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CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ

 

 

 

carlos andrez gomez photoCarlos Andrés Gómez is a writer and performer from New York City. Winner of the 2015 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, Runner-up for the 2018 Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has appeared in the North American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, Painted Bride Quarterly, Muzzle, CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and elsewhere. Carlos is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

 

 

Abecedarian for the Pimp I Almost Took a Bullet For

               after Natalie Diaz

 

I.

All I knew at twenty-three was the two-sided coin:

bad & good, the world recast in a black & white

cinemascape. I wore a cheap knockoff from 1-2-5th

draped-loose bubble coat, my pockets choked with

everything I carried: condoms, brochures, business cards,

fragments of faded receipts that would shower out of each

grab at my baggy jeans, my wallet & keys. At first, I

had two thoughts walking into the brothel: I need a new job &

I do not want to die. I still taste the punch of cheap incense,

jump a little when I hear anything steel lock into place.

Kids would play on the mangled sidewalk out front,

leave their toys three stories beneath a chorus of rehearsed

moans scored to an escalating percussion of thumps.

Not once did I see a john in the lobby, until that day.

Out of nowhere, an argument swayed the bolted door open,

Papá turned to Puto, turned six-eight pimp with the

quickness turning slurred words into a blur of bloodied

rings & bucked knuckles. I’m nobody, I told myself, I’m a

social worker, not some Good Samaritan and shit.

That is, until I caught a glimpse of the glinted metal

unveiled mid-spat from the john’s backpack—overtaken by

visceral momentum, I tackled the skinny sap

with all of my weight, hoping my grip would hold.

 

II.

            X was a pimp once too. Murdered not too far from here.

            You always laughed at the jokes on instinct, while the

            zebra-printed miniskirt of a girl crouched low—out of sight.

 

 

©2018 Carlos Andrés Gómez

 

 

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