Border Crossings

In the late 1950’s we lived in a Southern California suburb. Families like mine were moving into areas that had been part of the Spanish empire about one hundred years before, so towns and areas had Spanish names. Different ethnicities, cultures, traditions and even religions were suddenly having to deal with each other. The kids handled the situation better than the parents, partly because romantic attraction often has no borders.


Border Crossings


1) In the gym Mrs. Plotz played our parents’ music,

taught us to tango the Latin rhythms stirring up

tangled feet tangled feelings so we sweated

hard and laughed and avoided each other’s eyes.


2) When Mouse Morales snuck some Playboys to school

guys during passing periods saw women on glossy paper

but suspected by lunchtime they were lies they were

not like any women they had seen.


3) To dance, the guy had to leave the pack

of guys, stroll across the gym to the girls

(whisking skirts and whispering) and

ask one who might say “yes.”


4) Rosie Cardonas liked my light blue eyes,

would hold my hand in hers for sweetness. One day

she fought Gloria Garrobo between classes,

tore at her clothes her eyes scratching for blood.


5) When I asked Rachel for a slow dance we swayed

side to side and no parts touching but our hands and then

I turned my head, saw her grimace to friends,

assessing the quality of my dancing my future.


6) Couples were mostly white and white or brown

and brown and some were white and brown,

but for those of us unpaired (impaired)

the borders looked bigger than color.


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I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

2 thoughts on “Border Crossings”

  1. the word “lurch” certainly describes my progress towards manhood. i did a lot of lurching. and thanks for the reference to yeats, although i know that “i’m not worthy.” i appreciate your always thoughtful comments, which mirror the thoughtfulness, if not the beauty, of your poems.


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