Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the china bus. (junot)


(junot diaz photo--oscar wao novel bio photo)


the brother next to me
looks--
shady

brown hoodie
baggy jeans
gap-toothed smile

the last thing i expected
his tinted lips to ask me for--
was a book


perhaps a dime
or my phone number
or maybe the world
who knows these days?

my tongue
was prepared to slash
any request he proposed
eyes ready to roll
and teeth ready to suck themselves

but all he wanted
was the knowledge of Junot Diaz
nestled safely
between a white cover
black ink
and my laptop and r.s.v.p pens

my hesitation was not
that I'd never see
the Pulitzer Prize winner again
(I'm lying)
that his sticky fingers
might learn magic
within this six hour ride
and make Oscar Wao disappear
(I'm still lying)
it was the wrestling of Spanglish
words and descriptions
of abuela's and bodega's
that i feared he might not understand

and that thought alone
humbled me

who was i to decide
his reading level
based on his apparel
and vernacular

most poets
are grunge
backpacks and fringe jackets
worn journals
with not much to say
unless reading from it

and after waiting too long
for a response
his eyes resolved to dance
on the pages of an open book
of the girl on the other side of him

and Junot
somehow landed on my fingertips
and rocketed to his palm

ready to shed light
on anyone looking
for

illumination.

-riv-