April 17-23, 2006: Matthew A. Barraza and Jose Rivera

week of April 17-23, 2006

Matthew A Barraza and Jose Rivera

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Matthew A Barraza

Bio (auto)

Matthew A Barraza East LA Born, bred and hope to die in LA, but hopefully not by her hand Human service/mental health professional (credentials/licensure and names of companies/affiliates declined to protect the innocent ) by profession and choice Writing since grade 5, since arthritic nun- penguins and molester priests chastised me for skipping past the Gospels to the Book of Revelations and asking loudly, vociferously and emphatically what all that Great Whore of Babylon and the 7 hills and headed beast business was about Never got an answer and have been wondering (and writing about it) since “Published” mostly in college magazines and newspapers, at least 2 rejections from the New Yorker Actually got a handwritten rejection slip once stating, “Do keep trying!” on it one time Revolutionary Time Bomb Un-American as fuck and proud of it.

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Matthew A Barraza and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Live, To Die, To Lie–Is L.A
there are many ways to go here—
by cop
by car chase, 
by crack pipe cacophony;
by needle, by hooker, by pimp,
by family façade & shot gun blast;
by rolling, bowling 
or safety

there are many ways to die here—
by gun, by miracle, by stairway,
by asphalt crucifix, by random knife,
by hollow tipped bullet
by freeway strangler
by van of horrors,
by murderous hippy gang,
by skin head, angry & stomping
on a million dollar street corner;
by bat, boot,
or bitch
you might go by night,
close to dawn
held tight to the moon’s poison beast
yawning a scream into the twilight
found squirming, alone and gasping
done in by bulletprone vest,
by schizophrenic sword
by butter knife,
by pipe,
plastic bag
or model airplane
you might turn up
ziplocked and encased
in the coroner van, seeping and putrid,
pierced by rattlesnake,
or twitching
in the garage–
as some empty bottle
some urban sprawl unrealized
some lawsuit about to be filed
some palimony case
festering in a lab
some needle puncturing the scab
some addiction
sheathed in lycra
ball gagged, hand cuffed,
chained to a leather studded
electric chair
eyes glued to the computer screen
in a ditch on the side
of the
there are bridges to crawl upon
walls to scrawl upon
something ugly
every which way
hiding, biding
and counting the minutes away

a thousand ways to die in LA
one way to live in LA
choked by ivy, stifled by gasoline
and daily vapors

haggled to death on street corner
poisoned by food peddler
addled by tax dollar bug spray
cast into a lake of fire
bleated to death
by deacons of change
molested and left for dead,
grasping for one more fix
to kill the pain of being violated
under the cloth and color
of God,
all that is holy and sour
and usurped
you could wind up carved up
and left for dead
on the plastic surgeon table
etherized and smiling
reaching for a burned out star
blind and acrimonious
hoping that someone
makes a buck
a book,
or a blockbuster
out of your last moment
of fireworks and panache
in helL.A.

Jose Rivera

Bio (auto)

I am a new writer and I would like to submit poetry I am from Puerto Rico and I now live in New York City with my wife, who is also a writer I have been published in Eclectica and Underground Window I will be published in Poesia in July.

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Jose Rivera and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


My wife tells me that if I don’t stop
smoking up all the cash, she’ll commit
me to Bellevue I didn’t tell her that I’ve been there

before her Before she kissed my eyes
the first time I told her I heard voices,
the first time my fingers started doing
the thing they do when the world

is big and red and ghosts talk to me She came to me in a yellow sundress She
looked like butter melting, like purple M & M’s,
like Natalie Wood in This Property is Condemned
I asked her for a cigarette and she gave it
happily, pinched my Spanish face like
old Jewish Nanas do Now she turns her eyes
away and says, I could have paid my dues
with the money you take for smokes

Now she wears a red dress and goes out Bangs the door, and says she’s sick, she’s lonely,
she’s the one going to Bellevue Of course I
follow her and see that’s not where she’s going at all.

previously published in Eclectica

My Metamorphosis

Hunkered down on pavement,
my mind chopped off, overflows Even
with her, that beauty, I stare severely
at this manifestation in her mirror, the route
of my face winds on with age
I lift my head like a frog, she says
I look like a little boy I’m not that little
boy who dreamed of being an artist
She comes to me, haltered
sundress, cigarette in poppy lips, smelling
like sun and nudging my bones This strange
pretty woman promises me shelter but she
cannot assuage my nostalgia, a glove

cupped on my heart She forces me
off concrete, into her arms, fumbles around
in my hair, on my face, my love now starred
into my cheekbone where she creates me
She’s an angel beside graffiti, walking through
my mind and stepping past garbage under her
own sadness She’s my mouth, as if one
mouth weren‚t enough to speak of this
homeless burlap most just guess exists She’s one who doesn’t trust in words,
She’s almost a cocoon waiting to strip
Naked and slip into a river, a home,
but must have a lover, a kindred free spirit–
her prince she can prop up to the light