Unlikely Stories | Poems on Identity and Place
Publication on Unlikely Stories. Cecilia's Poems on Otherness, Liminalities and in-Betweennesses, and the Search for Duende, Sustainability and Resilience
by Cecilia Martinez-Gil
If we choose the path of destruction, the planet will continue to descend irreversibly into the Anthropocene Epoch, the biologically final age in which the planet exists almost exclusively by, for, and ourselves. […] The Eremocene is basically the age of people [and nothing else].
“Half-Earth,” Edward O. Wilson
Come Rain or Come Shine
You said that I am fire to you
just when the candle went off.
You said that you burn when we make love,
that your body of water cannot
extinguish the fire that I light in you.
You said that I’m a light in a shadow.
I said to you that you are water
that you ended the drought of my deserted skin.
I said to you that when we make love
it’s like submerging my soul in blissful levity.
You are my sunshower, raining all over me.
My body lingers on the surface of you
and so we merge like geysers, hot springs.
I become an old faithful.
Us: Pieces of Me and Pieces of You
Who will save your soul when it comes to the flower?
You came to me after the fight.
You asked me if I’d leave you if you changed,
if things changed us.
Under your skin, under mine
we are human beings in the age of loneliness.
I said, no, I won’t leave you.
You are change itself, the morning and the evening tides.
A waterfall, ever transforming in its steady
My eyes were transfixed in your otherness.
And I had the urge to strip your clothes,
unhurriedly, layer by layer,
letting them fall as veils and shrouds on the rug
in the in-betweenness of both our feet.
My mouth watered.
My pupils dilated.
My chest beat fast.
My hands quivered.
My whole body vibrated:
Silk brocade light blue and gold suit and vest,
tie with green and turquoise stripes and sheer blue shirt,
Doc Martins golden boots, golden belt,
light blue solid pants, laced garters,
black silk stockings,
and a black lace bodysuit with light-blue roses printed on the V-shaped bra.
Until you were completely naked,
ready to be loved.
So, I submerged my body under your searing waters
and the iceberg of my heart melted away.
The Shoulders of Giants [where we stand upon]
My father said that a twisted tree will remain crooked for life.
He would summon Leviticus 18:22.
Teach me to hunt, which is what men are supposed to do.
You said that what you love of me is my synergy of the three M’s,
and I laughed because you had just made love to me.
My arms like branches
held your arms like twigs.
Breath came out almost soundlessly, through our mouths
and air came in as in whiffs.
The air is thin up in the mountains
And so your iris was rainforest green.
I hung in the air,
tethered to nothing,
but I trusted that the twigs would not crack.
And they didn’t.
You saw the atmosphere in my soul,
and I saw that your body was a river’s basin.
You saw a volatile jar vacuum sealed within me
and you prognosticated the storm conjuring inside,
with electric blues thundering bolts that I’d silenced
half my life of a demiman, but not a demigod.
I am a bent tree, but as I grow
I’ll break through the wall that constrains me.
My roots are grounded in the soil
of the San Andreas’ fault that I’d inhabited
until you came to me.
And when you love me like you love me,
you water me, and my force and urge to live sprouts,
breaking through the wall,
so bricks drop onto the sides of my trench,
like ripe oranges and mangoes.
Redwood’s Xylem sap. Sequoia’s Phloem sap.
Oozing tree sap is caused by heat.
The fluctuation of temperatures brings the pressure
within tree trunks under their barks,
and so tree-sap flows through sapwood.
And I am no longer afraid
Of my life in the in-betweenness
Because it’s high ground with you.
We perch like Phoenix birds
On giant trees.
"Poems on Identity and Place" are excerpted from The Eremocene: The Age of Loneliness. The Eremocene is written by Eric Caleb Blair, a fictional character in Cecilia Martinez-Gil's novel-in-progress, Sunshower [Lluvia con Sol].
Cecilia Martinez-Gil is the author of Psaltery and Serpentines (Gival Press 2010). Her second collection of poetry, a fix of ink was published by Finishing Line Press (2016). Her poems have been published in both English and Spanish at the international Levure Litteraire, The Paddock Review, Women’s Voices , Anthology of Latin American Writers in L.A., Imaginarias: Antología de Poesía and in her first chapbook Muecas de Fósforo (Caballo de Fuego 1987). She also co-wrote and played the lead character in the award-winning experimental video Itinerarios (CEMA 1988). Cecilia’s work in journalism has been published in several newspapers and magazines. She teaches English and Latin American Literatures at Santa Monica College. You can learn more about her at CeciliaMartinezGil.com. Cecilia recommends supporting GLAAD.