? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 3


Radames Ortiz


They pronounced your death on voicemail
They took your children away
They fed you syringes filled with angry junk
Curled spoons you heated
On wintry midnights
They shackled you to backyard porches
They broke you under an ellipsis of stars
They sold you to the calculus of need
They dragged you through filthy ditches
They branded you
They shamed you
They swelled your veins into a network of slums
Your eyes once crimson and brilliant
Like gilded narcotics
Your smiles once twisted and meandering
Like wild foliage
Only to become weights of whelps
Hung heavy on your face
They flogged you with silence
So you could scream for them
They pointed with pride
To the alleys you haunted for them
They put dime bags in your hands
So you could long for them
What from the neighborhood where they’ve made you
What from the world they’ve coaxed from you
What angers them
Making them resentful, vicious
What panics them
Into seizures of woozy clouds
Today they shout curses at you
But I only hear your long, retreating
So ashamed, so beautiful, so lost
Your burdened voice
Clashing against blunt shingles of the night