Pirates

White men tryna kill my mother –

my mamasita.

Not with guns,

not with knives,

but with paper.

 

It’s like they comin’ for us.

 

They know I’ve wet my toes in middle class waters,

coming from a pair of sneakers a year,

hand me downs, and a brown box from the church,

full of plain white boxes and cans –

labeled simply “pasta” or “beans”.

 

They know I’ve been waist deep in it now.

That I like to return inland,

return home,

to share the treasures I’ve earned.

 

They’ve found us out, mama!

They’ve seen our last names!

They call me a spy because I look like I belong there.

 

They comin’ to murder us with paper!

To murder all the landlubbers who will never know of the untold riches

lying beneath the depths of the sea!

As if being driven out of Bushwick wasn’t enough,

they want to take her plastic,

her Capecitabine, her Lapatinib,

her paper.

 

They comin’ inland, mama –

to force us all to walk the plank

and blame the sharks.

Tell daddy to grab the pitchfork!

Save all our paper and plastic,

before they set it on fire!

 

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  July 2017

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I’ve got a lot of rage from keeping up with the news as of late – Republicans literally willing to murder just to undo what their predecessor put in place. Disgusting. The poem’s self explanatory.

 

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Broadway Junction

Broadway Junction

Going to Broadway Junction used to be like the beginning of a fantasy novel.

“Only the very brave or the very foolish
dare venture
to the Junction.”

“Our kind are not welcome
by folks who dwell in the depths of Brooklyn.”

“Few of us journey there and ever return!”

“Take care on your travels and be wary of monsters.”

Red and blue warbled the walls where my cousins slept
away from the windows.

I remember the relief my family had whenever I returned.
My limb inventory was successful and yet,
each time I came home, I was a little more jaded
than the last.

Like a war journalist who managed to survive the trenches
and lived to tell the tale.

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  July 2017

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Broadway Junction used to be a dangerous place, but then again, so did Bushwick. How the times have changed.

Time

Time

How can we buy time,

if time is money

and we have so much of it

that’s free?

 

How can we have all the time in the world,

if time waits

for no one?

 

It dulls words

not bound by paper

or laced in song.

Subtly,

with calculated clips.

 

Lachesis snuffs out the string

starting at the start

before she hands the scissors

to an excited Atropos.

 

Time is selfish and greedy.

Especially to those who don’t heed it’s presence.

Those who kill time

instead of those who make time.

 

The time is ripe –

is now –

to have the time of our lives

until the end.

The end of time.

 

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  July 2017

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Bushwick Baby

Bushwick Baby

Bushwick baby

used to “Como ‘ta linda?”,

used to “yo ma” me,

when I was peligrosa

and a saggin’ slim used to wink “What’s poppin’?”

on Stockholm and Wyckoff.

 

Keys rained with box stitches and Chinese staircase lanyards

from second stories,

where stoops were sold out from Bedford to Halsey.

Before 358 Grove was whitewashed next to White Castle.

 

When I was rubia in the bodegas.

Willoughby used to “ey yo” me with a bottle of Bacardi while going limb by limb.

They rocked door knockers on Knickerbocker

and doors were knockin’ with “Dios te bendiga” damas

who called me nena and asked me to pray for knocked up primas.

 

Solo para mi gente would dale don dale down Wilson

when banderas marched on the wind.

Back when Jazzy Jazzed and S&M had a quarter zoo.

Greene was in loving memory with a Woody Cartoon.

Do you remember?

Before it caught Alzheimers and forgot it’s roots,

Bushwick used to hoot and holla.

Now Bushwick has forgotten all my monickers,

made me a stranger,

when it used to call me familia.

 

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  May 2017

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I actually wrote this one 2 months ago and was struggling with how to close the poem. Finally managed to wrap it up and found the motivation to update my poetry blog.

If you grew up in Bushwick in the 90’s/2000’s, then some of this may be familiar. When I think of my childhood, I think of all the Spanish speaking residents in the neighborhood, and the sounds of the language, the music. I think of summer bringing everyone outside to the streets, on the stoops, playing dominos, buying from the pidaqua stands and dancing. Sure, there were some dangerous sides to the neighborhood as well, but the culture was really something before gentrification swept in. I’ll never forget it…

The Past

The Past

It’s where you wander when you’re lost
because it’s deep and familiar.
The end is visible although not really an end,
but where you started.

It’s easy to try all the abandoned roads
than to leave and instead go
to the one place where the only road is forward.

It’s easy to be lost in a place where lost is the only destination.
And if you’re not careful,
you’ll never be able to escape.

– Rachel R. Vasquez,  October 2016

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Something I wrote in October and realized was still in my drafts. Tweaked and published.

Seasonal Poems

Seasonal Poems

Fall Trees

The blond-ing rabble make a few flush ruddy

enough to shed hay.

Crowns burning like brand new copper pennies.

Some with flaxen weeping heads,

drumming fingers or knobby sockets.


Spring Trees

Spring is like a post-wedding afternoon.

Branches brushed with bursting party poppers,

swooning mops,

dabbed and dotted with earlobes and cotton balls,

below bellowing blossoms and star fall paddling in the breeze.

 


– Rachel R. Vasquez, October 2016

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Weather Poems

Weather Poems

December’s confused.

Trees like bulging veins,

blighting silver skies.

Clawing angrily for blankets

on unsalted grounds,

and toothless winds.


 

Lace-less buildings

and unglazed streets!

Exposed knees,

and clip-less teeth!

Frost-less windows are causing distress!

The season’s in limbo,

and the trees undressed!


 

The mist polishes us ’till we glisten.

Until the roads mirror like diorite –

Until the white creeps up the glass –

Until we shiver into lisps,

and our cheeks florid.


 

– Rachel R. Vasquez, February 2016

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