Always Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez        

Palomas en la Frontera

We wore our coats beautifully,
glistening in red velveteen
that shimmered like blood.
In the right kind of sunlight,
our razor blade eyebrows
arched magnificent like
black crayon sickles

Stenciled hair like a gateway
to heaven above our eyes
an archway
If you dare
into our gaze,

but when the night fell,
casting her shawl across
our small border town
young bodies press into
the sides of a car
any car

leave behind the
thumbprint of our desire
our anger like smoldering charcoal
the shame of our fathers.

Flames licked at our shadows
as our virginity slipped through our fingers
stark images of our female selves
cut against a milieu of
masculine lowriders
parked around the circle of fire

We didnft imagine us
as young mothers one day
men we did not or did love caressed
our eager ears with their shrapnel tongues

To fuck or fight our way
into the desert air,
bulge against a backdrop
of cactus and dried mesquite

The legend of the Chola
see her there, dancing in the moonlight,
arms embracing the lunar verbosity
ferocity gleaning the carnal smile
and Mad Dog 20/20 breath
existing only in cliche

But we were something
harder than that, rocks
without smooth edges
belt buckles,
brothers emptied
of their blood in a manic drive]by,
our mothers in their aprons
slapping our behinds
with wooden spoons
like crucifixes
beating the devil
from us.

Our near future
the long lines we will
wait in to gain the coveted
commodities of cheese
and powdered milk

The part of our brains
that recognize such incidents
make us the lovers we are
even me, in my diluted ways,
book pages swirling in my head
no type of academic rant
could beat this night
this night with arms like brute
strength and prison tattoos

Hold me, held me,
made me one with my girls
convinced me of violence
beautiful, slow moving violence
that somehow by the end
of the night makes babies,
fabricates love
in the backseats of cars
cries out into the air
a cumbia riddled with
spur and cacti,
a red fist

We are bent on destroying ourselves
I am bent on destroying myself

The open eye of the moon and the burn of tire
black smoke shredding the night
ritmo inspired legends
lead me to believe I could love like this
love like I carried a razor blade in my back pocket

Here no one gave one good goddamn
that my name was inked across some college degree
that I could recite all of Frostfs poems in a single breath
dissertations have no dominion here

So, I fall back with the mob
sashay my hips and dance
with Manny at the local saloon
two]step with young drunk
ranchers named Bud or Shay or Cliff
make my way easy with tequila
at two]dollars a pop
a squinty eyed piece of lime
squeezed down my throat
and donft think
nothing of no professors

I shove back into me my home
I once rebuked
for lettermen jackets and scrolled diplomas

Choke me in memory
strangle the moon
until I cough up
the dry sweet granules
of desert and the salty sky
that rims my glass

Until I see, see
see my way
back to me.