Jonathan Andrew Pérez

She, a feeling, dries her tears, when it arrives.
Puddle-lashes: foreign as, We cannot go back.
We cannot return to the Grunge.

THE DIVINING OF LA LLORONA IN BLACK AND WHITE

To Saint Jude: The Patron Saint of Lost Causes

 

I.           1950

I am mercy, I am danger,
I, the uncertain de-segregation.
In the swamp, dark was the night, cold was the ground.
La Llorena in Hollywood,
Latinx Cryptid flew down from the mouth
Of hell, jumped out non-reactionary.
Sales sell. This weekend double features
Showed with the Least Bittern, –
chopped copper
toned, down to the bone; a 35mm film reel
sticky joints of those that are
brown-backed, black and white among the disowned,
patchworked: what séance
spilled out the gloopy caramel
stocked by lapping hyperbolic wet tongues
unshook the curse of la llorona.

She, a feeling, dries her tears, when it arrives.
Puddle-lashes: foreign as, We cannot go back.
We cannot return to the Grunge.

Then in the multiplex, a white man hangs rungs on a wall.
An archivist running round the farm
Once more, around toy-strewn yard, for a gun.
The trailer is over.
He comes, he comes. Put the kids inside.
Lock the windows, this deviating oral tradition.

About all, the archivist limps out
And gives an introductory prelude,
As if he can
Shine a flashlight on the swamp,

As if film buffs Peddle
another sinful confession:
To be ol’ grandpa white, you must
Sit in the seat of the horror film.

OK, big Man upstairs, I cheated,
I slept in a motel one crazy night.
To feel or to be, one with
here Latinidad.
Intermission.

I got no idea but feel for drowned children.
I peddle my sin-for-souls for my family
In dire straights. I talk as if teaching,
Hungover as a made-up cell
Block blues. Wherein shapes shift
From one Massive monstrous foreigner.
It’s out there. One step beyond archival equality.

II.

They say the neighborhood-watch is over.
The double feature extends longer than the price
Of a family pack, and we duck to another theater.

And maybe it was just another Least Bitterns
That flapped over the river. Or conjunctivitis
That blurred the collective vision.
Out

where the train tracks meet exurbanism
We drank and molded
in encampments, to find new selves
where the forest service kicked us out,
Where the land met the trailhead of colonization; exiles flittered
Like packs of Warblers (Prairie, Blue Winged, Black-
Throated Blue and Green)

Ensconced the cryptid’s reflection; (or is it entrenched)
A blonde Montana fly fishing guide
Suffused the placidity, plunking out bullhead, bunker, spawn,
thick as a newborn child-
And lays trench
For yet another, a Hellbender salamander. Or an extinction.

As if the curse were a, ticky tacky foul, from a power
Forward.

III

The half white-Latino cryptid, made up
Soupily, a new curse antagonizing
Integration,
an ancient rudder-less boiling
Of primal symbols, Tarot-card readings
In the cauldrons Howdy Neighbor Country.

In small town assimilation, communes, safety, without justice.
These were the Fables we would tell our children. That the
abracadabra was just when someone choked up
That the film had concluded, on dirt candy

bitter
As the bitter root of multitudes of happy men and women
In all shades, and colors, in the Hydromancy.

La LLorena forgot to curse the housing market.
La Llorena snapped a frog’s neck,
Now doomed to walk the earth, undead,
Even if you do not believe it , you can hear her.

A thing, like folkloric Canon,
feet, gyrating on the moon,
Silently, seducing in the cattails.

BIO

Jonathan Andrew Pérez, Esq. has published poetry at a number of journals and in collections including in: Poetry Magazine, Ovenbird Poetry, K’ in, Waxing & Waning, The Florida Review, The Connecticut River Review, The Minnesota Review, Into the Void, Allegory Ridge, Frontier Poetry, [PANK]’s Latinx Lit Celebration Issue, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Coffin Bell Journal,  Guesthouse, Split Lip Magazine, Blood Tree Literature, TRACK//FOUR, Dovecote, Collateral Magazine, The Bookends Review, Hawai’i Review, Inklette, Quiddity on NPR, Rise Up Review, River Heron Review, Muse/A Journal, Projector Magazine, Prelude Magazine, and Crack the Spine, Waxing and Waning, Cape Code Poetry Review, & K’ in. Jonathan’s first chapbook, The Cartographer of Crumpled Maps: The Justice Elegies (2020) was published by Finishing Line Press, and second manuscript, The Diving: Dark was the Night of Justice, won the Burnside Review Poetry Prize and will be published in spring 2021.

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