I like butterflies. Mi Evelin, she say she don’t like them. I come in on a conversation nobody invited me and mi Evelin say fuck a butterfly. These little bugs, they wrap up in sheets like you do in the morning, and when they rise up, they got someplace to be. The monarchs, like mi esposo. They do what they know they gotta do without anybody telling them what, si? What a person do gonna come back around and bite them in the ass, verdad? The greatest joke the devil ever told. You can see God if you laugh at it, Jack.
I don’t sleep so much and I am always asleep. I have a voice in my head asking little questions about the world like a child does. I lie awake or I walk in my sleep, and the bricks talk to me when I touch them. Somewhere is a place where the girls wear little shorts and death don’t matter to them with all that sun on their skin. In the basement, I close my eyes and take my breath to the bottom of my stomach. The screams of lovers in the bricks would make a boy as young as I am have a lump in his throat when it goes dry, in the pounding of my heart for them.
Where I come from, there is a light in a tunnel. It’s called The World, this distant flower everybody think is my alien homeworld. I stand in the middle, and I got a nice suit. I got enough social etiquette to shake hands when I meet somebody. There’s no hope in any white lights at the end of a little pavement, but I got enough sense to know everybody need their symbols. Enough sense to keep the green veins of love not yet realized close enough to the bootheels of industrialism, yeah yeah. To keep my friends close, and the enemies of my friends even closer.
I’m a vandal. I never did it for the beauty, though it’s beautiful. I never did it for the control, though I can feel the power when I got a bat in my hand just like anybody. I never did it because my father show me the apathy in society’s twisted definition of marriage. I do it because I see love in the affection of things. I wanna make a change that cannot be undone. Something gonna make somebody mad but not too mad. Make somebody’s day a little inconvenient. Make the rest they find on their couches in the light of the television a little sweeter at the end of that day.
Marriage is all around you. If you crack an egg onto the chocolate of one of those boxed cake mixes in an orange tupperware bowl, can you see the marriage looking through the clear goop, to the powder underneath? This kitchen is very dim. It’s one of my daughter’s. I stir it up, and she watch me from behind the cabinet and say, “What you doing here, Papi?” I show her the bowl. She creeps up to me with her very shy fingers in her mouth and big eyes. I bend down and show her the mix. It look a lot different now, verdad?
You wanna know a secret? I love to wear a watch. I love it, but they don’t work on me, so I don’t wear them. You want another one? I love to look in a mirror, but they don’t work on me, so I don’t look at them. You want another one? If I could, I would never eat in the presence of anyone I wasn’t sleeping with. You want another one? Where my daughter goes, I go too. Daughter doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does to you. She’s always to me, the still point of anyplace I find myself. I’ve been distracted because I have been with her, inside.
Gitana, I’m glad to have a letter from you. The quiet, it does to me what it does to you. Everybody get a little scared of what was supposed to be filling it up.