A Mother’s Advice

A week or so ago I told Jesse that I had written a poem about socks. It took me a while to dredge this one up, but here it is. It’s an early effort at a “funny” poem. I don’t think I really succeeded. Oh well.


A Mother’s Advice

Love is a dirty pair socks;
ecstasy, the bitter-sweet scent of sweat
and new shoes; socks
draped over a corner of an unmade double bed
with stained, worn sheets.

Darling, don’t deify
a dirty set of socks in vain.
Make sure, at the very least,
that it’s a pair
of dress socks.

A little something I threw together at lunch…


Warm water surges;
Ripples nearly running
over the worn tub’s lip.
Water licks soles and toes
And slowly slides off
Raisin skin into a puddle.

How long has it been…

Since I walked the tightrope?
Since I contemplated death?
Since the world forgot me?
Since I forgave myself?
Since I was born?

Medicine-mirror-man scans
Raisin-cum-grape skin.

How long…
Since I was this clean?

Earliest Memories

I was born July 15 (a summer or two after the hippie’s celebrated their “summer of love” and a year after Neil met the man on the moon) to Ana Luisa H. and Manuel Balbino S. on the north end of an island known worldwide as Manhattan. My parents soon split. My earliest memories don’t include my father at all, but that would change drastically in the coming years.

Memory #1… Watching my uncle Hansel (yes, his name is really Hansel) blow bubbles from his saliva as he slept on a high backed cushioned chair.

Memory #2… Playing with my sisters on a sculpture in a nearby park.

Memory #3… Walking with my sisters to get lunch, though I’m not sure why weren’t just eating at home

Memory #4… Bathing with my sister, Bertha (yes, her name is really Bertha) and seeing that she was not anatomically the same as me, I tucked my member between my legs and ran out to greet my mother with a “Mami look, I’m just like Bertha!”

Memory #5… Going with my mom to the bus station to pick up my sister Zaida (yes, her name really is Zaida) for summer break from private school.

Memory #6… Climbing into the refrigerator to get something… what I don’t remember

Memory #7… Riding the subway to go to the public pool for the day.

Memory #8… Going to schools (day cares?) with my mother as she asked questions

Memory #9… My last memory of my time in Manhattan was actually of leaving Manhattan… I remember getting on the plane to go to another island… Hispaniola