For Bek, on Her Birthday

First, to celebrate you, Bek Huston, I drew four cards from the Baraja del Destino, from our game Negocios Infernales.

You are the artist of these cards. Carlos and I are in constant awe of your rapidity, your cheerfulness, your thunderous talent, your ability to revise, and your glorious collaboration skills.

Without you, none of these cards would exist, and neither would the game as we know it.

Second, to celebrate you, Bek Huston–I adjure you, Tattooed People of the Midwest: make an appointment at her shop!

Third, to celebrate you, Bek Huston, I take these cards you helped us make, and I write you these four mini-poems:

Genius Prefers Effort Over Genius

in your veins run 
dreams like spilt ink
strange constellations scratched
on the bruised back of the sky
sleeping, you smile
with the Mona Lisa serenity
of a world-weary Sun
how art can break
a body open
one needle at a time

Where Have You Gone, O My Skeleton?

when your treacherous left arm 

how you sat up, 
and spilled 
extravagant kaleidoscope oracles 
from your right? 

Pain is the Opposite of Thought

for the woman 
who wields needles
for the woman 
who works miracles
for the woman 
who riddles the dermis with holes 
to flood our subsurface with color and 
codify our memories in flesh 

for this woman
I wish 
a sanguine clarity 
an easing of anxiety 
a handshake between her shadow-self 
and the lamp of power 
that is her living body

The Soul Loves All. The Mind, But Some.

let she who has been shushed
hush the lips
of the loudest
let she who has been bound
her broken shackles
let she who has been erased
stitch her place
in the stars
the west wind our witness
the east wind our witness
the south wind our witness
the north wind our witness

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