Isaac Salazar

BIO Text

Isaac Salazar (he/him) is a junior at Cornell University studying English with minors in Creative Writing, Latina/o Studies, and American Studies. While conducting research on pastoral ideological constructions in Mexican American literature, Isaac serves as the managing editor for the Cornell Book Review. He is a neophyte armadillo poet that enjoys playing the mellophone, running, and [re]watching rom-coms.

me piro, vampiro

the modern funeral home on Kirby lane says
every life you live is unique and deserves
blue velvet chairs more fuzzy than peaches
tissue more severe than sand paper and
romanticist paintings of valleys and hills more cliche
than the fucking tribute video your at home caregiver makes of the
grilled cheese, tomato soup, and jello that is fed to you   
as white walls feed the pockets of sunshine
that brighten your pools of piss and sacks of shit,
because there is no object so foul that
intense light will not make it beautiful.
leave it, you say. a parting gift to the doctor you call a joto
because he tries to pamper your penis till you get a boner.
because he tries to fix your hair into one long braid till you moan from its gloss.  
because he tries to be more subtle than the butterfly needle
that attacks your spider veins I kiss ever so faintly and trace
like a road map’s record of a man’s journey through the intimate landscape of
my body.
don’t burn me in no steel furnace, you say,  
but burn me in my garden with the daisies.
wrap me in the
hardiness and valor
            of red,
the vigilance
            of blue
and the innocence
            of white
                         (fuck patriotism).
but what if I don’t want to do that? what if I want to
kidnap you from liminality and hold you hostage so that I
can dress you in all black, navy, and deep berry shades
before I loosen the stiffness of your death and
beat the pink out of your face till you’re a
mortician’s toy that I can borrow,
entonces me piro, vampiro.



I tame Fuzzy Naked Pink Bodies

Summer lakes at LBJ
get caution tape;
the case of the white boy
who was eaten by lachrymose leeches.
The local boatswain says they
jump and leap out of the water
in formation of aquacades like dolphins.
They are blind, guided
untamed, detached from the caress of
human hands that lure by plucking strings
and tracing the jagged of their small jaws with tears.
Six rows, bear thirty flat-topped, rough-surfaced
teeth. Double decker spamwich, sweaty.
My mom tells me to wait thirty minutes before swimming,
but I don’t listen. I tell my cousins I can tame them.
I swim to the middle of the lake, sitting duck, facade to
cover my feet kicking in attempts to make pools
babble, ripple, and trickle as I cry.
Mom was right: arms as flimsy as human swimming noodle.
A slither to kiss with mild nettle stings,
and drill into the soles of my feet;
my feet used to feed inland pebbles and broken soda glass,
blood leaks like red smoke flare.
Didn’t you ask for this?
They undress their black cloaks
and trudge through your body in procession
till they refuge in your thighs.
Fuzzy feeling, isn’t it?
More keep coming, more fuzziness,
more fuzziness that makes you itch and regret
letting the door open for
Fuzzy Naked Pink Bodies,
for striking chords that sweeten the vibrations
through their skin; they react and feast on
the spam of your thighs where all of your food goes.
They are at peace there.       




mastican alquitrán

                                            The bones lay in the seabed for millions of years. That’s how it was.
                                            Makes sense, don’t it, bones becoming tar oil?

                                                             -       Helena María Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus

On the roof I strip tar off its lining
to chew, a verb
my dad said es
                                            mi vida, mi futuro.
It chews just like Bubbaloo,
but when I think of Bubbaloo I think
of yellow delight bright;
plátano sweet, pero no tan dulce como
Creosota, Benzeno, Ciclohexano, Antraceno, Tolueno, Piridina, Cianuro de Metilo, Bisulfuro de Carbono;
porque son orgánicos, dicen
que aterrorizan al cuerpo.      
It chews enough till it chews you
and stains your lungs black;
not because of the false advertising of Marlboro,
but from the lies they feed you at the asphalt plant.
Nuestra vida? That’s when our patitos start to sink,
sinking into an urban floor spray painted with the soot-black
speckled snot from the mouths of our neighbors.
La opresión en nuestros pechos: we feed it
skin, chin, mouths that quack, noses that gurgle air. 
Black bubbles que [nos] borran,
A darkness que [nos] ciega.
Our tar always drags us back to the pits,
bones of a sunken skeleton city,
poster children bleached white by the excavations those books take pictures of, so
smile black [quise decir atrás].
Let them take pictures,
Porque aquí solo somos turistas descuidados / Because we are just careless tourists here.


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