alexandre arnau

Rookie (9.26.72 -? / new york city)

Por Mis Padres (For My Parents) - Poem by alexandre arnau

i die every day
just to die again
tomorrow
that's how it is
with people like me
it was that way
for my parents
when they came
to this country
decades of death
just to do it again
the next day

my father
luis
who learned english
from comic books
and was raised
on the streets
of a country town
died as a child
then died when
he left home
died a thousand times
in the u.s. army
and died when he came
to new york
he kept all
the obituaries
to read them
at his next funeral

my mother
lilliam
died when she left
her home
to escape an
arranged marriage
she died when
she came to new york
and had to rely
on relatives
to eat
and took her own life
when her father
stopped speaking
to her
she dragged her
headstone
to every job interview

when they met
i'm sure they forgot
they were in hell
and became
happy phantoms
they died again
two immigrants
and were born
as one
in america

but hell
is still hell
even with love
and the fires burn
hotter for it
and no love
can pay bills
keep the lights on
feed baby
and work comes slim
por los boricuas
with nothing
to show
but a culture
that defines them

apartments kept warm
with open stoves
baths with water
borrowed from
the neighbors
and government cheese
they give to
political prisoners
killed my parents
on a daily basis

my father
luis
driving cabs
and getting killed
at the dispatch
my mother
lilliam
dying in the kitchen
for the few times
they spent together
my father
greeting death at the door
every night he came home
and my mother
sweeping death
before too much collected

some days
they would yell
at each other
and remember
they were alive
but death always
was waiting
in the lobby
downstairs

through years
of climbing
and fighting
death became
a way of living
and saw them
through school
where they earned
their degrees
so they could teach
america's children
how to live

now
they sit
on their farm
enjoying their life
and laughing at death
because they know
his face
well enough
to greet him at
the door
invite him in
offer him some coffee
or maybe some pasteles
and enjoy
and appreciate
the time spent
in his company

just as i
sitting here now
appreciate it
as i prepare
to die tonight

tomorrow is another
birth

and another
chance

to

live


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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 17, 2005



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