Two Poems by Mateo Lara

Brown Scum

 for my Latinx Folks

they say—wetback      they say—beaner        they say—cockroach
or you open mouth     for feeding & tears     fall under calloused tongue.

I’m not usually afraid of punishment but these handcuffs are tight
and those blue eyes shiver straight through me, I’m waiting
for a coyote to terrorize me, my dreams are worry for my
baby sister & every man who waits for flesh & waits for
ideas stewing in the heads of youth like that I wander
in my own remembrance, prickly pickled touch, sour breath
down my back, words and words and words—brown boy
predator to another brown boy, what is this choice
to not be the team they would fear, they say—speak.

they say—not from here           they say—green card              they say—illegal
or you spit into                          the eyes of an enemy              hope the curse takes hold.

follow a swampy river               and follow ancestor                follow muddy sentiment
gather red dust                          gather lizard tail                      gather cacti needle

swindle your way into their world, say yes please thank you can I have one of these
extra sugar extra cream extra please notice that I am what you think I should be
proper speaking this is how we dirty ourselves further though to you I am clean as can

Be.

Abandoned Rules of the Realm

what amazes me is the pit of abandonment
the corkscrew of temperament & a butt-load
of wine and fruit in your mouth, god-awful
scent when you vomit it up & I repent
for allowing you charge in these parts.

what I mean to say is I’m restless
agitated by every haunting every ghost
tired & wanting to fuck like you don’t
want to fuck and I’m disappearing
in each sour breath morning, mourning
your dead stars and the crickets in this place.

I do not miss the cicadas, I miss your eyes
and what exists when I put my fingers
to ice wanting frost to burn
every single print of identity away.

I’m shuffling baggage around like it’s gold
I stripped for the day and counted bleeding
sheep as the wolf waited for me to close
my eyes are herding the last of their lives
I’m stomaching a loss I wish were not here
I’m elsewhere in my dreams with everyone
still alive & beautiful & dazzling like
the way my blood looks after I sprinkle
glitter all over it.