Sherisse Alvarez

~~~~~~~~ A Waterways Project Publication

Sherisse Alvarez

Richard Spiegel Barbara Fisher codirectors Thomas Perry administrative assistant

Stephen E. Phillips Superintendent, Alternative High Schools & Programs

© 1997 Ten Penny Players with funding suppOrt from

the NY State Council on the Arts

Empty

Sometimes when you speak in that monotonous tongue my ears become numb

You discuss meaninglessness with your vacant phrases

. until you realize

that I have been quiet for an eternity

Then your voice softens coaxing me, or yourself for the loss of me

You know I have stopped listening stopped searching

trying to get used to the you that was hardly there

---~~

The brief scent of your fleeting breath that barely sustained

my arms and legs and head

2

Struggle

For att the young women living with an eating disorder

The overwhelming oasis of self-discovery

To look inside the soul and search for meaning

Distorted thoughts of us denying our blessed parts

We've learned to eat our own waste and at times,

we even think we like the taste

Of standing, staring into mirrors time and time again

begging for a tantalizing truth of who we are

We only know how to pain

we ache, but we cannot scream

Empty, with only vacancy to embrace we've learned how to love this place

3

Lucidity

The contours of your face remind me of the rolling hills that flow discretely

into the dancing waters

I would like to give my soul and let the remains of me kiss the earth

so that I may devour yours

Would you give yourself so completely to a woman as mad as I?

Tell me please, so that I may know and perhaps still sleep

in my own blessed bed

But if you agree

I will not let fear drown me

I will taste death and know why

Look into me with your vicious eyes and destroy the devil that dwells inside

4

Mother, Earth

I have lost my entire sense of self in you; Mother, Earth

I have forgotten my shoes somewhere in the bitter pavement

I have been stripped of my clothing beneath these adolescent eyes of sky

Is it possible to purify this crucified spirit

or is it necessary

that this shattered soul die

So that the broken body may be reconstructed of your selfish pleasure

so that it may commence again

5

Reborn, reinvented from inside the womb

from within the bleeding breath the aching lips

In your pain

abruptly torn from ecstacy into this world called hell

I see; you, Mother, Earth can offer no consolation because you, yourself

have been stripped of your identity

You too have been beaten and raped and have been forced to the ground on your aching knees

I see; you, Mother, Earth cannot offer me

what you, yourse1fhave not been given

6

Sacred

The sensuousness that is revealed in your lips

To touch your velvet hands and know wha t they mean

To taste the serenity

in the shadow of your soul

I forget all that I am because I know that I may

Within your sacred place I know that I am guided

This is what was intended This is what is good

7

I am in love

with the depth of your being

You have emptied me and filled me again

Whisper to me those sweet words and help me remember who I am

I think I have forgotten once again

8

I give my soul to the earth today as I stand in the rain

and Let the verses

pour out from me

An afraid hand, merciful embracing this flesh and blood piece of paper

I am not above it

it is but a part of me

I die and am reborn within it with integrity, passion, willingness

I want to be buried

in the rain, in the poem

My soul alive

my body without a speck of life

Just entombed with my verses beneath these cruel skies of america

9

Words

The words gather in the palate and somehow, I forget to speak

I cannot explain what these tears signify why they run and wet my cheeks

and never learn to cease

I can't explain

because they rob me of all feeling of all life of all sensation

They leave me helpless staring into the eyes of you

Mute, hearing your questions unable to answer

The words still trapped at the throat swallowing the breath

that does not escape the lips

10

The soul becoming numb through the cries and choking of the passionate tongue

I can't seem to simplify the complexi ty of us

I've stopped trying to understand the mystery of your hands

And the ritual of our love-making that buries me deeper into oblivion

II

Stomach Song

The green of your seed trees have begun growing

In your belly of ache break the craving

Lips sucking juice

off the table and window

Pain in the tasteful wake sleep day night

Time has become my enemy can't you see it's all make-believe

You !ike to play with me

there'll be a bittersweet melody

Unfinished rhapsodies too pretty to be sung by me

Can no longer touch my feet treat me politely

12

I will smile with pink bows tied to strands of my hair

Stairs in the attic scare me Dare me to close

The door still squeaks

and I see the face peeking in

Side with the monster

he'll never touch my Barbie undies

Honey, you're such a ...

Sluts on sticks

do you want to touch

Dick's wearing a dress today my name is Baby

Cake's in my head

set on licking the toilet

Bowls filled with sweet pi's on the floor

13

Childhood

For Kareen

The sweet morning rays sleep upon your raw skin

And yet your eyes are unaware

You dream

of adolescent pastures, honey rain,

and kisses on the forehead from the mother who fed from the breast of life

Her face

a bitter chocolate melancholic tongue sweetly speaking of sin

This childhood revisited by you

in yearning, in need of replies to questions unanswered

15

For Kareen

I am taken away

by the stories of your past

A rage that dwells in skin

in lips

in breasts

in a body of black

Raped by the evils

that destroyed your existence

That stole the life

as they ripped your soul

That let you lie in torment as you ached deliberately

These are the mothers and fathers and gods that gave you life

only to take it away

16

r

.' ••••.•••• ~ •.............• -t ••.

In Search of a Song Volume 311

~~~YiY~ A Waterways Project Publication

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