Daniel Vidal Soto

Daniel Vidal Soto

Daniel Vidal Soto


BY Lydia Flores & Daniel Vidal Soto

If I die tomorrow

Check the east river
Before you mourn
Before the eulogy song
Go to 112th and Madison
Ask for them to show you
Chenchita’s garden
See how my wella brought
Puerto rico to harlem
And then the city deported
It. Told the sunflowers
Bow their heads and snipped
The roses of their thorns.

Oh yeah but
They try to call it a state now …
After they robbed it
But to me it’s still the rich port.

Oh they forget my divinity
That I am water and lightning
& all this dust
That tlaloc is my grandfather’s
Grandfather & my mother is the moon
& when I wear my beads and stones

Chencita’s garden
Of stone & throws & thumb
Pressing ivory into a heat
& an ivy of a deep sea green
Feels no less inviting
Than a siren’s prayer
Between the folds of a soft petaled
Dream to love in the garden
Again, again, again
Mother, where is this garden,
Your lie, your deep lie
There is no garden

Chenchita, I am your son [I am your daughter]

Lost outside this garden
& my back is wounded
By the leaf’s absence
My throat dried
From singing with birds
Until grace offers a crumb
I’m trying to remember
When eating wasn’t labor
An endeavor to cheapness
An object in the stomach wanton

So I take a seat at this table
And when they tell me
Go back home. Or Go to
The back the bus….
(in a reversed psychology kinda way)
with a slick smile on their face
or all that all lives matter shit
I say

“ no me diga”

cuz today
feels just like yesterday
like the long nights my mama’s mama
and all the mamas before that
peeled back the velvet sky and
crawled into it just so we could
have the stars but we too spoiled
for that kind of sacrifice.

White people treat me angrier
As if I remind them a ghost

From collective memory, Geronimo
Riding his horse & in the back, his throne
They must feel me
My water must do something
To the exterior field which might be called aura
& I might, unintentionally, heal them
By the center of my own being

I might accidentally bless my enemies
To their death
A sweet death, a death nonetheless

“if I engage with
Non-violence, I, by contact
Engage with violence”

I know Akilah Oliver warned this
In her triumphant angels
But still her body fell
Not too far from Hak Kyung Cha
Giving her sermon
At the edge of the universe
Which can’t be death
Except to let the atoms
Which must pass by, pass by

like fear turned back the clock
and our tongues are shackled
to silence, lying on top of each other
pissing our opinions and making
bunkbeds out of all our sins.
Fluffing time and numbing
Ourselves just so we can sleep
At night.

Yet some how
We all claim to be “woke”

and I’m just saying’
If I die tomorrow

Bring all the candles you want
But before the vigil
Take back my body from their hands
and spread every part of me everywhere
do not hold on to me like rosary beads
do not uncoil my tongue to translation
and make them pronounce my name right
I’m all for accessibility but no more
Simplicity for the sake of their inability
(to roll their tongue— or whatever)
That my last name is pronounced:


so yes, if I die tonight
you ain’t gotta bring flowers

cuz I am a ranunculus and sunflower

but before I die, know
im all thorns

rekindle the fire of the taino
and I can swallow them all whole
Santa Maria, the Niña, the Pinta

cuz today feels just like yesterday

And today there are protests like yesterday
& registrations like yesterdays
& forced number tattoos on bodies like yesterday
& yesterday’s yesterday-poet already sang of yesterday
As if it were a best friend who didn’t say bye but still went missing
Today Mumia and Lopez are still caged like yesterday
There is no today or yesterday
Because the tanks with white boys are still rolling through native soil
Because today is violently interrupting my being, telling me
To work full hard into the next day, until the next day
Brings its own buildings I must build and clean
Brings its own tax
I must pay today to day today if I want to day at all
Today is a broken record player: Judge Judy, Judge Alex, Jeopardy tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
They’re going to play them the same time
The same old script – mental anesthetic
Can’t wait to catch the ending tomorrow…..

If I do die
I did not commit suicide

& bury me deeper than six feet
so that I can root all the way
back home,

split through the border
all earthquake and Jericho

Throw the sages ash in water
The water is thirsty for the dust
And the dust is ready for its finality

If I die it is not death
But conscious moving light
From the body to this point
If I die tomorrow it is a blessing
To have found a final home
A no where home that is every where
& my ghost will still watch the children

If I die
I will come back something holy

sometime before midnight, a blue egg appears

Is it possible
                    /to wake/ with no memory
          to decide/ I’m letting go/
                                        all these
bags, bitter and full/when          they’ve been/
defining me all /along//alone/          the path/
have been many hearts/
                              i/made full/
by my own mistake/
                              they began/ to love
(me)/too/ is quite a danger/
cliff diving is exhilarating/ but stupid/
& stupidly/

                can I ask myself/&
grant my self/
                my own for-/-give-/-ness /(?)/:/

I don’t care/
                I don’t feel/ I am my
          I am on my own/
               &               & love is
the only thing
                    I breathe//it wraps me/
so much/
            I must fight/
                              its greed/
wearing white as a monk/will

bring      you(:)/
will come/
            looking for repentance,
an entrance, a wound

Anodyne of Water

–for Thylias Moss, a real and true friend

When writing about water
I should first remember
My roots in a pyramid
Above Tlaloc’s resting place
Though he rules the clouds,
The lake, thunder, and
Lightning – which can’t be

I should remember water
Is the universal solvent –
The initial flush after
A rush of heat and war

I should remember most ceremonies
          Cannot close or open
          Without first rain

I should remember
          That the memory of
          Rain dances are being erased
          Along with the dance itself

I should remember
          My sister’s baptism
          At 30 years
          Because she felt it
          Because the waters
          Called her, even if
          She doesn’t believe in ghosts
          But she believes in
          Water and newness

I should remember
          Pouring out flower water
          On 23rd and 8th, and these
          Were the moments
          Strangers would gather
          To hear me sing
          The wrinkled petals
          To aqueous sleep

I should remember
          The water gardens
          My grandfather, who
          Is posiedon, would make
          Goldfish and turtles and
          A wooden bridge
          Just running across
          The waters he
          Gathered, parted
          And waid

“the anodyne of water”
          I hear a time traveler
          Say from atop a crest
          Some several waves away
          & it makes sense
          I might have heard this
          From the siren’s mouth –
          A truth too beautiful
          For my perception
          For my water
          But water is nothing
          & so the smallest thing
          Is amplified –
          Especially love

I think of the imperfect
          Sensitivities of water
          With water, that hydrogen
          & oxygen do hold a
          Frail bond with frail hands
          Who can efface the pride
          Of rock,
                    In so much too feed
                    The earth
                    Lay at her spine
                    & become the necessary
                    Soul for her kingdom

I am sometimes afraid
          I am water
          But this would explain
          The different reactions
                    Sometimes I am loved,
                    Welcomed, and opened
                    More by someone’s love
Others push me away
                    With their invisible
                    Hands, say no to love
          & some people don’t want love
          & should mind your business
                    Trying to bless me – I
                    Want none of it
          & I must abide
                    If my call
                    Is really spiritual

& you can imagine
          How worn down
          I must be

That my waters
          Are held together
          By the cross
          That is also
          Its own current

You’d think I’d know
          Where to go
          Having gone
          All directions

& this is why
          The waters must be clear
          The waters must be free
          The waters won’t damage

I’ve been wanting to cry

Last time I cried I was
In Bill kirchner’s memorial reading

& he was talking to God
          & I was listening in on
                    The conversation

Because it seemed that god had
          Bill’s ear in his mouth –

St Mark’s Church on the Bowery
          “Angel of the Earth”, “friend & brother
          To all mankind”     remembering
                              A gay white man who, at
                              Least, for a little bit
                              Suffered somehow like me
          But he was yelling at god

Asking him the same old
          Why me why now why life
& all this mess

& I try real hard not
          To love the 1 I know
          Will never love me –
                    Though is he kind
                    Though he is patient
                    Though he makes the night
                              Warmer but not unbearably so
                    Though I don’t want to die by heartbreak

My eye kisses his presence
          & I know enough of light
          To let it gentle him –
          A breeze, almost too soft –
                    A kind reminder, it’s hot
          Life is hot, but here’s a break

& mom, I don’t want my heart
          To break
                    I’m done loving…growing:
                                                       letting love grow

dvs’s poetry has won the Raed Leaf International Poetry Prize, the Loft Literary Mentorship, and was named “One of the Best of 2014” by La Bloga Floricanto. his poetry, drawings, multimedia critical essays, and photo-essays appear in La Bloga Floricanto, thosethatthis, cloud city press, downtown brooklyn, “The Border Crossed Us: An Anthology to End Apartheid”, the Nerds of Color, and Latino Rebels. He also walks and vogues with the House of Xtravaganza, and has danced at Danspace at the St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery and at the Smithsonian Institute’s “Changing America” exhibit. he just wants to live in a way that’s alive.