Gregory Gonzales: Two Poems

Gregory Gonzales was born and raised in Los Angeles. He left when he was thirty, after making a paltry living as a dancer, to go to school but ended up married and living North Carolina, raising a son and stepson.

*****

At last

falling for you on a crashing plane
terror and panic filling the cabin
and there you sit, like me
we look across the aisle
and simultaneously say
So this is it
and what with everyone clawing at each other
trying to find the best spot to survive the impact
lone survive if need be
it’s easy to move next to you and hold your hand
feeling every swirl and ridge of your finger tips
marveling that the lengths of our life lines match
We’re over Arizona I say
and you begin to say
I love the desert

***

Quake

the loft shook and I thought it was the door slamming
I took the stairs two at a step
ready for someone to be there
but I was alone and the hallway was empty
yet the clapper on the old steel bell
swung just short of sounding
and the cups on hooks beneath the cupboard
rocked as if an arpeggio had been trailed across them
my skin prickled and I thought of you, brother
before I thought of fault lines and tectonic plates

I felt that if I looked slow heartedly
you would be there, embarrassed in the corner
with a wry message like, Don’t die
I turned with a nonchalance you would have admired
but you weren’t there to see it, I’d been thinking
the part of me missing since your lungs filled
drowning you throughout a long day
when your wife said so lovely
you don’t have to keep breathing
had suddenly returned
it was the cups swinging so regularly that made me believe
except in the waiting I knew it wasn’t you
a bell almost ringing and cups
you’d never be a tinkly ghost

then I remembered the loosely knotted sage
that you gathered and tied into a smudge stick
when each step cost you and your fingers barely worked
and I lit it, trailing thick smoke around
like I was somebody who understood chakras
just in case you weren’t as dead as I believe dead is
the truth is though, if you appeared to me now
the only new thing to I’d have to say
is that your visit Richtered out at 5.1
and the empty cups swung for eighteen minutes

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