A MATERIAL SUBSTRATUM WILL ALWAYS REMAIN

RAQUEL SALAS-RIVERA

 
 

scene 4: cenex discovers there are multiple nothings
                                               like multiple infinities
no they aren’t double nos
more like nothings each one excluding the other completely
the nothing of impossible numbers
the nothing of incommensurable fractions
the nothing of honey anthills                          quartz of snow and piss
the nothing of pink plantains
the nothing of return
the nothing of my frozen hands that they’ve cut and i carry like a rabbit’s foot
cenex discovers there are worse worsts
 
scene 7: petal by petal, odette irons the flamboyán. in the reliquary, a mix of jasmine and elizabeth arden. her last dyke descendant gets married far away with the lizard body of the willow. some egg in some boiling. some house sold. the walls asbestosed. the catholic channel at full volume. the amount of pain in the skin incremental. it accumulates because the pope has said that this body is carnal. the debt carnal. the hand of the pope sacred. perreo carnal. the bolitero neighbor carnal. the hill where the water tank sits carnal. the statue of the virgin sacred.
 
scene 8: cenex injects themselves with hibiscus
they only want to mix rum and milk
inject themselves with as much flowering as they can find between
crag and flowerpot
             sell fruit at the stand
                         close the stand due to the rotten fruit law
                                      inject themselves with metal and tent
freeze the water            be an ice-seller
sell cement balls to the government
sell pinchos horchata maví
sell souvenirs of puerto rico:
            bills tendencies to run on behalf of
            the people char tires sell collections of rubber bands
                        lottery of $5 for &15
                                    lemon for $50 and they pay you with iou
             trade iou for iou for iou
sell services for cleaning yards of ious
    subcontracting oneself to clean the streets of sellers
without sell-out licenses
judging while high because
there is no harmony because
we are still alive
and the tame hibiscus lasts
beyond the next payment
 
scene 11: cenex interrupts mass
binges on wafers is poisoned by the blood of god
cenex interrupts their ascension
to preconceive a world without debt
 
they cut their reproductive organs like so many unused railroad cars
saying you don’t qualify as a woman until you’ve passed the three tests
of the national conservatory
             they prefer to suction all dialogue from their bowels
             cut off the euphemisms like additional organs
             mosaic the face of god with cheap paintbrushes
             erode erode erode
             interrupt mass with an etymological break down
             read the names of the murdered sisters
             pontificate about the meat industry
             defend themselves against the piercing tedium
             of colonization
 
scene 12: puerto rico turns on its fireflies
                        in order to suddenly appear: an anxious light
                        on the world map
 
scene 13: cenex verifies that y’all have died
your blueberry juice in the hallways that drownpretties
gatherer of dead hummingbirds you’ll make blanket borealis of nibs
piles of newspapers in your apartment 3A
if you cut the grass the ants will come out of the fissure
if you open the curtains there will be experts dissecting
like domesticators of chaos
tell them to fuck off and let’s get a drink
it’s on me

 
scene 14: cenex procreates with their ghost
who says
 
you can cry here we all cry
no one will judge you
if you feel you’re losing your island
if you leave if you stay you can cry
you have a right to hate
your oppressors
a right to take off your socks but not your belt
to collapse like an edifice of contract on the short route
to dissolve words
 
final scene: my mother says she is too demoralized
                       to write poems about the debt
 
                       her hand squeezes my dislocated heart
 
                       she asks me if i’ve read the poems she sent me
                       if i liked them
                                                           they’re short
 
                       i like them—i say—
                       her poems about the debt
                                    are long
                       like mine
 
                       they’re the same she says and we cry—
                       so as not to kill—each other
                       exactly the same
 
[my mother never says this even when yes she says she can’t write poems about the debt but doesn’t explain. even when yes she cries and squeezes my heart. even when yes she writes poems that are, like mine, about the debt. even though she doesn’t say it in the poems, they’re all about the debt, even if i never ever say these words out loud, even then.]

 

 

 
 

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