Ingrid M. Calderon-Collins

Digestion and Circulation   

There is therapy in the 2006 remastered version of “The Blood,” by The Cure.

There is also therapy in therapy, 

even if it’s me talking to a screen in my kitchen, while my therapist tells me that labels are unnecessary.

There is therapy in vitamins and ritual, apples with peanut butter.

There is therapy in the Siouxsie and the Banshees version of “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us.”

There are rituals that end up being therapy.

Therapy on our knees, either in church or in front of our beloved. 

In whiting out mistakes on paper, in looking at the flame of a candle during a blackout.

A flash in the sky, a black ocean, a flock of parakeets being obnoxious.

In the detail of your torso when you breathe.

In the grill marks of our dinner, and the crunch of our dessert.

Therapy is a prayer answered, an open parking space in a crowded grocery store.

Where a pendant lies,

where a compliment lives.

Music and laughter.

Crying in the middle of a meal.

Death anxiety.

Life anxiety.

Anointing celebrations on the third eye of my third eye.

A tambor mimicking my heartbeat,

 in there lives my damage 

and my remedy. 

Hindsight is 20/20

My whole day revolves around a regimen.

I wake up.

1.) remember to keep breathing

2.) apple cider vinegar, lemon and water to digest all the bullshit

3.) wormwood, for the gut to roll its rounds of elegies and allegories in the stillness of that same

breathing

4.) tincture: bitterness hidden in my syntax and laughter— spreads its palms and surrenders

5.) remember to keep breathing

6.) I dig graveyards in the folds of my tongue, an agenda of setting space and time free

7.) A bulk of fiber, to push out the bulk of whatever resides in me, ghosts of voices long dead,

fingers trapped, reaching…gone

8.) water, hydration— watering my plants, the ones in my ears that listen, the ones in my eyes that

can’t believe how we’ve forgotten to have basic human kindnesses reside in the bowels of this

muscle, where did our wombs go?

9.) probiotic: the good kind—helping the peristalsis, the waves of what gives me heat—that what

goes down and gives me energy, a group of nerves acting in unison, all doing their part, in order—

without the need to be King

My whole day revolves around a regimen.

Wake up. 

Take a hot, no—a scalding bath and soak, until the heart feels no envy, no hate.

Take the warmth of that fraudulent womb and remember the courage left, move in your flesh

uniform in cadence with the heart that once grew in eight weeks.

The ugly you feel in the atoms of the highways, is the longing of the fuse, it is undeniable—

frustrating, to exist without the mother, to be left cut from the warmth of what fed us, maybe

sometimes without much love, but still, here we are alive and breathing—because of her willingness

and the luck to carry us full term/

Incomplete or complete, the fuse is what connects us, the sun is what shines down on us, and our

blood is what spills when any of us is cut.

The contradiction lies in what we know as comfortable, be it alone or in pairs or in-groups. We

substitute our rage with cruelty and savagery and call it longing. We are afraid of what we don’t

understand because we understand nothing, so we fear everything. Suits and salaries and money and

diplomas stamped with reminders of years spent in a prison give the illusion of understanding. But

you are there, pointing the finger at everything, while four fingers point back. 

This is our only haven, this small tender world birthed from a single drop and bang. We as of right

now, are modern creatures, but soon, our bones will be dug up and our art will be examined and

perhaps even ridiculed, and they will see how much we failed ourselves on repeat. We never looked

at anything, they’ll say, with our eyes, they used the lens of their phones and the lens of the

television to dictate their feelings—imagine THAT they’ll say exasperated. 

They’ll look at the rainbow of faces and never understand the contempt that we allowed to ferment

with an unwillingness to cut the thick fog of disillusion with an understanding that we all suffer the

same plight. 

That plight of womb and delusion. The sadness of breathing and the melancholy of eyesight. How

incredibly sad, they’ll think—to not realize that being reborn was as simple as a change of mind. 

Ylem

We are all deficient.
We obsess over documenting ourselves so that
we don’t forget how much it hurt to get to where we’re at.
People talk of sadness as if it’s a sickness,
unable to see how critical it is to taste it
and treat it as if it’s
just another texture
in your mouth.
Lately,
my favorite time
is the midnight air,
lifting ruinous thoughts that the hours brought.
I try to feel out the shapes of my face
and touch the curves of my mouth
where all pessimism lives.
All the parts erupted,
caressed with the jitteriness of my eight track
fingertips planting seeds
into my now drought-tolerant
silvery gray leaves.

Take me home

Start from the beginning—

 

[Life 101]

 

Hack: do it well only after you get it wrong a million times.

Remember—alphas cry the most.

Agonize a scratched record but rejoice in a broken heart.

Vague sexuality is the equivalent of kleenex.

Daddy issues make a good baby, mommy issues make a delicious bitch. 

Where is youth if not in the smile, not the eyes.

No one will help, but some people are very kind.

Men are more sensitive than women, I know this because their cocks don’t bleed.

Violence usually means, hold me.

Kindness is binary.

Deserts are for everyone to romanticize, but the desert knows if your ankles are broken.

Be a dirty lover and a compassionate executioner.

Fears are relatable because we are all going to die. 

Death is inevitable, so stop pretending you don’t remember the immensity of your insignificance.

Ingrid M. Calderon-Collins is an immigrant from El Salvador. Her work has been featured in YES POETRY, Luna Luna Magazine, FIVE:2:ONE and Moonchild Magazine amid others. She was the hostess of the monthly poetry reading series, “They’re Just Words” at Book Show, where she featured poets from all over L.A. County from 2017-2019. Currently, she runs a literary magazine called “RESURRECTION mag,” where she encourages poets, artists and photographers to show the world their joys and their sorrows. She is the author of thirteen books. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, painter John Collins.