Descendant of the Disappointed
I am a mausoleum full of my own bones.
An archive of every time I was too afraid
to kill myself. I bury another me
every time the light leaves.
It’s a lonely and fruitless thing,
to be and stand on all the land there is.
Could care less if this midnight horizon
is merciful. Intangible darkness.
Useless Offering/Boy full of nothing
worth preserving. Boy full of his dead
selves: anxious, exhausted, and depressed
selves. Immobilized. Shark infested.
Millions of new moons in my chest.
Tides tall enough to mimic a gathering
of deities. Why haven’t these waters
swallowed me yet? Let this resilience
of cursed-blood end where I end. Here,
always trying to find new languages
within living, but my mouth never stopped
being the atlantic. Nothing but salt water and
bones. Slave ships melted into my jaw and
this is where my ancestors show up.
Stretching their bloated bodies. Telling me
I’m what they wished for. Telling me
I wouldn’t be here should one of them
had killed themselves. Too much magic
to break the spell and not enough to pull
me out of myself. Useless magician.
I come from people who gave death
a hard time and here I am considering
its amethyst teeth. Descendant of the disappointed.
An ocean of blue faces in my mouth, desperate,
chanting my name into an unkillable mantra.
Yemaya, outraged, holds her machetes
between her teeth. Forces my mouth open and
waves of her children pour out dressed in white.
My ashes in each one of their hands
carrying what’s left of me. Light exuding
from the lines in their palms. I become
a glowing. I too, now, dressed in white.
My face made of all their faces and
I can see it now. My own death.
Inevitable heirloom. Crown worn
by the thousand skulls I carry in my blood.
Sunrise through some Henny
for Thiahera Nurse
I am wherever I am and breathing.
Amen. Pray my body don’t consider
diabetes too much before I do.
Pray old age for myself, all my niggas.
Amen. Watch the sunrise through some Henny.
What’s poppin’ death! I’m here ‘cause God said so.
Each day above ground. Yes. Each day Amen
What’s poppin’ time! You here ‘cause God said so.
For my kin less than others. Hit the ave.
Mad vigils. Our hoods been nations on fire.
God taking they God time with our water.
Progress gotta take a train, bus, and cab.
See how the dead not at peace around here?
Penultimate where we stay at; stuck. You?
This Isn’t A Poem
Don’t lower me into a hole. This earth
I could never call home ain’t it. Maybe
The wind or some ocean. It’s all the same
If you ask my ashes. Just know they don’t
Wanna be kept anywhere. Not an urn.
Plant my dream garden. Let me help them grow.
Bring the rings I bought in Santiago
To the funeral home. Pop’s ring & chain.
Orchids and Baby’s Breaths. Mommy and me.
How am I supposed to know how to rest?
Casket wet with lavender oil. The tears
Of my enemies. Laugh at them niggas
And don’t tell them I told you to. I want
Them to hear me. I want them to burn too.
Gabriel Ramirez is a Queer Afro-Latinx poet.. He is a mentor at Urban Word NYC and has received fellowships from Palm Beach Poetry Festival, The Watering Hole, The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, and Callaloo. You can find his work in various spaces, including Youtube, and in publications like The Volta, Winter Tangerine, Blueshift Journal, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, VINYL, in ¡MANTECA!: an Anthology of Afro-Latino Poetry (Arte Público Press 2017) and forthcoming in Bettering American Poetry Anthology (Bettering Books 2017). He lives in New York City.