María Arrillaga


Glorify the panic
Black birds of inevitable loss
Stroll from one party to the other
And another
Ever to another
Drink to satiety not afraid of getting out of sync
Life is bliss in the fields of orgies balsamic for lilies nourish and make the joy grow

Way on top of the mountain familiar
-So many needs unfulfilled-
Defy the scars
Black tulips revolve and turn a shine around the body


High royalty, eggplant slices dance intensely in the hot cauldron deeply anointed with oil that might turn dangerous
And so it is
A piece of skin trembles, vibrates; while appropriating the looks of shrunken raspberries
Like a sudden fall over a reef of coral sharp and pointy
On a distant desert, hallucinated pain takes off and flies over the barrier of its limit
Men in the kitchen can make one nervous

A Mother with a broken heart
Three vivid sores adorn the tip of her lip
Three bright poinsettias
Celebrate the daughter's run.

A slash over a breast

A needless careless gash
Like missing a date for lack of space?
A line of survival perhaps?
Remains blatantly in place the body nude like an encampment set up for seduction

On to the shores of relaxed ripples
Minute, steady, focused bites
Saliva royally crowns the nipple

The belly wide, graceful as a specially chosen tortoise shell, subtle the blend of colors, refuses to be diminished by anyone or anything including aerobics of any kind
The eye moves forward to the silky tapestry of the immense, rich womb
Steps of dove, soft, leave imprints on the sand
The slits are dazzling, utterly shiny red sequins that hide the scalpel

From thighs to ecstatic buttocks
Waves ever tumultuous
The sassy stretch marks of births galore connect and speak with the rosette that frames the bud
Majestic both after the voyage deep into fertility

lashes furiously resonate,
Deep dark night,
Mighty, dense
Black and blue marks turn shocking purple
Yet not a drop of blood
Let me die if I want to die
The loving mark outlines my hips, dwells on an inner thigh
Open skin bristles and speaks strange tongues
A shadow lane, a hidden road, the woods alive
A newfound invention of the self

Days gone by, marks still glisten
Deeply moved by this mode of body paint
Thorns and petals, completely out of mind, obsessively clutch the breast

The towers topple
My foot is slashed, my leg, my thigh
My mouth turns blood red
As do my eyes
From my hair I hang
My vulva's liquid
An engorged stream
Blood red as well
Makes me numb
Frozen in time

Fleshy, succulent, a sturdy whore by Lautrec
A placid lady à la Renoir
One proud, scarred woman hand in hand arrives
A barcarole voracious
She eats with naked passion
In a best dream, possessed by the smell and visuals of fields of gardenias,
content, like a baby that clings to the tit, into the abyss of delight she peeps
So real the arousal, eagerly she gives herself to the primary ecstasy of a prick, infinite, who in complicity, tenaciously penetrates her expectant humid way where absolutely soaked with desire, as one, they couple to ascend a state delirious

It has become stylish to wax the pubis
She shaved hers
It hurts, hurts, hurts
Her man looked:
"What have you done? in shock he said,
I like the fuzz!
Don't ever stilt the precious growth"
She thought:
"Wax is for candles to light the way of love
Shaving makes little dotted scars that are not nice
Let me be grateful for the forest thick that frames the seat of my pleasure"

Right on the bridge of her nose
She thought herself spirit and bumped her face hard on the glass door
Now she knows what it is like to see a bunch of twinkling stars during the day
He could not believe it
"Not even a drink, I swear! she plaintively tried to explain,
My soul turned into a bird, my body remained put

She looked all over for her favorite shoes
Days, weeks, months,
Zillions of years went by
The clogs float in the same space where she threw them after too many blisters
Unharmed, her feet clean, like a good child, the little scars begin to disappear.

"I knew you
I remember you
Thirty years ago", she said.
"You are an old woman, he said,
No wa y I can place you from my youth".
She had wanted to play piano
She became a bear instead
She lingered
It was Winter
The Winter of her discontent
It freaked her out
There was blood
One day,
She went off
The big, sharp kitchen knife
followed the laws of gravity
and came down
slashing over the second toe of her right foot
next to the nail polished
with Dior's "Vamp" .
She did not want to call attention to herself
She ran and looked for a band-aid
The blood stained the white rug
She scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed
The bleeding stopped
But the wound would take a while to heal
"I am so very accident prone", she thought.
Well, her mother always called her clumsy.
That's how she was.
Winter takes its toll
A storm, a windy blizzard
You can barely see
Tiny flakes cover everything up
From the bare bone outline across her window
Her longing cuts her open
A passion fruit asunder
She wants her gritty city back
Where it's warm, Always warm, So very warm.

About the Author

María Arrillaga belongs to three places: Puerto Rico, Manhattan, Woodstock. She earned her Ph.D., Magna Cum Laude, at the University of PR where she was a tenured full professor. She writes, in English and Spanish, poetry, fiction, essays and literary criticism. Her work has appeared in numerous international reviews including: Confrontation, Long Island University; PEN International, England; Mother Tongues, Canada; Festa da Palabra Silenciada, Galicia, Spain; Comunidad, México; NOW, Jamaica. Has been included in various anthologies: These Are Not Sweet Girls, U. of Massachuset; Versos de terras distantes, Galicia, Spain; Festa de la Poesía, Barcelona, Spain; Melanthika, An Anthology of Pan-Caribbean Writing, England. Various poetry readings include Women's Literary Workshop, PEN American Center, Mujeres Polifónicas al Filo, Niuyorican Poet's Café, NY as well as many in Europe, Santo Domigo and PR. Maria's collected poetry Yo soy Filí Melé, was published in 1999 by the U. of PR Press. Her novel, Mañana Valentina, Room of One's Own Press, Chile, was finalist in the Institute of Latin American Writers, Hostos Community College, NY, 1996 as well as in the Letras de Oro Contest, U. of Miami, 1994. María was president of PEN Puerto Rican Center, 1989-1991, and Secretary of the Women Writer's Committee PEN International and regional organizer for Latin America, 1991-93. She is currently at work on a poetry collection, Flamingoes in Manhattan and The Guava Orchard: A Puerto Rican Memoir.

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