GUESTBOOK (2012) 49: “Sleeping” (by Abel Martinez)


At Mary McLeod Bethune

Elementary School,

Mr. Bonet’s feminine

Hips stretched against

His light blue

Polyester slacks.

He called to me

Because he thought

That I was sleeping.

He grabbed the soft

Of my lobes

And shook them


“Wake up, Martinez!”

But I wasn’t sleeping.


He’d patrol

His class

Legs tightly rubbing

Against each other

As he stuck his finger

Thickly into the

Dark faces around him.

“Your people…”

“Makes me sick…”

He’d steal their candy,

Rubber band shooters,

Hot wheel cars

And store them in a drawer

That dwarfed

In his immensity.


His voice,

A hammer

In a towel

Would bounce around the walls,

Rattle the thin dust

On the shudders

And scare me

Until I raised my hands

To my head

And pinched my elbows


In front of my face.

He would explain

That Washington

Chopped down a tree

And Lincoln freed the slaves

And Martin Luther King

Fought for “our” rights

But it was just a waste of time;

That he did not anticipate

The border “situation”.


At the end of the day

Mr. Bonet would pay

His penance and

Call me over

After the last bell.

His plump

Pasty white hands

Surrounding nails

Tooth ground to the skin

Would reach into his desk

To pull out a rubber band shooter

Or car,

And he’d place it in my hand,

Tousle my hair

And say, “Wake up, Martinez”

In a soft, chewy voice.


But I wasn’t sleeping

Mr. Bonet.

I wanted to say,

That there was no line

Between us,

But an expansion

That drove him

To seethe at the mouth

Over his desk

And hate his life

And the unlucky draw

Of a straw that drove him

To the West Side of Fresno

Every morning.

And I, seeing him

Hated myself for his

Dumb luck,

Trying hard to straighten

My back

And still my boney knees.

I’d lift my head

To the ceiling

And drift away

Far – where my skin

Was the earth

And the sky held me

Over turbulent seas

Parted by my father’s

Thunder- my mother’s

Quiet storm;

And cooled me through

Glacial battles

Over imaginary lines

Drawn by Crypts and Bloods

And F-14 homeboys.

And somehow, I made it here

To the dry lawns

And tan buildings,

With my circus hair

And crooked teeth,

Sloppy in the nose

And barely, just barely

Right in the head.

I wasn’t sleeping

Mr. Bonet,


I was dreaming.


(c. Abel Martinez,  2012)



About KPKeelan

Fool, Philosopher, Lover & Dreamer, Benign TROUBLEMAKER, King and Jester of KPKworld, an online portal to visual and linguistic mystery, befuddlement and delight.
This entry was posted in GUESTBOOK and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to GUESTBOOK (2012) 49: “Sleeping” (by Abel Martinez)

  1. I SO hate having advertisements on my blog! Wish I had some say in the matter. Coupled with poetry- adverts are just so crass and disgusting!


  2. Jung says:

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the
    eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here
    and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Outstanding work!


    • @Jung: Thanks for your comments No special layout. I use the “twenty ten” theme, and I still haven’t figured out some of the features. Haven’t really experimented with other themes as I am quite happy with this one.


Love to hear your (constructive) thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s