I must run: walking won’t get me there.
Miles must take the place of arms; distance,
embrace. I must run, until I become air.
Conditioning is a whisper on the eyelash
of an eye that doesn’t blink,
afraid of missing seconds pass.
Conditioning is the day spent hinting:
a bee working his wings to slivers,
a life never done with communicating.
I had to run with my Mexico and Ginsberg
tucked under my whiskers, run, and sow asterisks
and metaphors where buttons had fallen off of shirts.
I must run, because all I thirst for
are syllables, and when someone says to me
no vales mierda or Latino? What’s that? I gulp, keep score.
I must run because footprints don’t last long in the sand,
and the desert is larger than people can hurt.
There are days when the sun is a moon I can’t understand.
Conditioning is words spoken, unaware
they, like cars, live broken, in need
of constant repair.
Conditioning is being told to drink only white milk
so that your skin might change; this from someone
whose skin matches yours, down to the guilt.
I must run, or else I’ll always be taking off
my hat in nice neighborhoods, smoothing down my hair,
always trying to look acceptable, but feeling off.