Juan Israel Español

Chamber Music


There –
The other side. One lane leading backwards toward
the window ahead. I’ll open it just enough if you –
promise not to shove me out. Even though I might
enjoy the rush of feeling close to some ending.
The freedom within the fall. It’s the crash I’d mind.
The mess of it and stiff neck. The swelling and swollen
eyes. Impacting, colliding, a plume of smoke, the belt
being yanked back tight – across our laps. Shattered
pieces of tinted glass screaming and showering across
our closed eyes and smiling faces. Followed by –
that bitter taste. The shock in understanding that yes
we have survived but not everyone else has. Bodies are
slumped over the dashboard, broken wheeled columns.
Bones and dislocated orgasms.


We’ve survived –
but not everyone else has. The driver and the passenger
riding shotgun all good and gone but Leonore, you are
so beautiful and to me It was sad thinking about you –
in the back seat of anything. You never being in control.
Your edges covered in the curves you wear so well, until
now. It was all a Sunday night ride, until now. Until you
heard the engine being gunned. Day turned into night.
The streets slicked with oil and spring rain. The music –
loud, loud, louder and I have a deepening blood mouth
full of lust crush on you. It’s a dark, dark line tonight and
darling you and your pencil skirt are on my mind.


I’m thinking about –
those strangers lying next to us in bed. The lies crawling
out of their mouths like insects in the yard. Streetlights –
flashing by fast while someone screams from the speakers
that are drowning out the cello in your heart. The one
being played within the chamber of that gun you’ve been
so careful to point only at your own temple. And I swear:
She might blow herself apart just to understand –
what she might be feeling. I can hear you talking and trying
to give directions. Despite your pretty mouth being –
sewn shut, and shit It is almost funny. Just don’t blame me
for your silence. You held your own needle and thread Sally.
I can’t handle the poor treatment angle, I can’t stomach –
watching the cuts until you’re all done. Bleed it all away if
it helps. I’ll even bring a mop. But you clean up the mess.
So maybe later or never. I’ll make a believer out of you yet.
Someone had sliced off both of the drivers ears long before
you came along anyway.


It’s a mad, a mad violent classical ride –
One where we were never driving. Perhaps for the best.
Now we can claim innocence. Dress in white, dress in black,
call ourselves lovers and fumble around in the dark nervous
again. It was the last red light that did us in. Someone ran it
and since that moment, that line, we’ve been unsteady –
waiting for headlights. The rev. The rpm. Rushed metal, bricks, staccato and what was the back seat is now the trunk. You’re
doe eyed, sexed and slightly bound unnerved by twilight and
silence. Your wind section busted. Cello shards stuck in your
throat as you open up finally trying to speak until I cover your
mouth and say let’s be quiet. Untie the ropes so we can sit
for a while. Stare a little at the wreckage while considering
the sirens that will never come. Rescue lights heading –
everywhere else but here. So we walk away and by the way,
I like you in a way that matters. The scratches across your cheek, nerves and nerves. Broken shell shocked beauty. I imagine
the walk home will be nice. We could smile like villains –
while we dry on your bed, under candlelight and a digital clock.
Eat cold strawberries, share stellar kisses. As after that all of this
I imagine everything will taste beautiful.

Christmas in July

You wake up
and she’s drunk again, yes her
again having passed out next to you
her back still sweat after sex,
her shallow breath, soft and sweet now –
just seconds after her screams.
July, yes July
the fourth and you’re in bed, hers
while outside Miami fireworks but
you’re hazed and hollow eyed and poor
but drunk
and the mango tree in the yard is fruitless
but you, yes you
drift into sleep
you’re drunk again
and she’s asleep –
considering dreams
but you’re awake soaking in stella, considering –
her body, the curve of her thigh, her moans and
the wrinkles around her eyes –
her being a few years older
but still beautiful
It’s july but today you found lights in the shed
so you kissed and hung them around her bed
until you both passed out, drunk
surrounded by Christmas Lights after sex and sweat
and screams and nails and nails and pain
she craved a line into your back and no
it will never heal
because you had a dream
she woke up, straddled you
shook you twice and said ” I Love you”
and you woke up to an explosion of feeling
and thunder outside
just to find her asleep
the half smile on her drunk face
and some empty feeling in summer heart
you wake up
staring into the face next to you
bathed in red light
july, heat, summer, sweat, drunk
divorced, broke-
half fucked and horny
for the world.

The Party

I want you to know
that when I die you should burn my body
along with everything I have ever written in a pit
on the shore of my youth.
Inviting everyone we know
for both the funeral and one final party.
I want you to remember, when the sun extinguishes
itself into the ocean that night
you should be close enough to the flame
for me to warm you one last time.
And I want everyone
to weep, to drink, to eat and dance around
my burning death like pagans.
Laughing and toasting
away at my madness and the absurdity of life.
And when all that is left of me is black ash burnt
into the sand. You should remember that I want you
to walk away and not look back,
while the tide comes in
and pulls me into the afterlife
along with the paper plates, the flowers left behind,
footprints, stubbed out cigarettes and empty bottles.
As my spirit watches from above
the lone plastic cup smudged with your lipstick
being pulled out into the open Atlantic
rising and falling with the waves
as if waving goodbye.

One Cup of Moonlight

Someday if you would let me
I’d tell you about the moment after finishing white tea.
Setting the cup down atop the glass table on the patio
as the night watched me from the other side of the screen.

Yesterday being like a page holding the titled chapters of
your tears being torn away and scattered, tumbling down the
Miami busway. This today being the note I wanted to leave for you
on the steam of the bathroom mirror. This today after the hot
shower, after the feelings of drops shattering my body. This
today after the noise and heat and there never being enough
water to wash away the black from my paired lungs.

The note would have said:
Hello. I am sorry about the pain but
you look like spring and every perfect day in may –
stacked up neatly atop one another, wrapped in brown paper
and tied together with twine and I’m sorry about the past,
the hurt, the loss. I know you deserve more of everything

And someday if you’d only let me –
I’d tell you why you remind me of the flowers in Balboa park.
Turning the timed path during a dry september day. The path
that lead me to a plot where they, like you, soft petals and
bright colors and delicate parts grabbed me by the throat
and had me looking around wanting to show everyone or
anyone but finding myself entirely alone and
I’ve never understood this sadness the weight of our sadness
that holds us like a lover when we are looking at something
beautiful. Your spirit like a metal I’m afraid to touch, your
spirit my reason for uttering “obscene odes” and entities
over things that might tarnish you under my breath between
sips of white tea all while feeling eyes in the dark watching
me with hunger, about looking into the now empty cup
while leaning back into the scroll work of metal held together
at its seems now by this: my own brevity.

How I thought of your eyes and called them oil paintings
and felt like a boy again my first time at a museum
appreciating beauty, understanding levity, Telling you
you are so pretty and me dressed in blue cuffed jeans and
a small t-shirt, holding a brown paper bag lunch while
staring at the art of your sullen eyes – Where even in my
mind I’d be be ushered out the room eventually
I’d tell you about the cup filled with nothing and our
endless lists amounting to nothing, leading up to a hello
that might amount to nothing and how are you?
You might be lovely like a painting I can look at all day,
like a painting I could walk through and sleep for once
as it has, it has, yes its has been so long that I’ve slept and
I could sleep comfortably under your dark sky in a field
under the rain of your showering thoughts shattering
my body, I’d sleep like a puppy I’d sleep like a dog
named Ginsberg and read you poetry.

I’d tell you about the cup and feeling nothing but the night
outside, the dark circle and wrinkles under my eyes how I
considered the void and understood I wanted to hold your
heart place it in a glass box and show everyone what I found .
Oil paintings and white tea . Your past the museum I’d walk
through quietly until we broke the silence with a laugh, your
past the void I’d fill with white tea, the small of your back
where I’d place my hand and endless lists of moments of levity
wrapped and tied neatly as those perfect days in may. Your
heart wrapped in twine, your hand and crooked parts delicate
like stems, your reason the leaf scroll work holding us back,
yesterday and pages torn written in tears, endless stories –
between the stories you should write and let me read.

Someday I’ll tell you
about the hungry night and thinking of devastating eyes
the tragic milky moon being covered until the wind finally tore
the clouded grey curtained sky open and light being poured
from between the seems spilling like liquid across the dark
earth and

it was liquid, it was water, it was light, it filled my
cup in the dark, it was liquid and it made my mechanical heart
as I called it hope from hell while gravity was taken away
The cup holding the illusion of illuminated hope, you appearing
as something I’d drink slowly during the the night that’s holding
the animals and secrets of our past. How I pictured liquid
light and wandered again across dark rooms and busted
sculptures and slashed pictures about another and so many
other canal shimmering nights watching water amid the now
torn secret shroud of night atmospheric haze intoxicated
while I consider your gaze while in my chair walking the
gallery after the stone steps where the lions of patience
and fortitude guard our paper fortress of solitude,
your mind like liquid, your eyes a horror scene of picture
perfect devastation, your eyes in black frames under studio
lights. Someday I’ll tell you something very inappropriate
while blood rushes from your pretty head to your toes and
something burns between the sigh while music eases off
the tension off your shoulders the tension in the room about
your tongue being the place we should share secrets as my
hand rests on the small of your back pulling you in so close
I’d have nothing left to say. Imagine twine pulling us in tight.
Imagine being wrapped in paper in one point in time, imagine
liquid and moonlight and finding out that there was nothing –
left for us to understand.


One Response

  1. thank you and i hope we passed the audition…

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