select shorter poems by Ananda Esteva

When Latinos Go Buddhist

(Published in Pisco Sours; Civil Defense Poetry Press)

my father decided to denounce
the chastising laws of catholicism…

and embrace

In order to keep me on the path of awareness
he would say:

what’s your problem ananda?

you’re so spaced out.

you need to be HERE

Take control of your mind
or others will.

Eh eh eh
it’s here!

*    *     *
He even came up with his own terminology

We should call you… “dorpy”
cuz you’re always somewhere else
dorping around.

Don’t be tonta!

Listen to me!

Point your ears to THIS reality.

I caught you
drifting off Ananda.

Wake up!


*    *     *
I was a child
so used to following orders

I could not say
or even make the words
that I spaced out
to escape

The General Concern for Immigrants Crossing An Invented Border Between the USA & México…

(Published in Pisco Sours; Civil Defense Poetry Press)

fifty spik bodies
shot down drowned in the river
río grande swells

Butterfly Skin

-Dedicated to victims of torture everywhere-

(Published in Pisco Sours; Civil Defense Poetry Press)

i see the green blue jailhouse tattoo
on your forearm
a butterfly bathing in a deep inky pool
bleeding into your yellow skin.

i remember you told me that
your butterfly she sits
on a scar from their bullet
a snag
in the smooth golden planes of your arm
a scar raised and twisted
giving lift to her left wing and
blurring her blue design a bit

you notice my stare and point to her
you chuckle and grin,

la mariposa     
la transformación
remember this
you said

didn’t matter how much they tortured me
couldn’t kill my spirit.
it fly high above them.
the butterfly changes the pain
that touches you beyond your breath
that kidnaps you and
searches you with hot electric wires
turns your insides out

the butterfly
she changes
all that hurt into the power
to heal
into the power to laugh
to laugh

they can’t take away my laughter.

¡No pueden
quitarme la risa!

Eating Corn With Claudia

Sometimes magical realism is our reality

(Published in Pisco Sours; Civil Defense Poetry Press)

eating corn with Claudia
walking to the Oak Town corner store
we trying to snatch us some smokes
tryin’ to get us somewhere

yah, when our chit chat get growing
like pole-beans at dusk
grown so big
they block out the city
up to the moon!

and lamp posts sprout leaves
and roads relax
to red earth
and curbs turn to fields
wavin’ in the breeze

yah, we may gnaw our corn to the bone
but see it still glow yellow
n plump between the tips of our fingers
n for a moment the scent of Chile n Honduras
in our noses

Oak Town turns to our town
while i’m eating corn with Claudia
Oak Town turns to our town
n for once
we feel full