Violent Current and Other Poems | The New Engagement

Violent Current and Other Poems

By Mateo Lara
Violent Current art

Vukić Part XIII

For Mihael

Once the poison breaks from his veins,

A turning ghost wastes its permanence on sucking youth from a raging heart.

First, we think of life: roundabout, pursuing a selfish sea,

Against these muddy hands, dripping distance and silence,

Clawing at sediment and touch, clawing at sediment and want,

Clawing at the world for fucking us up and telling us only half-truths.


I miss shape-shifting, drunken on his bed,

Crooked fingers tracing the keyboard,

The humming night, stargazing into brown eyes,

And destructive rooms and wine-drenched sheets,

Foreign luck turned into a perfect spot for growth,

Upon my universe, I was only 22 and naïve,

Cut a hole in his favorite shirt and kept all my secrets there.


He asked me to be nothing, erase myself,

Dig holes, bury infinite things,

As he lit his cigarette, chemical moans subdue precious delivery.

Black soot uprooted all my sanity,

From his burning tongue, a harsh red melted my mood,

When he moved back home, 6000 years of solitude and miles,

Crashed and burned me out, his language became Croatian once more,

And my English slipped between the cracks of his broken skin.


He would never remember me as he once did,

For in silence we forget and I’m still searching for sentiment between his straight-laced ribs.



Saso Hue

Like ocean swells and daybreak and rain on the windowsill---Like Jay eggs and tsunami veils covering a pure land,

And river bends and drowning.

Green like jaded tigers and emerald pools of Irish sea,

Or grass in dry summer and fresh in forest air, rebirth in Spring,

Or perhaps,

A mix of something deadly and ethereal,

Blue-green death of growth and wanting.

Something pulled together in great plains where broken lands,

Stitched themselves together in jagged images, pieces resurfacing from the root of self,

Cracked in half from earthquake days, shattered remains from a heart at war,

And vines have taken control of every dying thing,

That lie in the earth and dissolve it back into pure form.

A purity, constant and whispering behind pulsing shrouded eyes,

Thinking of truth eyes, never washed a shirt eyes,

Together eyes, controlling the fates eyes,

Like the colored eyes, of a desolate mood,

World swirling in whirlpool truth,

Down into the core of self-awareness---Down into the core of a temple moon.

To give the body significance against sun-lit dreaded beams,

Of impurity.

Blue like foggy midnights and fruity drinks---green like venom shots and hunting in the streets and desire,

Floating on the skin like fireworks,

Pop, pop into reality, a reverence for an ultimate truth,

Some kind of law in the bones, a hue: sometimes green, sometimes blue.



Violent Current as Gay Thoughts

Ebb- stomached the pain of indifference,

Lounged in the fire pit, inferno madness: the hell.


Flow- cascade, slowly wind down into my mountainous agony,

Enrich every sadness lake with minerals and salt wounds.


Wave- I salt the earth with my joy, haphazard and waning,

Like the crescent room, a full moon of static and daunting appreciation for darkness.


He kept telling me: “Don’t Lie.”

As if any tepid warning would fall from my chest, to pretend art was anything but selfish,

Dripping in hurricane to emote tendrils in,

Winding a charge all over the frame of humanity.


I pulsate, against his bitter truth, he is the wolf,

I talk about when I write, as he stalks my dreams,

Eats girls when I sleep,

Hetero-hedonistic monstrous, against a violent current of my life,

Impact and aftermath, swallowing all debris,

Ruins in my mouth, all across my scorched bones,

Skeletal and echoing: “Don’t Lie.”, what is there to lie about?

I said I only,

Carved his name on every wooden surface of my mind,

And didn’t ask for anything in return.


Current- mixed depravity with pleasure, emptied out and went,

Stomached every pain of indifference, and waded again in our dirty water.

Mateo Lara is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature and Language at Cal State Bakersfield. He has recently published his first collection of poems, entitled “Keta-Miha and Other Poems.” He is of Mexican-American heritage and endeavors to incorporate his ethnic identity into his writing. He also draws inspiration from his “real life experiences filled with pain, color, and everything in between.” From Mateo: “Reality meets fantasy in my world.”

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