A Way to Hear it

By AJ Urquidi
if you lower your internal systems
to the minimum level of required
_________—input and study the buzzing
in your calming room ___________you
______——–can pick up traces of the dog
inhaling next door

__________-you can faintly hear
the airstrip emancipating jets

____–the whistle of carbon dioxide
through the bougainvillea’s mud flaps

_______——the chain on a bicycle

——-____—-cowards in love
___—-laughing at their radio

you can hear from the foot
____–of the driveway a brother’s
_________–heroic holler and the crash
____–of his sword on his sister’s
cardboard shield

__________-a branch cracks
___—-and the bicycle brakes

fighting finches quiet as a hawk
____–descends on their bush

________—-an engine sputters
behind continuous trickles of a hose
____–filling the landlord’s navy
blue pool _—you remember
____–the one with scrappy-eyed
starfish and glistening pink tridents

_______——you can hear a slither
in the nearest wall and the ominous
whisper of stateside termites regrouping
________—-one lover clears
his throat and slams
a door _____-which fades into squawk
of an inscrutable alien tongue

_____-you can hear an assault
on drums without accompaniment

____–if you power down even more
__________barely to register
your commitment to the scene
on any measuring chart ____you
_____can pick up traces of the Pacific
down the hill ______forcing
__________itself into further sands
_____with claws dragging and tearing

________—-you can hear murmurs
_____of a heart in the lover’s
womb and the boots of sister
_____and brother both cultivated
________—-to resist the pressure
_____-of concluding climbing
down the corrugated stairwell
_________–to another distant unspoken-of war
At times representing Monterey, Los Angeles, and NYC, AJ Urquidi is a heterogeneous poet and editor. His writing has appeared in various journals, including Faultline, Verdad, Chiron Review, RipRap, and DUM DUM Zine. A Gerald Locklin Writing Prize recipient, AJ co-founded online journal indicia and has led workshops at Cal State Long Beach and Beyond Baroque.