The cannibal Caribe teeth
the parted lips
the tongue of flames
they ate him
each face of skin
that had no pain
each wound

inside the flames
he burst a crown of sun
he rained the ashes
from the Brooklyn Bridge

the skin
the medium for his flame
is dead
we the living go on
is there no shame?

I am still skin
but have no light
burn me

what binds the self in a place?
the skin
a coincidence of dust?

where does the skin end or begin
without your hands?

what is the distance
from the hands
to the electric action of the brain
to the hands again?

from the hands
to the mash of paper and paste
that his long fingers made
into the face and the hands of Albizu
seated at the writing table
inside the prison cell
behind glass?

and where is the self of Albizu
made of paper mache
by my friend who is dead?

in the aphorisms?
in the ossified patriotism
of the Parties that are also dead?
in the coal inside the eye
that will one day move the hand
to fire the last victorious round?

the self is
in the body
in the places
in the dream
in the labor
in the artifact
in the poem
in the love
in the hate
in the bond
in the hand
that throws his ashes
from the bridge
in the ashes
in the wind

the self lives
in its own borders
in the sweet danger
at the edges of its skin

listen to the ground
for the terror drum
of its pulse

in the hush between our breaths
love's insurgence beachheads on its shores

the self grows in its intelligence
intelligence is the organ of love
love is the eyes of the skin