PoetryTwo Poems

by Mike Soto


[Looking to get my name written on]

Looking to get my name written on 
a tiny skull, I chose Consuelo's instead. 
Paid the vendor with a hole in his hand, 

that coin slot bribed barely, but this time 
for good. Walked away from his smile,
let the sugar dissolve on my tongue, 

& soon enough a town that survives 
like a fire at the bottom of an ocean 
became a memory of the future: 

where a gate keeps the lunatic eyes from trotting down, 
where the feast wolves want in the yards is bound to happen, 
where the wind that trickles down-hill to breeze through 
plumage is God, 
& branches hold the sleeping hens that blink in & out 
of my dreams like devices. 


Ampersand Kings

The stones we skipped, cymbals 
struck for every step we walked 

them on the water, the ringing trails 
& turns we took dedicating throws– 

this one for El Mero Leon Del Oscuro, 
& Gusano del Cielo, & Nariz de Estrella, 

this one for Conejo Negro, & Chupatierra, 
& Chapo the first Topo of drug lords– 

& kept tossing until we saw nothing 
but silver on the belly of the stream, 

until the lack of light became a lack 
we unlearned, & we were ampersand 

kings, & when one of our throws ramped 
the water to reach the other side, the other 

side became possible, lit with the eyes 
of shadows that started barking 

or laughing– we couldn't tell, & always 
assumed the golden throw a stolen 

piece of our broken angel's head. 


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