Why I Write

by Maria S. Picone

In my mouth grows a seed

uncurls from the lengua

to a green mariposa        is a flying

is a flight          fleet               flitting     flutter

of a nutter mutterer     secret stutt  er  er


In my heart bass rides low

bump n grind           4/4 time        slow tempo

all let go       on my sternun’s say-so

rock on that aquatic megamachine

blow the pipes      toot a horn         release a song

like a clenched fist straight from the shoulder

neither bold nor old

but getting older and bolder


dance dance pow                   like it’s the only solution

dance dance wow                   until the next revolution

carry on like a soldier

soldado give the dedo           change it now to 1. 2. 3: say again now

One, Two, Three.               Not a waltz just a straight melody

creep along like a song of the sea           cut into me

one                      two                     three           deep into me

rises the essence of thought       if you care or not

use a snare or not        all’s not for nought   In my veins rushes ink

from a simpler time       when poems used to rhyme

when ‘The Bells’ did chime         breaking meter’s a crime

c’mon now and run the meter up          non-stop!     


needle on the gauge needle on the gauge oscillating needle on the 1 2 3 4

[music escalates

mic drop]


In my mouth

grows a seed        into a constitution              In my thoughts

thrives a weed          plastic solution         I take these dedos and I give

a solid yank        put blood in the tank        find ways to thank

find palabras there          I learned somewhere           pump that beat 

to the street          stomp along with my feet         ¡basta ya! the heat

then Italian neat            stir the salt with the wheat       

splatter sauce on my chest             mix in the rest

whatever I can’t express

I’ll write as rest   


Maria S. Picone has been published in Ice Floe Press, Moonchild Magazine, and Whale Road Review. A HUES Scholar and TWH Fellow, she won Cream City Review’s 2020 Summer Poetry Prize. Maria’s work explores themes of identity and social justice centering on transnational adoption. Her website is mariaspicone.com, Twitter @mspicone.