lower back
better than a heating pad

I reach for a hug
and all I get is mild
scent of you left in the 
unwashed sheet
my mind travels to a 
few days ago
and back again to now
where I keep reaching
for you, for the pillow
pushing away the waking 
without you.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Please Don't Tell Me

Please don’t tell me.

I remember your sweet hesitant smile
a holding back of words in your heart 
and mind
You would often just blurt out the truth
of your feelings
I remember that you always
captured people’s attention at public events 
with a warm, appealing and sincere voice, 

I can’t remember much about
our few dates. 

I was too conflicted. 

I remember the night we first tumbled 
in each other’s arms on 
the extra futon in someone’s
apartmenton the East Side 
after some big fundraising party
and we drank wine 
and talked and talked more 
and then I looked at the clock
and it was too late 
to drive back to Brooklyn
or take the subway

It was such a convenient excuse 

There you were perky, 
Bright eyed 
Catholic boarding school rebels
Turned lesbian rights activists 

I couldn’t stop myself

And we kissed
Me first? You?
Each of us saying
"Is this okay?" 
and your OK was 
more confident than mine
because I sensed you might become 
one more dyke drama story linked
to my drunken ways of forgetting to say…

"oh by the way..."
when I said it was OK 
that we kiss 
I meant 
with me
not with her
you know 

the one who’s been playing house with me for two years 

I remember our passionate tussle
and how we giggled 
And whispered 
Me noticing the unusually large space 
for a New York City apartment 
And how I gently touched those soft lips 
That could speak truth to power 
or sometimes just tremble in anger
as we all fighters for justice 
For dignity to our queer lives 
Observed the ongoing patterns of 
A world leveling hate in our direction 
And even blaming natural disasters
To the existence of openly gay living

And now as I remember you
And the brief moments of US
I do regret that we lost touch
That the years went by 
That you found love and marriage and had kids 
And then vanished only to surface 
In this odd notice in a magazine I rarely pick up
Where it mentioned you 
And your final illness and 
our community’s loss of 
A fearless voice for justice.

And the writer should have mentioned
That you had a beautiful smile and 
Really soft lips.  

Elvia (Sudasini) Arriola 
@Edited (2019) 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pillowed One

I called out to you
in the night
I heard your heartbeat
next to my ear
in my dream
I put my greying curls on your chest
we turned together
towards the light 
of the rainbow clock
but you slept 
ans I dreamed
and it was just 
a thought 
captured between my unruly sheets
as the you that was only me
a pillow
big and fluffy and warm 
like you 
to the floor 
and woke me up. 



12:23 am
of the last full month
of summer
two dogs snore
near my bed

the busy highway
throbs through the open window

a swoosh from speeding
cars and another from
an ancient ceiling fan

1 a.m.
it’s 93 or more

Loosen up
avoid frozen shoulder

the poodle’s frizz sways
in the breeze of an open window

how pretty the
ornamental grass

his paws are thick with
river mud
from a first time gallop 
with his new adoptive brother

they ran and kicked up  leaves
pebbles and dirt
along the Town Lake

who are these beings of light covered in fur and hair who
grace us with companionship for the muscled strength
of their short lives
DOG spelled backwards
is G –O - D

melting thoughts
in the heat of this Texas night

fluff the pillows for
the fifth time 

just turn out the light.  

@Austin, TX 2005  (edited 2017)

@Austin 2005
edited 2017

Downstairs Neighbor

Downstairs Neighbor 

The day promises a scorching heat
grackles call out
the bird feeder is empty!
Fidgety squirrel squats on the gutter
peers down
on the lookout for three menacing dogs
who love the chase

a tipped lantern recalls last night's 
gathering of friends around a fire pit
roasting marshmallows
melting chocolate on graham crackers 

silent flowering cacti
embrace a mean sun
and the new season that will anchor them
to the rocky Texan soil

And there she sat
on a patio chair
crawling deeper
everyday into a grieving well
poor economics
bad job
stuffed up head 
"I can't fuckin' smell"
she yelled across the yard

Is it worse than the cancer?

Her morning 
was night and night
The day 
An owl
hungry panther
pouncing upon the hint
of a hopeful call 
and maybe just maybe 
different diagnosis 

We prayed 

And she roared 
Despair and disappointment

The massive cedars
towering pecan 
the heavy branched elms
could not muffle her wail and cry

for a job
for some hope
or just the simple aroma of
brewing coffee

for acceptance

Listen my sweet to the flutter of wings
Do you hear the fledglings begging for food 
chirp chirp chirp 

They can muffle the sound of a
terminal ticking clock

Ah look, the backyard gate is open
in comes yet another wave 
of untouchable heat about 
to settle with endurance
for another morbid day
into your now empty patio seat. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sincerely Yours

I am almost 47
not too tall
not too small
dark eyes like my mother
strong brown hands like my grandmother
a mixture of Creole and Indian bloods
ancestors from a land below rocky mountains
in steamy western jungles,
volcanoes and blackened rocks
from which there now grow corn, brush and maguey

even further back, alleged
bastards of wayward royalty
hardy Iberians who lived by the sea,
fought for their independence
and have preserved a language
if not their dignity

My roots are as wild
as they are stable and strong
My father’s weaknesses were buried
neath bottle and song
Memories of home can evoke tears and deep pain
thought joy is my hope when I venture
the terrain
of discovering an orphan’s search
for a life and the source of wounds
inflicted upon a child
whose only armor was a faint whisper
and her lonely cry

I am cactus and wildflower
cool waters and dreams
of a woman whose visions speak
of learning
and spirituality

I am heartiness in food
work and laughter
passionate fire
a fish out of water
deeply fulfilled
by the merging of emotions, trust and desire

I am the traveller of two cultures
and my journey though long
in the field of true living
has barely begun

I can blend life’s experiences
in a moment’s thought
I can feel my spirit soar
when I remember there is a God

I have been comfort and pain
mystery and fear
a seeker of truth
always grateful for new direction

I am an old woman’s pilgrimage
I have always yearned to secure
guided in my lone journey by her image
and my heart

I am old
and I am young
reborn everyday
I can be showers of affection
or obsessed with perfection
a sunny day
a comfortable shoe
a roaring lion
or a bear’s cub

I am probably more
and somewhat less
whether, sister, dreamer
companera or lover,
I am
sincerely yours.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Sitting there
in a small dish
are two little seeds
from a mulberry
or some other kind
of bush
they are now dried
as is the love with
the person I picked
them with on a road
trip to New Braunfels
a love that never
fully sprouted
a long distance love
that couldn't survive
on occasional phone calls
monthly visits
and workaholic
two little seeds
meant for a different
soil and much
more tender
waiting for the
of Trust

The Tired Professor

I’m so tired
of playing some Big Mama
listening to the whines
of privileged
lazy law students
with their
"I really want to know"
(But I hate you for
giving me a C+)
"I really do care"
(but I'm getting back at you
and giving you a fat zero
on this evaluation)
"I'm working hard"
(but I absolutely
need to go home
and plan my wedding)
"I just need one more
clarification about how
you're going to grade"
(and I'll blame you for
not getting a summer job)
"I really DO respect you"
(but I'm not going to raise
my hand in class no matter what)
"I'm just scared"
(but this
thought I'll never reveal
to them or even to myself)
"I can't help that I'm
a whining blood sucking brat"
(Yeah, that'll be the day I
hear them admitting that!)

Disturbed Love

I looked at you
and often saw myself
I cried ourselves to sleep

My heart yearned
for a moment
of calm
without the strange
mysterious fears
of your loving me
without the raging
tears that have sent
me looking for dark
rooms where I can
lust and drink
all alone

I crave
an ocean
of understanding
more than I think
any one person can give
than I'm able
to give
to my self

While I nurture
this faith
and learn to forgive
the errors that make
me human
I do need a friend
I need you
I love you


I like them
the ones
that look like planets
spinning on my
coffee table
and taking me away
to fantasy worlds
where I can be
a friendly alien
who will tell
the Uranians
or the Martians
or the Venutians
or the Saturnians
that I am a Pisces
and my species
that is
the human race
is sometimes
strange and confused
and obsessed with
and control
but that if
they will have a
little patience
with us
we could be
invited over for coffee
or tea
and then they
should send us home

Maquila Zoned Out

Maquila  Zoned Out

Barely begins to capture
The weight of the grief
That sits
Mountain sized
Upon my soul
As a departing visitor to
El Paso/Ciudad Juarez
A land of divides
Rich and poor
Brown and white
Citizen and not
Identities crafted
By powerful attitudes in
Custom and law

Citizens also
Who are ignorant and not
Of the ironic embrace
Of the dizzying pace
of the twin plants’
economic growth
In one more city seduced
By the dream of
The “package deal” of boom trade
Maquila zones of prosperity
That have forged in this part of the world
Paths that die in the desert
Surrounded by silently
Weeping mountains
El paso a la muerte



To Women 
Young and old
Victims both
One kind to the violence
By men who stalk them
For inhabiting the young female body
Their mothers and fathers equal victims of the
Tragedy and horror of losing a daughter sister wife to
sexual terrorism
Assaulted by haunting images of
A loved one’s last few
Hours and minutes of
A stolen life
And of a youthful beauty
And brutally burned
And killed

Meanwhile my own
Image of silent screaming
And wanton abduction
Occurring in the day or night
Is permanently etched in my  tired
And frightened mind

I find myself suspiciously staring
At presumed terrorists
Inhabiting male bodies
And directing my silent
Raging stares
At clean bodies
And suited men in elegant ties

The other terrorists
I charge
Those capable of crippling
Governments and countries
With an offer to sign here
On the dotted line
And welcome to free trade
Licentious trade
The wonders of working
Your poorest citizens into legal slavery
And sending their children
Into early graves

The indifferent terrorist
Selling his country’s and
His company’s wares
His cheap wages
To a cheapened and
Once loved culture
Of safety and simplicity
We once knew in Old Mexico
The Mexico he only sees through
The lenses of ancient class divisions
And bigotry

The Mexico one President
Must salvage from international shame
While the other curries favor
To the immigrant labor he must
At once welcome in his own country and blame

Yes these are the terrorists
Fighting global wars
Pressuring nations with
Candy bars and iron sticks
Never stopping to think
Oh not at all
Of the part they play
Big or small
In this nightmare of a time
To be a woman and to be living and working
On the border
In the horror chambered
Export processing zone

Elegant terrorists who with their complacency have violated spaces of privacy
Corners of safety
Valleys of desire, need and despair
The terrorist in a blue suit checking into fancy hotels
Holding business meetings aimed at neighborly mutual profit as they ignore the symbols of poverty knocking at the door
Never to be made part of the conversation
Other than to ask for
Another clean towel
On which to wipe the
Dainty sweat of working
Hard to ignore
The chant and plaintive cry of the young dead women’s families
Who ask but Why?
Who demand that all that could  be done
Will be done

When a woman welcomed
To be their workers
Might be honored
And reclaimed in spirit and name
If not in her rotting remains
By the man in that thousand dollar suit
Who helped to recruit
Her innocence and her labor
Her lethal trust and confidence
For a cheap little wage that to her
Was a small liberation from
Poverty and despair
When in fact iit sent her
Daily walking to a factory to and fro until one day
Approaching it
Or headed home  
She was met
By bloodthirsty
Depravity who drove
Her to a desert
And the Palace of Crime
Erected in the devil’s playground

In Ciudad Juarez’

Exploit and murder
processing zone.

El Paso, TX 4/27/02