señor tupa, when you were eight you learned how to hold a shank.
when you were ten you learned how to play a record without chipping the vinyl
when you were five you lost one of your favorite sneakers
when you were twenty you burned your first candle to oshun
Queens, Péru, Patterson New Jersey, Miami, Harlem
you never went duck hunting nor did you ever wow a monopoly game
you became a truck driver passing spools of yarn and aerosol
attachments to discount stores across America
your shanty remains the same
but for the first time in a long time the huaca bleeds
“Miremos nuestra soledad en el desierto.” i
i “Let us look at our loneliness in the desert.” Purgartorio, Raul Zurita
the art of hustle
your existence is in the sky right now;
your spacious seat has plenty of legroom.
Tupa I’m guessing your dream reigns as does rest.
you can be a couch potato for the duration of flight–
how good it must feel to be a god on divinity’s blanket.
in another dream, we enter the jungle,
we disappear into Urubamba’s steam,
living in the greenery of your ancestors
until the conch shell is heard.
lucid, ethereal chat tucked warmly
between coherency and dreamland,
you, the nomad is for a moment freed
from your incarceration;
freed from that immobile narcotic of driving
been dreaming of 1572.
how Sapa put one finger to his ear,
let it fall to his side.
dreamt of the blade rive the feather of his neck;
awoke when hearing a mother wail.
a night in Las Vegas the Sapa fell again;
it was no dream in 1996.
I saw the bullet dissect the air on Flamingo Road.
I saw it enter; slice through a lung.
awoke when hearing the shot.
witness how our enemies make hemorrhage.
somehow, you prevented any expression
you found it better to ricochet sparks of emotion
smoke your legacies’ ashes in the backwoods;
dimpling canvas of found rubber and mutilated cops cars.
señora tochtli tekaptl
1781 NW 95th streetii
some days have passed since transcribing your work.
shattered by cinderblocks in the gallery,
I am wondering about your raft.
a kitchen table sold to the most respected curator
are we children of the hurricane?
there is something dark in your trunk of hand-me-downs
on the down low? on gibbeted stuffed vizcachasiii?
the old devils spin a quarter inch cable from Miami to Grand Concourse
from your spit is created knots of strings
I see you rendering like a squirrel during harvest
I see you hide within the tweeters a picture of your mother
you have seen her embrace labor in the lowland forest;
you have seen the campfire.
it is obvious why you cannot let go of the capture?
everything can’t be left behind
el gallinazo no canta en puna
ii “The turkey buzzard doesn’t sing in the highlands.” Peruvian saying
iii vizcacha is a rabbit native to the Andean mountains.
Writer, vocalist, and sound artist latasha n. nevada diggs is the author of three chapbooks which include Ichi-Ban and Ni-Ban (MOH Press), Manuel is destroying my bathroom (Belladonna Press), and the album Television. Her work has been published in Rattapallax, Black Renaissance Noir, Nocturnes, Spoken Word Revolution Redux, Ploughshares, The Black Scholar, P.M.S, Jubilat, Everything But the Burden, Tea Party Magazine, and Muck Works, to name a few. Her interdisciplinary work has been featured at The Kitchen, Recess Activities Inc, The Whitney, and MoMa, to name a few. As a vocalist, she has worked with the likes of Vernon Reid, Akilah Oliver, Mike Ladd, Butch Morris, Gabri Christa, Shelley Hirsch, Burnt Sugar, Edwin Torres, Elliot Sharp, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Bernard Lang, Vijay Iyer, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Towa Tei, and Guillermo E. Brown. She has received scholarships, residencies, and fellowships from Cave Canem, Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, Naropa Institute, Caldera Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts (2003/2009), the Eben Demarest Trust, Harlem Community Arts Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Barbara Deming Memorial Grant for Women, and the Jerome Foundation. As an independent curator and director, LaTasha co-presented several literary/musical events with The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and throughout New York City. She is a Harlem Elohi Native.