Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 7 • Fall 2003 • Featured Writer • Poetry

My Father Holds Me Like a Bible

Ryka Aoki de la Cruz

My father
holds me like a Bible.
Shakes the holiness from me,
yells verses from me,
pounds me,
uses me to preach his glory
singing Jesus loved the fishermen,
Jesus loves
those who walk on water.

My skin twitches like the water,
my lungs spray
something bitter like brine.
And the red sky
has nothing on my illuminations,
hand-laid bruises
that say God loves sea level
that we must all be laid low
to love God.

The back is best broken
before the foot comes down.
Before each word
proclaims divinity,
before Jesus
calming the rough seas,
before Peter
deaf to the waves,
hearing no love
through an already-martyred ear.

Ryka Aoki de la Cruz

Ryka Aoki de la Cruz is a transgendered goth dyke with a second degree black belt in Kodokan Judo, a University Award from the Academy of American Poets, and a Gothic dancing prize. Her work has appeared most recently in Beyond the Valley of Contemporary Poets, Girlchick.com, Liquidgothic.com, Southern Poetry Review, Rising, and Tsur. Ryka has work forthcoming in the anthology Poetry is Not a Luxury: Poems by L.A. Women of Color. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University, is a founder of Cornell University's Asian American Playhouse, and was coach of Cornell's 1990 Ivy League Judo Championship Team. She has worked with the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors, and two of her compositions have been adopted by the group as its official "Songs of Peace." Ryka has been featured at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles Poetry Festival. She performed at ForWord Girls and Intercourse -- A Sex and Gender Recipe for Revolution, in San Francisco, Cliterati in Atlanta, Not the Vagina Monologues in Los Angeles and Gen Estro in Minneapolis. She teaches writing at Santa Monica College. For more, visit rykaryka.com.

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