H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Me No Habla Spic


I remember one afternoon in soho

sitting on the sidewalk

with my long-haired cat harry

single and care-free

showing my beautiful pet to the world

people passing by, saying

what a cute spic


I remember my first day of my first job after college

running to catch the subway

wearing a maroon vest on a spring morning

passing under a pigeon’s butt

dropping a wet one on my back, giving me

an aura I’d never live up to, people whispering on the platform,

what a cute spic


I remember my first poem

at an open mike, the host

announcing my name among the many

the crowd holding their applause

the bartender, the muse in the bathroom

the clergy at the front table, gathered in judgement

of a cute spic


I remember my first connection

between artifice and libido after my first show and tell

weaving that tendril of libertine inhalation

through the temporary airspace of second grade

my wet-spot palpable, little Veronica in polka dots

playing horsie with my hankie, thinking

what a cute spic


I remember the late night drink

set-up by the

morning phone call on tenth street & avenue a

playing strip scrabble

on PCP, running out of letters

before socks, until the only words left were

what and cute


I remember my first assignment to compose a lecture

as a visiting professor, choosing as my topic

the apparent-only-to-me similarities between futurism’s early fulcrum parades

and the first migration of nuyoricans, prompting the class

to pick through the paper’s remains, leaving no grace or misguided flower child unlit

which subsequently sparked the chair of the department from her throne

to admonish, why bother with spic when the sixties have passed


I remember the city I love

reflected in plate glass

on a monday morning in midtown

jackhammers and blue skies

pierced though Chrysler, scraping miles

above the seething rush, breathless and barking

in unison, what a cute spic


I remember having the chance

to perform for the king

and my drummer using lipstick

to write a message on the king’s giant ass

while I kept dancing, the audience

howling in underwear

that matched the failure of a cute spic


I remember a girl with my last name

who came up to me after a show

to tell me how

lots of people with my last name were watching me now

and that I needed to be responsible now

all the while me looking at her legs

thinking, what a cute spic


I remember my sisters

teaching me how to dance salsa

when I was in junior high

the hips following an island I’d never been on

politely holding my hand out

could I have this dance, my sister’s knowing

tease, why yes you cute spic


I remember holding an umbrella for Debbie

in 7th grade after a dance

waiting for the bus, my first act

of chivalry before acne

the hot girl in class, under my umbrella

not looking or saying a word, on a rainy school night, but I’m sure

thinking, what a cute spic


I remember my uncle

taking me to cover a wedding, my main job

to hold the flash and eat free food

his humor continuing through the music that looked

and tasted like butter or was that cheese

on the car ride back, laughing non-stop at his own puerile stream

and me thinking, what a cute spic


I remember the audience levitating in the middle of a poem

just one mic on a slightly raised platform and me

shapeshifting through eyesight, the sound out of my pupils

blurred in an ocean of green effervescent inertia, the shapeless horde

hovering through the unbelievably intact embryonic fluid

of a star cluster’s dna spiral, my spic-ness re-sourced

as kinetic quasars through light years of fragile diplomacy

thinking, it doesn’t get any spic’er than this


I remember re-reading every email I sent

to feel as if I were the person

receiving my own words, basking in their clever reach

to feel the warmth of many messages

from many people, all of them me

a conglomerate of sinewy desperation

wrapped up in the viral opportunity of a cute spic


I remember carpet burns in the mail room

after months of talking a good game

finally having to prove to the well-equipped secretary

that of course I’d done it before, the cleaning lady

walking in on bone and flesh

pulled down to my...oh, is that, pardon...

my cute, whoah


I remember the need to keep secrets

and hold onto something

that no one else had, just to own something,

until my tummy hurt

and the stain that followed explained

a backlog of excess discolored by the lifelong

incineration of a cute spic


I remember performing a butoh dance

wearing nothing but a thong and black body paint,

an enigma hiding in full view

my older girlfriend’s friend in the audience

confirming hydraulic suspicion

both of them

nodding, cute and hmmm


I remember changing the lightbulb

for a smaller girl on the lower e

my long frame standing on a wooden crate

after a few bong hits, her hands

holding me steady by the hips

my belt lined-up with her brow, her lips

mouthing out, wota keyute spike


I remember skinny dipping

in an ocean after a reading and thinking

this feels great but first I need to get a reading

near an ocean for this to ever happen

as the naked yoga doppleganger compared tree

postures in the moonlight to my exposed id

while remaining balanced by the chant of speak with spic


I remember being trapped

by stanza and convention

where words had been withdrawn

from the vault of language I maintain

as an obelisk for rhizomic displays

of rendered territory flared into the stigma

of a tediously benign cute spic


I remember getting 50 cents

stolen from me by the bully

down the block, seeing an easy mark

in high-water pants with freshly bought Matchbox racer

held tight in my pocket, praying

he wouldn’t force my hands out, laughing, as I walked off

to his bully friend, yo spic you think that’s cute, punch


I remember being seduced

by the stage

wearing industrial foam on my head

while a ping pong ball

made its way from throat to hand

as my disembodied voice emerged through my rectum

offering the boatman’s dilemna, how much for a cute spic


I remember running from a mouse

into the beehive

of a pajama party crosstown

slipping under the covers

before knowing what to do there

spooning in the wrong position while

fingering the button of a cute spic


I remember waking up one morning

from uneasy dreams and finding myself

transformed in my bed

into a giant cucaracha helpless on my back

draped under a flag of colors and shapes

I couldn’t pronounce, my mom opening the shutters

letting the sun in, saying, oh what a beautiful spic


I remember the best of times

the worst of times, the age of wisdom

the age of foolishness, the epoch of disbelief, the season

of hope, the winter of despair, the morning of cocochi, having

everything before us, nothing direct to heaven

going the other way in short...the noisiest authority insisting

on the superlative degree comparable only to the tale of a cute spic


I remember the conceit of discovering

a catch-phrase built around identity

and how fleeting the prospect

of a fused mass, guided by skincolor before brainpower

the astral dimensions inherent

in a dna of parable presenting the overwhelming

differences that claim how the one is cute before the one is spic


I remember finding a banana peel

under a year’s worth of newspapers, my refrigerator

duct-taped shut so I wouldn’t be tempted to store even more

unopened containers and my sports jacket

ironed along a complication of creases to better present an

immaculately pressed emblem of normalcy

to the world outside my congested walls, what, a cute spic


I remember meeting the person I would spend my life with

and not knowing until years later

that I knew my life had just been completed

the first moment our eyes met

but not knowing that moment would not be realized

until many years after, lost in the time travel of love’s engaged mess

by sonatas both cute and incomplete


I remember thinking I needed a format

to contain my writing and in the process

stumbling upon a giant machine that would one day

dictate to the world how to think and compose

sentences by stealing what had been written

and rearranging a sense of magnificence with a sense

of boredom into the, by now, stock regurgitations of a cute spic


I remember sitting in soho

with my two-year old son

surrounded by expensive buildings

where there used to be none, the world passing

me, just thankful to get some rest

in the sun’s imperfections, the people

ooh’ing and ahhh’ing...what a cute spic



[Taken from Edwin Torres’ Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press, 2013). Used by permission of the author. Originally published in NHS 2013, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/_special_edition_nhs_2013/]