Burn, Barn, Burn

by Jonathan Pérez Issue: Fall 2018 Special Issue on Justice
Barn (n.): that thing that looks like a house, but has high vaulted ceilings

My father used to say
Don’t own a little nest-infested barn.
Don’t sit all day, writing spiritual poems,
like a Barn Owl, or a bleached Ghost, until the barn burns,
ambiguous as a lung. Hoot while the smoke doesn’t fill your lungs.

Burn (v.): translate without use of a translator, transfiguring

Wake before dawn. Then you go to sleep. Migrate in the afternoon.
Read Borges, Neruda, mostly maybe Los Cantos de Lorca,
we migrate when we know that fire is just oxygen cast as performance.

Burn Barn (n.): phrase meaning to leave, take and run

Owls sleep during the waking hours. I do not speak Spanish,
but I am Spanish. I maintain the right to be forgotten.
At twilight I own my own despondency,
reticence: A danceable feast:
fiestas, carnivals, gentleness, communities, without smoldering
in the garden of untimely, the dead do not sleep,
the dead are late-comers, they watch in corners of barns, cut-off.

Burn (v.): to lose and begin without I.D.

In me sits a mud jar of empathy:
For those who lived, the opposite of fuel
is entropy.

There is no justice in fourth-generations.
The opposite of hate, the sharp shrill of love, belonging
a burning pledge, a folk song of death, Andalusia,
mired in the hours of love without ballad of light.

After his divorce, my father returned his books
to the library of lost borrowing cards,
returned His-Panic,
and took a terrible leap across the country,
from me
left no history, no trace
of the burned home of books,
when the smoke cleared
just a gentle nagging:
that could never pass the emissions test of time.

Jonathan Pérez

Jonathan Andrew Pérez, Esq. has published poetry in Prelude Magazine, The Write Launch, Panoply Magazine, Paradigm Journal, Junto Magazine, and was featured in Silver Needle Press.  He has forthcoming poems in Yes Poetry Journal, Westchester Review, Watermelanin, Raw Art Review, and Swimming with Elephants. His poem on Emmett Till was featured in Aquifer, U.C. Florida’s Latino/Latinx publication. Jonathan was selected by The Virginia Quarterly Review 2018 and Cave Canem for their poetry workshop. He is in the process of completing a chapbook, White Hispanicism.

He has a day job as an Assistant District Attorney as a prosecutor.