alfajores in the afternoon

i hadn’t intended
on my fingers
making a meal
of what lay between us
on an afternoon that swirled teal and lemon
like a brewed mug of tea
your hands begged me to partake
as you closed your eyes slightly
before opening them like the blinds
of a lover’s room after their long night
watching me lick my fingers
enjoying the pungent sugar
in every taste

*Alfajores (Al-fa-ho-res) are a South American type
of shortbread sandwich cookie that are filled with
dulce de leche (caramel filling).

snap, crackle, pop. (a few words on flakes)

if you’re reading this right now, you might be having
some breakfast, which would then make the title of this
piece even more appropriate and catchy. but the subject
matter is in no way something nutritious. what am i talking
about? people with behavior so inconsistent and without
real reason that we can dub these people,’flakes’.

we all encounter these people in our lives. they may
be a friend or a casual acquaintance. even family. and
they all can drive you to utter frustration with this
behavior. you know how it goes…the unanswered text
messages. missed appointments without notice. wanting to
change plans at the last minute for no other reason
than their own selfishness. flakiness is no joke when
unchecked.

i’ll give you a recent example or two of this. there’s
someone i know who i’m cool with. she at times, has
been real gracious, effusive and bright with her persona
and it makes people gravitate to her. but there are those
moments when she has eaten from the bowl of flakiness.
there was the time she sent me a text asking me for my
number after missing a get-together. insert blank stare
here. another example is of one dude i used to work with
waaaay back, who was so flaky he actually changed the
date of his wedding at the last minute TWICE. this is
something we can all laugh at, but it belies a certain
embodied pattern that is a problem.

first, the flaky person does and says these things for
the main reason of selfishness and inconsideration. we
all have times where we’ve committed to going somewhere,
or volunteered to do something and we weren’t able to.
what separates the flake from the regular person is
that a regular person would give consideration to the
occasion and what went into it and make apologies,
preferably beforehand. the flake will either just ignore
that or worse, compound that effect of selfishness by
claiming something so far-fetched that it immediately
gets a stink eye upon its utterance. another part of
flakiness is the fact that a flake will incorporate
this as part of their personality. unfortunately, there
are a lot of creative types who employ this and in turn,
enforce stereotypes. they think it’s cute, whimsical.
or they think they’re being ‘fierce’ or standing out
from the crowd. yeah, these people stand out from the
crowd because their persona and habits stink like the
insides of a tunnel rodent left out on the BQE in the
middle of July. there’s nothing cute about that.

flakes are at heart, still grappling with issues at
heart. in a couple of cases, you find that it boils
down to issues of self-esteem. they want to have you
feel compelled to like them no matter what, to have
a magnetic appeal despite their actions. what they
are deathly afraid of, and what does happen is, their
flakiness shows through so much at times that it repels
instead of attracts. which is why some of the flakes
you may know do well, and then all of a sudden hit an
iceberg of drama so as to sink into trouble. another
aspect of that self-esteem issue lies in the fear of
rejection that is out of their control. they don’t
want to be left behind. they are scared of not being
wanted. so they will take control by removing the
facet of accountability and in turn, exerting their
control by being non-committal.

flakiness is something we all encounter, and it can
piss you off besides make you laugh and wonder. the
best thing you can do? recognize it, assess it fully
and then deal with it and those folks accordingly. if
you can see the redeeming qualities stand out more than
their flakiness, keep ’em around. if not, brush ’em
off with directness and compassion. flakes belong in
a cereal bowl, not as part of your circle and daily
routine.

another tender star

you have consented
to let ink and art
become star maps
upon a body full and bountiful
as the sun caught in a dove’s eyes
a fair guide
if not one i can call my own
on rough waters that leave others
to turn their hearts to driftwood
but
you have long since become more
than another tender star
and
i follow the route upon your skin
to those galaxies
that i know can be home

lost among weeds

my shoulders heave
but no tears fall
i clutch memories past
around my abdomen
like one does a bathrobe
thinking it will protect my wounds
as i walk among the weeds
i’m looking for my joy
it seems to have dropped out here
in the looming shadow
of past troubles
sitting like an abandoned home
with the gaping maws of windows
covered with ivy and patches of paint
it is a wonder
how you can find your inner child
quickest through pangs of pain
and again
look for that solace and joy
shining, polished and familiar
lost among weeds
in the lawns of what others call, life

gentle morning crystal

some mornings
i find that i tend to walk
barefoot among blades that wear those
varied shades of green
and what cuts me to the quick
is how your face
rises like steam behind my eyes
tender, full with love and wit at your chin
sugary with the flesh of autumn
and asks me so much in a sentence of silence
little wonder
that there is more gentle morning crystal
that greets my skin
because even the sunrise
sheds happy tears
at what lies in my heart for you

dulce de brevas

i find her voice
still coats the expanse of my skin
like fresh panela
made with an abuelita’s touch
as the last stars of the night
tip their hats
and somehow
i can tell that she still savors me
like warmed figs upon the tongue
during an autumn chill
her full lips
stretching to tell the oncoming sunrise
‘see? this is how
one remembers a lover’s sweetness.’