Party Favors for My Historical Birthday
A brother who will never make
a mess. A black tutu and a tambourine.
A little sister with a distinct sadness
who always says please. A mini spatula.
A plastic kitchen. A tiny can of Vienna
sausages. There’s a soccer ball and
an attentive father. A tortilla spread
with butter. My mother’s pretty fingers
wrapped around a book. My mother’s
pretty fingers, wiping.
There’s a Tragic Kingdom CD. Twelve
Baby Sitter’s Club paperbacks. A vibrating
doodle pen to touch yourself with.
There’s a puppy with no tail, a slice of
cheese ripped to shreds. A hangover
while watching Jurassic Park.
There’s a mirror, a photograph of us,
a broken hour and teeth. I tried to give
them away to a Patrick Nagal model,
but she already had her own.
Here’s everything I have. I’m giving
them to you. So you can understand.
So you don’t throw all of me away.
after Tim Z. Hernandez
Fresno, you could use more letters of love. Here,
take these. Stretch the vowels between your Alluvial
and Ashlan hands and hang like a father's nap
in afternoon where he is not tired, but sleeps
anyway. Isn't that what you are? The hum of lives
just on edge of living? They assume you slumber,
Fresno, always. That's what they think of you.
They believe you scuttle like a maple leaf about to be
stepped on by a young mother who catches bus ten
to work today. Her name is Iris. She teaches Zumba
and wears a blinged out black booty shorts that spell
Suave across her ass and red velvet high tops and she's
the sexiest thing you've ever seen and you want
to be her. You know what, fuck that Fresno.
Grab your consonants by the hair and dangle them
over a drying alfalfa field where ground squirrels
are mating in weeds; ecstatically. Resurrect them
from your dusty mouth and sing them at the world's
karaoke show which you can find in any morning
where someone asks your name and cares what
your answer is, where someone does not ask, for once,
if the California drought is effecting you, where someone
does not apologize that you're not LA or SF, because you
never tryto convince people how important you are
anyways, do you. Fresno, mija, ver, how many times will
I tell you you're gorgeous, that the cities are either jealous
or destructively self-centered if they can't hear your lingered
falsetto, that Smokey Robinson hammock in the heart
falsetto, that consonant and terrible beauty made of smog
sinking into skyline and fig orchard ghosts and malls built over
old Japanese Internment Camps and people being both born
and dying in the same house in Pinedale and casinos full
of cowboy boots and smoke and fucking trucks everywhere
and fruit plumping from the inside from the inside from
the inside on every god damn corner, where sunsets wake up
on the street, so afraid and so proud of their hands.
I want the full clouds and raveled telephone wires
to show me a little tenderness. It’s my birthday.
Today, I am twenty-seven years old
my nails are orange and my family
is watching TV far away.
I know I exist.
Being a person is serious.
But I want to explode
in someone’s hands.
I want someone I love
whose hair I like
whose words turn my head
honey and little horses
to be proud of me. I want them
to come home
and wipe their feet
in front of my door.
When they ask me
how my day is, I’ll answer
in sea foam, my heart
will be liquid
scrambling up the shore.
Sara Borjas is a poet, bartender, and writing instructor from Fresno, California. Her interests include space/time, memory, aromatics, modern classic cocktails, tiny prints and oldiez. She currently lectures in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside and lives in Los Angeles and likes it there.