Poem: Two Chicanos Sift Through the Chisme

Two Chicanos Sift Through the Chisme

You swore you were giving up TV
to write more poems in the same month
you told me you were addicted to sports, which
was the same month you published three poems.
Now how am I supposed to watch seven
basketball games on five channels in one day
and feel good about myself while you’re
at home conjuring the axolotl and its power
to regenerate? Fuck it. I’ll get up, reach for my
recorder, my microphone, my headphones,
my mic stand—all of which cost way more
than your moleskin notebook—and I’ll press
record. You pack an awful lot into two minutes
thirty seconds, into one minute forty-three seconds,
into fifty-one seconds. “Hold on to those you love
and maybe even those you hate, and prepare
yourselves.” I laughed out loud when you said that,
I mean for real for real, laughed out loud in real life,
and I don’t laugh out loud often enough in real life.
After the recording was over and we talked
and we texted and we basically just did our thing
at the University, reading and recording poems
and sifting through the chisme like we do, you said:
“If God exists, that was a form of prayer
and church in there. Truly.” And I knew you
meant it because you included a praise
emoji. Later that day, I watched a movie by myself
about an Argentine man dying of cancer
who decides he will not do another round
of chemo. He decides he would rather live
his last days as best he can, and he re-connects
with an old friend from his childhood. The old friend
flies nearly halfway around the world
to spend four and a half days with his cancer
friend. They eat, they drink, they laugh, they cry,
and then they part. I sobbed at the end.
I thought back to the recording session. “If I
could translate that to an evangelical,” you said,
“I’d tell them that the holy spirit was in the ether.”
Brother, tell me where I need to be and when.

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