“These poems came for me,
lassoed my throat,
demanded my life’s savings,
taking me for a sunset ride.
These poems were graffiti scrawls
along the alleys & trash-strewn tunnels of my body,
the metaphoric methadone for the heroin hurling
through my bloodstream, the lifeline I already had inside
and didn’t know.
These poems were pool sticks, darkened gangways,
a swirl of sunrise after the graveyard shift,
a blood-black yelling behind torn curtains,
a child shrieking and nobody coming to help.
They were a woman’s scent after a night
of lovemaking, a sweet touch of hand to face,
cascades of hair on a pillow,
a moan during an elongated kiss.
These poems were shadowed intents,
startled doubts, sorrows without grief,
the moon without sky,
the falling inside that happens
when you push razor onto wrist.
They came for me as I sank into my suicide,
while fidgeting in a chair,
inching under the skin,
as I wondered why I even came.
José, David, and Pedro
—I was never the same after this.
They came for me and I’ve never let go.
They came for me and I’ve perspired poems
ever since. They came for me—and all my addictions,
my sorry-ass lies, my falling masks,
my pissed-off wives, neglected children,
angry friends, and back-to-back failures
could never, ever, take them away.” –Luis J. Rodriguez, from “Fevered Shapes”