Crisosto Apache

41. Cardiac

But he knew the cause of his malady. —R.
Akutagawa, 41. Sickness

—caution in starting a chainsaw

the buzzing vigor generates an onset
and eases the space between my ears,
as the massive jolt from the metallic
melodic rigor rages from the chainsaw

what my supposing father does not know
is, pulling on the trigger can cause a negative
interaction with his pacemaker

the space between my ears bow upward,
plumping my cheeks and creasing crows
feet, almost in a hopeful snicker

a tiny thought in my head voices its concern,
warns my supposing father, leaving me with
this dismal decision to notify, but contrary
to my supposing father’s heart condition

—do I dare warn him not to cut wood?
                            —or should he die trying?


50. confined

But to believe in a God, — to believe in a God’s love,
that was impossible.
—R. Akutagawa, 50. Captive

many of them went astray, as whispers away from faith
many of them went astray, from faith as a whisper, away

in the exhaust of these whispers, I become the air of arid fall
as it torments my hands of some presence, by some torment
                                                                                                       — God?

here, pacing inside my small square room, in falls’ remains
I persist this empty pace, but the room is small and arid inside

—inside, I am small, and I believe the pace of this arid room
Inside, I astray from the belief of fall whispers and small rooms

belief in them fails in the small space of this whisper
yet, in this whisper they fail and may fall in exhaust
I have paced the floor for so long, I have gotten better at it

but the arid belief in God fails the small spaces of these rooms
but mostly arid whispers pace the presence of small beliefs

—to believe in God, is to believe these small beliefs exists


51. Conquest

In this semi-darkness day to day he lived. —R,
Akutagawa, 51. Defeat

—in this determining dark,
inside my condensing state of mind, there is much clarity to consider,
inside my conflicting state of mind, there is much conjecture to clarify

as the sordid lump of flesh drapes over a yellow armchair
I presume the defeat, the control of place, the control of people
I presume the manifest which continues to exist, and I resist
I challenge daily the destiny, which is this darkest hour of being
My state of becoming is this dark American hour

an opinion like all options leave nothing to clarify, even after
a conclusion formed based on incomplete information
by use of force, or by use of this state of mind, this darkness
manifests a destiny left in a gripping palm and blank conjecture

nothing is determined, nothing determines the outcome without
a belief to consider a consideration leaving no belief, and yet
outside the wind blows the dry leaves about
                                                            —the day moves on without me


Crisosto Apache, originally from Mescalero, New Mexico (US), on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. He is Mescalero Apache, Chiricahua Apache, and Diné / Navajo. His Diné clans are Salt Clan born for the Towering House Clan. He holds an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Crisosto is an Assistant Professor of English at the Rocky Mountain College for Art + Design (RMCAD). He is the Associate Poetry Editor for The Offing Magazine. He also continues his advocacy work for the Native American LGBTQ / ‘two-spirit’ identity.

Crisosto’s debut collection GENESIS (Lost Alphabet) stems from the vestiges of memory and cultural identity of a self-emergence as language, body, and cosmology. Some of the poems in this collection have appeared in Denver Quarterly (Pushcart Nominee), Cream City Review, Plume Anthology, Common Place: The Journal of Early American Life, photographer Christopher Felver’s Tending the Fire. and most recently The Poetry Foundation’s POETRY Magazine June 2018 issue.