I fell in love with foreign languages from before I could speak,
From Mother Goose nursery rhymes chanted to childhood,
Singing me through my days in silly lilting jibberish tolling tales–
Mesmerizing wispy wild figures sticking thumbs in plum pies
Or eating mystical morsels named curds and whey on a tuffet.
Then in college, I pined for the secret to unlock the hearts of
Spanish, French and Russian poets, painters and culture magicians.
I cracked the code to some, forming strained lipped sounds,
Writing winsome words in chipped or open gullet accents or
Symbols to sounds unmade, unimagined and click ticklish
until I could not remember my own tongue.
But after college, language tore at me, ripped me up
And left me dull, licit and languishing in legal triangles,
Endless geometry of angles, degrees and lines.
The law sandpapered language across imagination’s landscape,
Smoothed my edges in deeper, rounder archetypal paths, pregnancy,
Until I lost Octavio Paz’s meter sanded out in childrearing recipes
Swapped with Guatemalan nannies.
Pellucid sentences peeled off like shredded wallpaper skin,
Their luster gone with a youthful jaunt, hop, gleam and trigger,
Flashed in skipping stones, falling in love and hopping fences
Round speedways, parks and wood clearings where music moved
Us, loins and feet to primal noun-less, soundless speech,
Just to see, get a glimpse at lip-sung words beyond the barriers,
Risking liberty and future, impelled by lusty mischief and rush.
Back then, I had to hear them sung in tune-ful missives keyed only to me.
And now, the remaining hash of come and gone, bright and dark, transforms
Acidic intestinal stew to sorcerer’s clairvoyant elixir: my gut tells me.
Among the clamorous hate-filled speeches and cautious creeds non-offending,
Blasted in soldiered lies and political stomps, and on uncivil, anti-social media,
The gurgle steels me listen to us, be your pain, own my heated core as if it were
The world’s sole lingual ignition; the ravenous merging urge to swallow me up,
The kind you write in erotic type and imagery possessing, owning my pulse–
These are mere smoke signals, the wink-less language of I know you as I am.
In the aftermath of lived language, word dross, let us, you and me, tutor empathy,
The Esperanza of human kindness, re-remembered swish and slosh in thickish silent
womb–connected to another’s rhymes and rhythms, as the song.