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Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
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So Quietly

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

 

Every night the moon takes off its clothes.

Sweet Jane sits by the fire and like the

moon she is exposed.  The little stars

twinkle.  The bleeding heart belongs to

Rose, a dark purple bruise in her eyes,

the wall rearranged her pretty nose.

Angel never looked so beautiful,

tattoos of butterflies on her back.

One night the wings were cut and she died.

So quietly the moon flashed its lights.

Gone is the innocence of past days.

So quietly Sweet Jane falls apart.

Young Rose stands in the rain dressed for work.

But nobody is out tonight.   The

life Rose leads was not her dream.   Somehow

that dream took a trip up to the moon.

Lovely Angel led a quiet life,

resembling that of a saint.   But lives

go changing in hard times and quiet

lives end up in dark rooms, alley ways,

as moonlight burns malevolently.

In Her Shoes

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

In her shoes

are the stains of life.

In the streets

she soaks up humanity

in violent bursts.

In her heart

ordinary light is

dark and gray.

Spring is winter

and sleep is short.

Every road

is empty.  Everything

is empty.  The grass

is yellow everywhere.

The sun burns stronger.

No one is trustworthy.

Clocks make her sad.

 

 

Under a Green Moon

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Under a green sky

Lorca’s ghost runs with the bulls.

At night the green moon

lights the streets of Seville with

its polished eye.  The
green stars shine down on Lorca’s

ghost.  His dark round eyes

fill with water.  Under the

green moon the ghost of

Lorca tripped on a branch.  He

stood up, smiling and

brushing his arms, feeling no pain.

 

The Book of the Dead

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

In death I find a dead world

where the only book on the

shelf is The Book of the

Dead, which was written by

Death, the leader of this

dead world. Death's book

is long. It contains riddles

and the hymns of slaves.

There are bones on the

cover and a black pen.

The ace of spades is on

the back cover. An Indian

man is pictured with Death.

Oxen are depicted pulling

a cart filled with hundreds

of dead bodies. The words

are difficult to understand.

It would take a thousand

years to understand Death's

language. There are no trees

in this world. No flowers

grow here. There is no honey.

No sweet taste is found here.

Death caresses no one.

It treats the dead savagely.

There are plenty of stones

here. In this world Death

watches over everything.

It inflicts sorrow and pain

upon every single soul.

Death dances with its goat-

face as the dead wail and

moan.  Death slings mud

at the dead. Beauty is an

accident here. The words

in The Book of the Dead

are older than time itself.

There is no word for light.

There is no fruit to eat.

An old dog follows Death

around. With steel teeth

the old dog eats. The Book

of the Dead is thousands of

pages long. It depicts Death's

passion for pain and sorrow.

That is all Death knows.

 

 

 

 

Spring Flowers at Night

 

 

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

 

 

 

I spent winter

planting trees

 

till my hands bled

into the snow.

 

I dreamt of spring

flowers at night.

 

I was behind

on the rent.

 

The flowers wilted

and birds pecked

 

out my eyes and

flew away singing.

 

 

 

The Old Man

 

 

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

 



Over there

the old man is putting up signs.

The air reeks.

The old man is crying and shouting.

 

His cries go

unheeded. Losing his sight

he still tries

to wake up the dead in their graves.

 

The flowers

bloom all around. The old man

tries to breathe

before his soul is taken away.

 

He reaches

for his heart. The wind starts up.

Death sits at

a freshly dug out grave. A puddle

 

of water

forms up to the old man’s knees.

Stray crows hack

from the branches of the willow trees.

 

His brown eyes

fill with worry. The old man quietly

puts up with

death, who has a dry sense of humor.

 

 

 

The Eternal Sleepers

 

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

The sleepers dream eternally

in their graves. They lie still.

They only open their eyes in

dreams. The sky is not at

all stable. The clouds burst.

The disfigured bodies of

the sleepers cannot hear

the rain. They do not turn

in their graves. They dream as

the flow of rain falls like

stones. The sleepers do not

rise up. For centuries the

thunderbolts fall around them

like the violent words of gods.

 

 

Shattered Thoughts

 

by

 

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal



These shattered thoughts

left my mind dry.

I felt dumb, but it was

more like stupid.

I could not calm

my thoughts. They were

loose. The full moon stared and

stared at me. I

felt like a child.

Constellations

shattered like my thoughts. My

brows wrinkled up.

 

Each minute I

buried a corpse

 

that looked just like me.

 

 

I Thought of You

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal



I thought of you
like ice or a
cold winter day.

Your bare feet, blue
like a vein, half-
dead, lost in sleep;

like stars without
dazzle or a
snow-capped mountain.

Your dress matched your
eyes. You looked
cold with a

faraway stare.
At night there
were no bright stars.

You were like a
snowman left
to melt, a cold

stone.  I never
knew where you
left the old you. In

your cold room like
snow you left
a window open.

 

Big Gulp

 

By

 

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

I woke up without hands.

My arms were missing too.

I cursed at the sky and

the clouds burst into me.

 

I took a big gulp and drank

the rain.  I spit it out in

disgust.  I cursed at the

clouds in the sky and wept.

 

I walked from town to town.

Drops of rain followed me.

I imagined it was wine

 

and I became drunk with

rain.  I walked unsteadily.

I felt my heart in my feet.

 

 

MAD BIRD

 

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

It seems like I’m closing windows

to keep the ghosts out and the mad

bird that wants to poke out my eyes.

That’s its cure for insomnia.

I’m leaning on falling asleep.

I’m closing the curtains to keep

the pest out. The bird is coming

after me. It’s closing in like

dawn. My blood runs hot and cold. I

stretch out my arms and let it come.

The bird is tapping at my door.

Its shadow left the patio.

The ghosts have come inside as well.

The bird is closing in. It taps

upon my eyes. The life inside

goes blind. The window is broken.

Loneliness takes a hold of me.

My eyelid closes. The bird flies

out the broken window into

the bleak dawn. I awake rested.

I feel a little tired. I feel

a little sad. The bird took one

of my eyes just because it could.



MAD DOGS

 

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

Mad dogs used to be puppies.

They grew up and went wild.

They turned rabid and out of

control. They bit their tails off.

 

Mad dogs went straight to hell.

They ripped apart their dreams.

They did not sell their souls to

no one. They did not have to.

 

Mad dogs drank the wine and

ate the cork. They ate the glass

from the broken bottle and

sweetened their blood with wine.

 

Mad dogs took the road most

perilous and came out on top;

although there was little to

celebrate or rejoice in.


 

 

 

THE DOLL

 

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

In the winter darkness

a child ghost wept.

Her feet were swift.

Her hands were cold.

She covered ground

without a sweat.

In the rain she glowed.

Each time she crept

up to the window

she looked so sad

when she looked inside.

She wanted to play

with the toys she saw.

 

Her voice was silent.

She tried pushing out

a scream. She liked

the doll most of all.

She tried to open

the door, but she did

not have the strength.

She did not know how

to go through doors or

walls. The doll stared

back at her without

emotion. The child

ghost wanted to play

with the doll and feel

alive once again.

 

 

 

THE WOMAN ON THE TRAIN

 

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

I knew this woman.

Perhaps I met her on a train.

Maybe she was a passenger

traveling in the same direction

I was going.  Sometimes it was

cold outside and we talked about

the weather.  Sometimes it was hot

and we talked about the heat.

We talked about the trees and

the incessant noise of birds.

She talked about the flowers

in her garden and somehow

the conversation stopped.

The trains wheels screeched

and the scent of nicotine filled

the air.  The nights grew long

and the days grew heavy.

Many nights she would not be

on the train.  Many days I was

the lone passenger.  After a

thousand days and a thousand

nights, I saw the woman standing

on the platform.  She took a

different train and I was no longer

sure if I knew her.  She traveled

to different places and I remained

in the same town, always.

If she could only remember

who I was, perhaps the talks

we had of winter, she would

be a passenger on my train again.

We would talk like we always talked

about the injustice in our lives,

about the sadness of being alone,

holding back our tears.  Perhaps

the train would come to a screeching

halt and we would step out into the city

and have a drink. We would talk about

our youth when the blues were just

blue skies and we had the desire to live

lives not so frenetic.  We would look out

the window and shout out and laugh

as the train left the station for good.

 

 

 




playdead2.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel © 2017

PLAY DEAD

 

By

 

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

 

When I dream, I play dead.

I play a joke on myself.

It is a dangerous game.

I take a poison pill.

I am always freeing

myself in my dreams.

I live a new life.  I feel

more than mortal. I tire

of struggling through life.

I put my head in the clouds.

I see the immensity of

the world. I slip into

darkness. I play dead.                                                                                   

I always come back to life.

I wish you could join me

when I rest in peace.

 

 

 

 


intraffic.jpg
Art by W. Jack Savage © 2018

IN TRAFFIC

 

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

 

The mountains stand like a painting.

The birds fly over it.

Nowhere man is stuck in traffic

feeling blue over what could have been.

 

The mind thinks crazy things, so crazy

that one could be considered mad.

There is a cloud in the horizon that

will quench the mountain and make

the birds rejoice and disperse.

 

There is an exit coming up ahead.

It looks like it is jammed as well.

In traffic one can daydream a little

and listen to the radio. There are songs

that will make you happy and songs

that will make you sad. It is strange

how a young man grows old in traffic.

 

 

 

 

Luis works in the mental health field in Los Angeles CA. He was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.  His first poetry book, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His latest poetry publication, Make the Light Mine, came out in 2016 from Kendra Steiner Editions https://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/new-poetry-chapbook-from-luis-cuauhtemoc-berriozabal-make-the-light-mine-kse-364/. Recently, he had poems published in Ristau, Commonline Journal, Mad Swirl, and Red Fez.

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