Building Blocks for Pedigree by AJ Urquidi

Our ancestors were groomed in autonomous regions under state command. Franco roughed ‘emup real good from time to time. We pump up, fire water from our knockoffs in the driveway, bare feet stabbed by dead oak barbs. The afternoons marinate in fluoride and bloodgums from jawbutting handlebars.

Our ancestors forgot we existed. We rarely think about them so the playing field is hunky-dory. Across the street, radio maracas and trumpets, ocarina time travel in the open garage. As above, whynot below, baby jays scrambled in oaken shade.

Our ancestors wore suspenders and where did they find their sizzling wordsounds? We speak tonguingly at the sand dune and a dogjogger sucks offense vicariously. “Comme ci, commeça, commeilfaut, c’mon Eileen,” our auras produce the shapes of the stereotypes that cradle them.

Our ancestors ate olives, snorted mayonnaise off backs of gored matadors. We toast a ton of Wonder bread until it’s too coaled to eat. Mom buys whatever we want at Kmart.

Our ancestors built Lincoln Logs into bombable dwellings. We want Legos, neon green with cobalt windshields, “yellow smiling weirdo with eyepatch,” Lego shopping spree five birthdays in a row. Dry popcorn. Popcorn lung. Lungfish fish-finger finger-dry.

Our ancestors gave their lives for inauspicious childbirth, citing categorical imperative. We give our lives to Cheetos dust and factory farms. Self-interest wars can never be over. “Neither can student-loan collector calls, nudge nudge.”

Our ancestors studied the coastline for signs of a coming storm, then boarded up their windows with non sequiturs. They knew not “groomed” was a keyword for pedophiles. Across the street, the middle-aged babysitter: we kids lurk amused behind blinds as her Volvo docks, dreaming she’s proctor of a kissing booth, no permit.

Our ancestors wait in line for hours but she closes up when a customer, always wrong, complains she’s a “saucy tartar.” We concur, citing objective correlative.

Our ancestors were forbidden from snogging in private, even under cover of thrift-store Basque gas mask. We have less ambition as each summer passes, no more dinosaurs, gone software programming.

Our Lego caudillos and their ancestors, obliterated cubiti in the wings of somewhere else’s Saturn, if we’re lucky, waiting on their next star to give up.

Our ancestors never gave up on the countryside they believed in. We’re still here and they are not.


AJ Urquidi is a poet of L.A., Monterey, and NYC. His writing has appeared in various journals, including Vector Press, Foothill, and Verdad. Winner of the Gerald Locklin Prize, AJ is co-founder of online journal indicia and has led workshops at CSU Long Beach and Beyond Baroque (in Venice Beach).