KEMEL ZALDIVAR

 

Wait Till I Tell Daddy

Yeah Dad, I heard that squat son of a bitch wind up,
wind up and flag me good across the butt cheeks.
Then the tall one lashed and he knew
how to swing a whip, nine swine skin thongs
trimmed with twin lead rays flaying broad
across my trapezoid. Then the short one hit,
and the tall one, and he hit, and he hit,
and Israel sung Hossana, falsetto Alleluias
as skin tore, veins and capillaries juiced.
Arteries sprayed as Judea raved and centurions
driveled to naked muscle of whimpering messiah,
backskin red in dancing ribbons, flapping
to Zion's chilly gusts. My flesh was made
an octopus of tissue, so the Italians stopped.

And I slumped to the courtyard, cramping,
cursing, sticky. Centurions sang my kingdom,
robed my wet topography in purple velvet,
tacked some thorny firebranch to my scalp --
veiny as your Hebrews. They shouted,
touting the centurion stour. Stew them
in pogrom, I prayed. Evermore spit baptismal
pogrom -- cook the Levites in rank sulfur,
hurry patience to Armageddon, boil kike
fungus in Gehenna! your hell smear peace.
And they gave me a branch for a scepter,
and bitchslapped me and called me pretty,
then cudgeled my crown with that branch, slurping
when my scalp blood blotted their headgear.

But Dad, I loved Italian virtue, cried Eloi
Eloi Lama Sabachthani and Fuck Elijah!
And tearing my robe off they crabbed the flogging,
stripping blood and serum from suckling clots.
My wounds curdled, caked, were splashed
in lime juice; my eyes gargled crimson.
They membraned my shit-meat to humor
your people, and saddled the cross arm --
the hundred-pound timber gouging the armspan
it would sport. The splintered lumber nested
in your pigeon-king Father! I hit the deck.
Write what you will of my piety, but with Skull
Hill 650 yards away, you think I did not bitch?
Yeah, Mikey and Gabe strained their collars!


Hush

The second the sun cracks the eggshell
of morning, Victoria Kellog is pregnant.
Rolling off your belly, she begs you
for her last Marlboro -- a one hundred --
saying it's girlhood's exclamation point.
You call it a flip-top dawn's sudden I,
the first kicking person your flickers
have lit. This time, she understands,
sees that the ocean is really angry ink,
and that fresh red star the horizon's
pressed point. She roots her ankles
in clumped sand and a crab clamps
her smallest toe. She cocks a flinch.
There is something you'll never know.