Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Poem #31 of 365

I didn't mind that you phoned
it's just that i was busy
with a woman and some food
having to hide her in the closet
having to chop on the cutting board.

It was great that you noticed
enough to make you curious
and when you whizzed past
this concrete block my subtle
dog had a premonition.

Please call again or let me
hear your song whittle
at the tempered solid steel
of the buttered quelling
chambers of my heart.

after a dream of R.W.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Poem #30 of 365

i summoned you priestess (or b.c.'s friend request)

today i submitted
my latest anthology
(i published, i edited)
to a competition
on a deadline

and was rushing
through my house
to find the perfect
packaging for the
5 sample copies
i had to include.

i reached for a
box, a perfect-sized
box, which had been
on a shelf for whoknows

i froze the moment
when i saw your name
and return address label
on the back panel.

and i kept still, noticing
the dust that had collected
on the box flap, and wondering
where you could be
why time had elapsed

since our last talk.

still thinking of you,
i inked lines from
a sharpie
across your name
your address

feeling such regret
and a sadness too

for even marking over
your name on an old
priority box
seemed an
unfriendly offense.

AND then, 6 hours hence,
i am seeing this picture
of you on my screen,
and that skirt
that recycled skirt

that been-to-Himalayas

just twists my mind in
leaps of surprise
and glee.

some things have to be
brought back again
taken off the shelf
brung back to the valleys
of reconsideration

and there
so there

you are.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Monday, January 29, 2007

Poem #29 of 365

Throw your guts to the wind
be the life of a dewdrop
wrestle with the lawn
toss yourself about.

Why worry the witnesses
stifling their own sacred shrieks
in diaries of oblivion?

Press play on all the panels
and lift your tongue to every sip
wiggle your mind
in the mud of curiosity.

When did you give your
body to the taxidermist
stuffing you with empty pomp?

Drink to your soul's extent
so you can drive under the
influence of dreamy thoughts
with your headlight eyes.

What gain you suffer as
you exchange a life of
excruciating ecstasy
for moribund passivity.

Drink, toss, wiggle, throw
yourself a life!

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Poem #28 of 365

"you know so much about the blues."

she pursed her lips speaking that color.

"you know so much, them blues
gonna just rub up off on you."

still, her lips needed no primping.
the color just stuck.

"one day you gonna be at the bluebird,
with them blues socking yo' ears
and you ain't gonna hear the bell
marking your time to pass"

smacking them lips, sucking some
back teeth, she made a smuglike noise.

"and all them pallbearers gonna be
wondering why they arms don't be hurtin',
it's cuz you stuck back there still
listenin' to some blues off 'n there"

she smile big now, her lips pushed
back, and red color on her teeth.

"we all gonna be laughing, say how you
missed a free ride to allelujah cuz you got
held back diggin' them beat black blues, and
the ole preacher left to pray over
an empty pine box"

her mouth all open, head throwed back
and neck wide as earth.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Poem #27 of 365

A metal bracelet upon your wrist
is the worst choice for advocacy
and advice. When Jesus lived upon
this soil, if indeed he ever did, i'm
sure he never counted on mass-
marketed gimmick jewelry to stir
his movement, impel his compliance.

One day you'll have a meltdown, probably
in the heat of a Texas summer, and said
bracelet will irk and scald you, seizing
you with impatient wrath and undecorous
foul-mouth obscenities. How would
Jesus cuss? How would he flip us off?

I choose to wear no mentor's emblem
upon my arm, and no acronyms
of self-righteousness emblazon
my fashion accessories. I simply have
two simple symbols at hand, subtle
on my tabletop tonight:

a gilded decal of a green Ganesh
and a photostat of Cornel West.
West-Ganesh, they check my shit.
A radical scholar and a beloved
Hindu god, they keep me on point.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poem #26 of 365

When your eyes are sanpaku
i want to order more migas
make sure you fill your belly
and mostly i want you to face
down, upon the plate, so i
don't have to be frightened by
your stare,

And what it has to say. You
were only in for 10 hours, and
it was small bail we had to pay,
yet your irises float in that
alarming way i've seen in the
eyes of the most disturbed men
among us.

If you might choose to do a handstand,
tumble down the levee at the park, perhaps
your eyes would reset themselves, and
your woeful thoughts would be turned right,
so you wouldn't have to be so frantic
in your psychic layers and i could
let go of the tablecloth at breakfast.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Poem #25 of 365

Prostitutes arguing about love in jail
is about as poignant


T kicking S in the head
to protest escalations in violence

is credible.

(with a nod to Hal Hartley and our sordid, sooted past)

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Poem #24 of 365

random stacks
invade my house:
treatises, how-to handouts,
handbills, and just bills.

the paper ephemera
of my adult existence.

who knew that so many
news clippings could
take up so much room,
and my only solution
seems to be to
just stop reading.

all this information
just floors me.

with dust and cat hair all around.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Poem #23 of 365

Serena sat on her
fecal impaction
in the other
room whilst i
sudsed dishes
in another.

Sobbing boo hoos were heard
over the tv screams
and i didn't even
rivet my spine.

Though i did cock
my head a bit for
enhanced audio definition.

Another client came
to verify. She's okay,
but you better walk over
there anyway, or she might
not ever cut out her crying.

Okay, what's wrong, Serena?
That house, burning on the
tv, makes me remember the
house I lived in when we
was little. Through
yellow wet eyes she said this.

A minute later, my hands
are dipped in the sink,
and she's screaming with
laughter about a joke
over a cigarette or the tv
story and whatever else has
gotten tangled up in the
eaves of her mind.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Monday, January 22, 2007

Poem #22 of 365

When she breathed
into her sacrum
there was a scorch
under her,
a chair that squeaked
in the room
drawing fast attention

But she breathed once
more and turned her
head for accents
in the inhalation
as she watched the
exceed the animal

Ah, she intervened
how can i be panting
atop a clockface when
so many underfoot
furried things
are darkening my walk:

Go to the light, breathe
in like butane, follow
the flame, and all will
be made right.

Facile nonsense, a pithy
remedy of syllables never
cured a cancer. how can
you begin to believe that
ranting run-on
sentences can tithe
a tidy mortal sum?

I give up, i won’t breathe,
if that helps you come to
mind, but lung alert
on suffering can one day
sound the dawn.


(a 4-minute poem)

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Poem #21 of 365

B spoke of Eve and evil
and gave us an apple

I circled the table
before reciting
making sure the
wine was out of reach.

Layne wore her
dress split open
for effect or for
expanded waist.

The food looked
brilliant laid all
out, yet i chose
to have no taste.

S set up the slides
to show, her drawings
took nine years.

The women all
assembled there,
well, some were moved
to tears.

The few bold men who
deigned come in
had luck if they were single,

For as a sweet minority
that night
enjoyed the mingle.

J himself was swarmed by
girls as his smile put them
at ease,

He drank no wine, nor
spun no tales, but the
ladies he did please.

We sang for love, and cried
for rights, and justice mercy too.

This Saturday soiree for grrls
did more than benefit a few.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Poem #20 of 365

War-Bungled Anthem
(to the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner)

O say can you sing
such a difficult song

for the words to it now
are so devoid of meaning

if you think about it
it’s an unusual song

for the words make no sense
cuz a drunkard he wrote them

and you want to believe
this song reflects our lives
but the truth stares us down
cuz hypocrisy’s gleaming

o someday
they’ll find out
war is
not so noble

and the citizens will rise
to sing
of peace

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Friday, January 19, 2007

Poem #19 of 365

I called his name
twice aloud,
and his classmates
offered explanation.

He is always late.
He never comes on time.

When he finally slouches
in, bypassing me with
a stride of expectant

I call him to my table,
insist on proprieties,
look into his eyes,
and he returns the respect.

I count him present,
give him a chance,
as he brings a chair
away from the others
to sit near me.

When it's time to do
work, I tell him to
distribute the papers,
which he does with
a relaxed smile,

He says, I've never been
asked to do this before.
And I let it slide, opt
not to share a favored quote *

with this
discarded boy
who just minutes before
was labeled gangster, bad.

* "Every human being is worth more than the worst thing they ever did." - Sister Helen Prejean, anti-death penalty activist and author, DEAD MAN WALKING.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Poem #18 of 365

A week of watching wig films,
those charming Brit flicks
from archaic times,
along with hearing
so many proper English
quiply elegant
acceptance speeches
on Golden Globes night

inspires me to squat
too long
in the mega-book mart
reading article
upon article
about Martin Amis
in publications

Quite so.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Poem #17 of 365

When the bit of Grace
on the table
splays out and wide

it is imperative
to speak a prayer
a beseeching psalm,
a promise tryst.

When the bite of Grace
on my hand
brings blood to bear

it is insolence
to complain my cries
a simpering sob
a plaintive mist.

Why bite back
and spew my rage
and drag all manner
of backs to fore.

Why indeed
should I implore
redress and recompense
of lost to me.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Poem #16 of 365

you prefer to confront
and i like to whisper
into the conch of their mind

you prefer to hammer
and i do the tapping
as finger on heart

you prefer to threaten
and i give them words
on a forgiveness receipt

how we fight our battles
how we storm our love

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Monday, January 15, 2007

Poem #15 of 365

America showed up onstage
the audience applauded
and the women wept

We want America to win
to persevere, to grow
and be proud of herself

It has been a long time
coming for America;
she hasn't always
been so supported.

America, she won
the Golden Globe
for best actress
in a tv comedy series.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Poem #14 of 365

heavy when

it always
that they


copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Poem #13 of 365

what god giveth, the
web taketh away, as
he wiped chardonnay
frm his chin again.

so, oh, you against
the premise of open source

he interrupted with
unscheduled burp, no,
theoretically, i'm not.
i mean, it's a good,
good samaritan,
level the playing field
type of worthwhile thing
to be after.

so, huh, you are
for it but yet not or

he doesn't let her finish
a sentence, as he takes
her elbow by the elbow
and spoke
i don't mind sharing
i just don't want the whole
wide world knowing that
i shared

with that
in tiptoe quiet steps
they left the bedroom
and moved back into
the din of the den
of the party

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poem #12 of 365

In the drizzly lunch hour,
i spill don't-get-lost crumbs
on the streets as i curl
and curve away from
yet another public school.

I am in pursuit of a meal,
a noontime challenge
that has me regretting
my lack of good planning,
with homemade snacks
and healthy grub.

A man stands in the parking
lot, opens a door to a truck
by mistake. Wonder if he
waits for a ride or a fix,
the connection to wealth
or a nod.

I wish he would ask me a
question, put me on the
spot with a quip. But
he just stands there,
waiting, without umbrella
or money or song.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Poem #11 of 365

I asked her to tell me her challenge.
She was starting an essay.

I want to be a lawyer.
I have a history with the police.

She is 13.

What is your history with the police?

My father, he's been in jail, in and out, a lot.

So you miss him, it hurts to be without him.
Is that your challenge?

No, he doesn't care about me. He left us
a long time ago. He doesn't give me anything.
I just want to help people, and kids, so they
won't have to hurt like I did.

So you actually want to help people.
That's your challenge.

Yes, that's why I am going to be a lawyer.
I'm good at arguing.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Poem #10 of 365

i am the bull in the ring, snorting nostrils, scuffing hooves,
i am as unbloodthirsty hyena, all chuckle and no bite:

awaiting the call, your merciful summons.

will you ask me to dance
even choreograph the dance?
will you ask me to teach
or to learn how to learn?

here i am, muscled and awaiting,
nourished on love muffins and wine,
i am as ready as you'll ever find

astounding recall, my memory beckons.

will you invite me to tea
or to plan the ceremony?
will you lay out red carpet
or have me show you the weave?

here am i, sipping good hope*,
divining wednesday's footsteps,
i am eager to walk to the stars

amazing freefall, my arms blossom alive

* Good Hope is also the brand name for a tea---today's flavor was vanilla.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Poem #9 of 365

I stepped onto my front stoop
and voices called to me
from a porch on the other side:

"Is this your cat? It's friendly!"

I paused my thinking, squinted
at the fur in the distance, and
they offered, "It's wearing a collar."

No, my cat wears no collar, i told
them, and swinging my gaze to
the north down the street, i noticed
two hens pecking away.

"Are those your chickens!?"

Those are vultures, there are three,
my neighbors explained.
And, to my amazement, i peeled
my eyes better and indeed saw
carnivorous birds on the street.

Doggedly, they worked at fresh carcass,
the small furry corpus of a black alley cat.
When an auto swooped down their way,
they took flight, showing wingspans of
at least my own height.

They flew around, encircling this historic
barrio, casting elongated shadows upon
rooftops, sidewalks, smaller animals.

I twitched a little, braced myself on the
neighbor’s porch, wondering what coat of
symbolic meaning to paint upon this sight.
Carnivorous birds upon my street,
making banquet in destruction.

There are two empty holes a little further down,
and the disembowelment happens largely at
night. There used to be houses where
the big holes gape, pecked and disappeared
by unflinching machines. My little barrio is getting
its body devoured and the ones who make this happen
do not meet my eyes with theirs. I do not know how to
stop them, arrest their shadows darkening my ‘hood.

Twice, I tried to photograph the vultures
as they flew over the house across the street,
but their paths were jagged, unpredictable.
Developers and destroyers, urban and
unaccountable, become singleminded
when those of us below are afraid even in the light of day.

[We need more paved lots, yah, right. We need high-density, upper-income housing, oh, really. Will the barrio survive?]

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Monday, January 08, 2007

Poem #8 of 365

Flounder is a fish and a verb.
Myspace is selfish and wordy.
Rockfish gives shellfish for free.

Confirm all of this online.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Poem #7 of 365

my father cups his chin
to reassure that it's there

i cannot read that sign from a distance
but car flow shows how to go

a blind grandfather stood on the porch
and warned his boy about the tree

could sense air pressure shifts and
currents of wind

so how could my father walk
into a parking meter outside the National Shrine

wasn't he a praying man?

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Poem #6 of 365

I got spit on twice tonight:
Gabriela excitedly rejected by the Altoids tin
and then, later, Ricardo making mirth across
the Embargo mesa.
G's baby soon coming home to roost
and R's used as a pawn in an icky divorce.
Two things they have in common,
but they will never know:
beloved girl daughters and spraying while sayin'.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

I have the best friends in the world

I have come to see the gift in good friends. Over the years, I have traveled, relocated, migrated to various places (Balto-D.C., Austin, Santa Fe, Boulder, Aspen, Nepal), reinventing myself each time--revealing yet another layer of self, inspiration, ambition, acceptance. So, as I've been anchoring myself here in FW (7 years now--wow), there has been a turnabout of sorts. I get to be the harbor, the open door, welcome mat, and friendly porch. Friends, fellow artists and travelers, sometimes stop in--without notice in some cases. When this happens, it is a blessing, better than Chippendale dancers at the door with fistfuls of candy and flowers.

On Thursday night, I was working quietly at home, when the phone rang. Hello, a call from Patrisia Gonzales--writer, columnist, Ph.D candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and fellow Chicana Texas girl, who went to the same Catholic school with me back in the 70s. She and life partner, Roberto--who also pens COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS, a syndicated column of politics, post-colonialism, indigenous healing and arts and other fortifying flavors, were on their way to stop in for a visit. Mere blocks from my house, and heading back to Wisconsin very soon. Of course, yes, come over, hang up so I can straighten up a little before you get here.

And so, here they were, in my humble bungalow (the local realtors' term of choice to describe small houses, circa 1920s, such as mine). Patrisia and Roberto on the sofa, checking in with me, my life, and offering stories of their recent efforts. Being "ABD" or "all but dead", as Roberto put it. They are on the job hunt now, and will be traveling around for interviews here and there. Paty herself has made it to a final selection process with a university in Toronto; if hired, she'd be teaching in the school's department of "Indigenous Healing." A perfect match for both her spiritual and scholarly interests, I'd say. She and Roberto aren't sure, however, that they're willing to become tenured "frozen academes" in Canada, particularly since they've been dealing with heavy, long Wisconsin winters for about three years now.
(Patrisia and Roberto suited up for a promo foto.)

The visit was brief, as Roberto was melting into the sofa from exhaustion and they had a long drive back to Paty's parents' home in Johnson County. It ended all too soon, and we quickly scurried for a gift exchange. I presented them with hand-made candles and a picture of my September '06 butoh performance, and Paty ran out to the car to bring back a copy of Robbie Robertson's 1998 release "Contact from the Underworld of Redboy." Cool, Robbie's been attuning to his indigenous roots (his mother's of Mohawk descent), and I've heard that he works with singers like Ulali and Joanne Shenandoah. According to a Rolling Stone critic, "...all the diverse aspects on 'Contact From the Underworld of Red Boy' cohere into a compelling whole, a national chronicle of glory and shame, a personal story ringing with conviction."

In 2007, I hope that more of my traveling and worldly comrades and colleagues have a moment to stop by my bungalow and share some tea, conversation, and hugs of amistad. So may it happen.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Poem #5 of 365

She move the ladybug
unseasonable friend
from the recycling bin

She move the auto
unseasonably warm
into january shade

She move like water

"Water stops at the proper time,
and moves at the proper time.
Is not this an emblem of the course
of the superior man
in dealing with danger?" *

and the bath drain is still clogged.

* quote from Liang Yin as appears in I CHING: THE CHINESE BOOK OF CHANGES
(Legge/Waltham interpretation, circa 1969)

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Poem #4 of 365

omigod this hasn’t been done
it was only a dream
get up get up
answer the phone
a message awaits
the cat is to feed
the voicestra sings
i must join the y
and the t
and the a
and the m to the two
she yodels inside
-and vicki won't mind-
her ribcage expands
ideas have woken me up

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Poem #3 of 365

I have fotos for Nata
and Juana Molina for Rupert,
that is the reason for Black Dog
on a Tuesday.

There are poets on mic
and 2 birthdays on the loose,
that is why i hug Rose Ann
and sip whiskey with Ron.

G brings an apology,
his hand easily finds mine,
that is why i will stage-sing
while he plays the guitar.

K wears a gift hat, and
asks for some insight,
that is why the room fades
and her cries become mine.

I drift to the bartop,
to lean and to buy,
that is how i meet Michael
and learn more about wine.

The bus is parked outside, and
it's covered with art,
that is why i am smiling
with non-Mexican boys.

-- about the first Black Dog poetry night of 2007

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Poem #2 of 365


i must not watch late-night tv.
i must not avoid exercise.

i must write more.
i must listen harder.

i watch late-night tv.
i avoid exercise.

must i write more.
must i listen harder.


copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

Monday, January 01, 2007

Poem #1 of 365

Deck the halls
with M's sweaty balls,
he converses with fists
and bawdy epithets.

Ms. D stirs the stews
and proffers smoke,
she glistens with lipgloss
and ladylike endeavors.

S.S. poured three bowls
and slurped 'em up,
he puffens with menudo
and leaves for his bed.

Ms. T burst open a new year
with couscous for all,
she curls on the couch
and shares mash-ups with D.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez