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All Systems Go

ISSUE:  Fall 2023

The “Lyric I” tied its sheets together and flew the coop, confessed itself off the balcony.
Who isn’t shocked by the prepandemic muse? Of the undisturbed white gaze before

it was white guilt, carving an offensive nature poem into a tree, which symbolizes
whatever they please? Here’s my Ars Poetica: There are crows feet at the crux of every I,

and if Instagram or an old man tells me what isn’t poetry, we have a Houston. You see,
the gate keeps itself rusty to insure that when one squeezes through, the iron screams

in pain. I summon the brujas: Dalton and Diaz, Cisneros and Anaya to board the shifty boat
we paddle with fury, despite the water’s gaze. For example,

no matter how much I knead the dough and monitor its rising, my experience
will be neatly Saran Wrapped by an arts school when I mark Latinx—akin

to some dystopian video-game character. I select player 2: Melissa Lozada-Oliva,
who packs a great combo punch with Zamora and my eldest prima. O, little journals,

jumpy Q&A hosts, this game of chicken is now properly seasoned.
Adrienne Rich once said poetry is made to exist and not to accomplish, so my fist

can un-bloody. But what if the ocean pulled back at its white moon? I’m all talk.
My microaggressive ghosts congratulate me with surprise, recite their NPR like rosaries

because everyone is always the good guy, and that Ferris wheel keeps turning.
The day we rid a system is like the day I stood at the edge of a harbor

hitting fruit off the pier with my heaviest golf club, taking turns with each arm,
swinging and swinging, watching those apples burst into a good oblivion.


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