Manny Minaya

Venus Gospel 17


Manny Minaya is a writer, poet and spoken word artist from Washington Heights. His pieces speak on human nature and afflictions, using his writing as a mirror to help society reflect on its actions.

Sizable speakers, ineffable to the steel

cases of hoopties, all four doors and trunks and

sunroofs torn open, turned the block to a club.


A hydrant for a pool. The water’s foam

got me off the fire escape’s iron cage.

Lumidee laminated ladies in Baby

Phat. There were no talks of lunar


eclipses, though we didn’t have advanced connections

to really know. Sidekicks flipped open, our

sides threaded baggy and our soles cleaned;

freer in our skin. That’s not to say we don’t feel


so now, my bones just don’t find the same joy

in the world outside its skin or in the imaginary.


The corner bodega used to have arcade machines,

and quarter water to quench rawed throats after

quarter matches of Rival Schools. We didn’t know

the quarter of the moon, not yet, never felt

the retrogrades in our favorite green flavored Gatorade.


We heard it. In the rumors of Tiffany

knotting sheets with Jose. In the cracks

of turgid wood against a softball.


In the silent sirens, the whispered warnings

of the fire department shutting off our water park.

Reversing the motion of water.

Directing the fires of our summer elsewhere.


Even when the blackout blacked out our senses,

the block turned nocturnal. We found each other

in our wet white t-shirts by the light

of idle 1999 Honda Civics and turn of millennium

Chevy Trailblazers. The levies of our lips leaked

laughter that lolled us to bed when


the morning star woke.

The middle of August cooled over

in the brine of Niagara Falls

shaking summer awake again.


Mami saved like $30 on the ConEd

from not using air conditioning those two days,


and we saw Her, us city folks were amazed;

it’s like when you place a resident of the Great Plains

in the teeming forests of Upstate, they’re amazed.

We never pay attention to the rooftops, but for once,


the sky was blemished by freckles, laugh lines,

teeth glistening. We turned the speakers louder,

placed our decaying planks of wood underneath

our own Niagara’s after the fire department left,


and aimed the pressured water of the hydrant to Venus.

We aimed the block somewhere higher. On a Friday

turned Saturday, I didn’t miss the 20-inch TV and Ash Ketchum.


Mami lit candles around the house like a seance,

summoned realness to guide her kids;

I don’t recall her praying that night.

Or her yelling out of the kitchen window

for me to get inside. Absolutely nothing


to fear in creating the light of heaven for ourselves.

Ours. No one else’s. The block. All its memories.

Venus Gospel 7


Blue bubbles burst in rapid succession. I stir

awake. You hired Mercury, the messenger, despite

the numbing of last night’s whiskey still


holding my time at a standstill. Mercury

has no moon, either. So it goes.


It is seconds before dawn. It is summertime. Streetlights

carry on their waves the sounds of stumbling

laughter from the lounges around the corner.


You write “Lol,” though knowing you,


knowing the time, your mouth is perfectly narrow.


I recall you becoming day, watching

tints of mahogany irises turn to honey; sticky,

a liquid gold that once permeated my green tea.

“I feel so alone,” the next line reads,

white text emblazoned across a gray field

waving in my forced exhalation.


I contemplate a response to send to my

satellites. I do not know


what the juxtaposition of all your colors mean—


kindergarteners' crayon chicken scratches like

the acoustic ceilings of my childhood. Mixing

came hard. To clothe you with my naked eyes

in the daytime was unfathomable.


I haven’t bought enough furniture yet,

so your voice echoed wildly last time you’ve been. I’ve been

trying to get around to painting the walls

something a little less off-white. It looks tacky.


There are a lot of gray areas in our text messages.

You’ll see them as blue on your end. You’ll see it

as your well-intentioned efforts to be here


to paint a pink life between you and I.

As pink as the underbelly of the clouds during dawn.

The rays of the sun obscure what you attempt to

communicate; I suppose you fear being seen.


Suddenly, your lively nighttime fades away.

My moons catch the sun as it rises.

I offer you no response.

© The Acentos Review 2020