the postcard – the ghost of esperanza

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I bought this postcard that reminds me of us.”
A Franz Kline, black against white
Lines spread across the canvass
Chaotic and untamed like me.
A “V” stands firm off-center.
It’s right held up by another reclining line
The black mess underneath make those two lines
look like an “A” and an upside down heart.

I miss the first night I heard your voice.

Once, we talked on the patio of a bar until 6AM
about love, Nixon, and family.
We sat between the picnic tables on astro turf
and my ass went numb.
A little after,
I got you to show me your tattoo
despite all resignation.

We drank and drank until two packs of cigarettes were gone.

I could live in that night.

I could live in you asking me to only speak Spanish to you.

I am drunk in lust for moments well past their expiration date.

If you look at the postcard closer,
the upside down heart looks like a man on his knees
reclined against a wall.
Faceless–
black strokes
blending him into the background.

I melted under the weight of past memories.

All the bad came flooding in after I found a swastika in the elevator of our office.
I was alone and I was scared.
I choked on tears for hours unable to breathe.
Finally, I called you.
You asked all the wrong questions until you asked me what I needed.
I muttered my need.
You couldn’t hear me and asked again.
I said “sorry” and hung up.
I turned off my phone.

I don’t know how to trust.

Despite two months of closeness,
I couldn’t tell you that one time a rich man stole from me.
He wined and dined me
and I liked that he spent more money on me than what I paid in rent my Senior year of college.
I liked it until I woke up naked and bruised
all over with no memories after only 3 drinks.
I couldn’t tell you that this is what I think of with our President-elect.
I didn’t want the story to pour out of me that day.
I was scared if I’d have to hate you
if you ended up being someone who would say something stupid
like having “to know better.”

The woman on the train
said the postcard looks like structure.
She said it was beautiful
Like the black strokes beneath the “V”
were pieces to rebuild with.
She had a warm smile and kind eyes.

We hugged after Vegas.
I drove to San Diego
You called and called me with every mishap before you could get to Los Angeles
The thick of your voice kept me up on the lonesome road as I tried to forget foolish things
Like making you pinkie promise to lean on me the first night we met.
To never work against each other.
You told me to not doubt myself.
We planned to see New Orleans

This postcard reminds me of us.

In Los Angeles, when I called myself a Chicago 9 and a California 7
You corrected me and told me not to be so hard on myself
You ranked me a 9 in California.

We missed being able to smoke inside like we did in Las Vegas.

I asked you if I could stay the night
We played chess and drank whiskey

Infatuation and lust resurface.

The black lines at the top of the postcard show more focus.
The strokes uneven in pressure
Yet firm in direction.

This postcard reminds me of you.

You would not let it happen.
My lips on your shoulder and my fingers entwined in your chest hair
You said “We shouldn’t do it.”
I pressed my lips to your neck and asked, “Why?”

There was no caution there.
You did not waver.

The black strokes at the bottom of the postcard jut out in every direction.
The strokes are aimless and collide into each other
Some stop mid-thought

This postcard reminds me of me.

We slept.
I could not breathe with your hands on me.
I turned away from you.

The white of the upside down heart covers some black.
It tries to cover up mistakes.
The white looks grayer on the right hand side.

This postcard is me.

We didn’t talk about what happened.
I puked two times and you told me I could find grape juice in the fridge.

We never talk about what happens.

We rode to IHOP and every bump made me more nauseous.

The firm strokes at the top are focused,
but not anymore kempt than the rest
They miss filling in spots
They change direction back before they can reach the end of the canvass.

This postcard is you

I can’t remember what we talked about in IHOP
I remember puking a third time and finally feeling like I could eat.
You said I was smiling again so it must have been a good sign.

Outside you told me the lipstick from last night was cracked into my lips and looked terrible.

The white of the canvass isn’t pristine
Shades of gray compliment the strokes
It takes up more space without imposing
The color is dull without the strokes taking up space.

You asked what you could do to be better.

I don’t have an answer for our friendship.

The postcard is brush strokes and pressure
It is hesitation and redirection.
It is structure
And it is impetuous.

I have this postcard for you.

I bought the same one for me.

-The Ghost of Esperanza

SBGS December

Photo: @maiurro

the haunting – the ghost of esperanza

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How do I write that I love you?  How do I say that I love you in a way that doesn’t want to possess you?  When you laugh and your eyes squint it fills me up.  When you look into me, you make me feel seen and alive.  Like I want to feel everything.  Your touch, your gaze, your compassion to all my energy, makes me feel like warming up the world instead of burning it down.  The way you process the world astounds me.  You make me more loving to myself. You challenge me to be better than my bad habits. You challenge my negativity.  I have never felt more love than when I am around you. I feel free and trusted.  You nurture me in a way I have needed.  When you let me in and let me see you, I am recharged.  And I have asked you for deeper.  And I am also scared of deeper because like you I am clumsy until one of us has to be the gentle one with the steadier touch.  You make me secure even when I fear myself.  You’ve helped me see my magic as the reality it is.  And I don’t think that you see that you are magic.  You give me so much life.  I need security.  I desire security that we can’t always guarantee.  You teach me patience with me.

sbgs cowskull

nightmares – ghost of esperanza

ghost yard

I have these recurring dreams of protecting myself

In one, I was hitch-hiking.
I had a purse full of knives in case of danger
I still remember glancing inside my purse trying to determine
Which one would make me the safest?
Which one could I grab the quickest?

I once heard a story of woman hitchhiking
She got picked up by a truck driver who put his hand on her knee
He tried to grab her by the neck and push her face into his crotch
She stabbed him in the leg
and threw the truck into Park
and hopped the fuck out

In my dream, I didn’t need the knives for protection
In my dream, I took the truck

I had a dream
That my brother’s friend took me in when I needed a roof
I told him that I would not hug him
I told him that I would pay him because I didn’t trust a handout
He eyed me like cake
he waited until I was asleep to touch me
He said he only wanted to tickle me
In my dream, I said I didn’t want to be touched or tickled.
In my dream, I put pepper spray can to his face
and said he didn’t get to touch
He said I was cute when I was angry
In my dream, I peppered sprayed the fuck out of his eyes

I had a boyfriend who once gave me a knife to protect myself
He said he never wanted a bad thing to ever happen to me again
He yelled at me the day I forgot to carry it in my bra
He yelled at me that same day for trying to say “no” to him
He was proud when I remembered the knife
He was surprised when I held up the knife to protect myself after he broke down the door
He was stronger when he wrestled the knife out of my hand
and showed me in the mirror how you hold a knife
to someone’s throat
MY THROAT
my blood on the floor
He instructed me to clean myself up

I broke a mirror and fled
that wasn’t a dream
it was a living nightmare

I have this dream that I don’t carry all this anxiety
That I don’t have to think of the best ways to protect myself
That I can walk around
and not be so goddamn scared

sbgs cowskull

submit to south broadway ghost society.