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“Ars Poetica,” “Nude Illusion,” and “Post Verbal”

by Darrell Dela Cruz

“Ars Poetica”

            -For the Watergarden

The pain has no singular outlet,

                        dispersed amongst the nerves                                                                                                                                                 amplified in the spread

which you rub as though you can

                                    control the collateral damage

                                                                                    of earthquakes.  Just lean

on the jets in the hot tub, the strength of being pushed away

                                                                        and pushing back just enough

to settle into a controlled

                                    numb. A conversation amongst smoke fogging

every time we continually

                                                            undiscover each other.  To never know

and need the alphabet


how I place my knee below your crotch

as you trust me to lean my lips onto you

to encapsulate our language like a self-contained virus.

To test me.  To test me.  To test me.

“Nude Illusion”

We view the intimate as a thing

not specific.  How can we trust a protected

hand to touch us spiritually? How can we

adjust our television sets to allow

that same hand to push through?  Caress us. Enough

for me to whisper let go and for you to

mouth a goodbye. Wait at the station,

don’t cry.  Bruises documented like those going

through Angel Island, their body exposed

like they are sinners to white dressed helpers.

A color that represents death in another language

where one can only can speak between fingers.

“Post Verbal”

There are too many rings

on your keychain, each to separate

which place you can enter/leave: your husband’s place,

your place, your car, his lockbox.  What is the sound

of keeping?  In “One Art,” it may look like

a disaster to keep track of lost things: his birthday,

the last time you said you loved him, how

to reconcile the distance between islands

and cities.  But we continue leaving/

meeting. Our bodies, mine/yours

disgust you.  Don’t insult the person

I love I tell you.  We are         not fixtures.

Darrell Dela Cruz’s work has appeared in Saw PalmThe Minetta ReviewCrab Orchard Review, and Studio One.  He has a blog where he analyzes poems:  He graduated with an MFA in Poetry from San Jose State University.

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