‘The Moon Lives in the Lining of Your Skin’: A Poetry Collective

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once wrote “Debajo de tu piel vive la luna” (translation: The moon lives in the lining of your skin). The moon has been and continues to be the muse for many poets, and it is by no coincidence that the moon, la luna, is written in the feminine. She is the first to greet the stars, guide the tides and gaze down upon us as we sleep. Astrologists, poets and scientists alike are mesmerized by her powers and phases. She is one of the great equalizers, and the following poems illustrate the various influences of the moon. We begin with a collaborative poem by three GetLit players, which reminds us how the moon is colonized and objectified. Another poet pleads to the moon to make him super for just one night. Lastly, a lover bemoans the loss of his woman under a full moon. — Luivette Resto, AFLW Poetry Editor

Femme Moon
By Bene’t Benton, Arlene Campa and Mya Rigoli

Women’s bodies have always been colonized
We ache like the moon

which did god create first
man? or the moon?
trick question
it was heaven, then earth
my mother was walked on by man
I was made from her rubble
Clung to her orbit
while she miracled
my first home
Mother earth is all used up and man is tired
They found me in her eyes
hushed down beneath
the weight of his world
Man conquered the moon in 1969
Declares this is the only way to make a saint from silence

Claimed my being at birth
I became less mine and more his
Made legal only with my father’s last name
Man’s courage commemorated
My suffering understated

I have always been
on the wrong side of exploration
He maps my sister stars like stop signs
told not to crash out of orbit
my resistance would throw off the charts
But you can only grapple with gravity
for so long
before man learns to walk
takes his first steps on your body
footprints imprinted on your underbelly
I became less mine and more his

He pierced metal poles through my pores
Called it progress
Smashed pieces of me into souvenirs
seven years later man makes the news
imprisoned for stealing 21 million dollars
worth of my bones
symbols of his conquest
everyone heard about the
stolen things,
never mentioned the holes he left in me
I became less mine and more his
there are websites dedicated to
everything man has put back
in return
they call this moon junk
soap, shoes, golf balls, baby photos
I have stared at your family portraits for so long
leftover parts of yourself you forgot to pick up
floating particles of my hope
what are the helplines gonna do
but remind me why the empty burns
there are websites dedicated
to me, in apology to all he stole
static echoes through space
reminds me that I am still so worthy
after he
took pieces of me home to his loved ones
held his daughter’s hand
my dust still caked underneath his fingernails
told his wife how much he loved her under my stars
and look how romantic it is
how i can make your whole sky go dark
Night can only be navigated by my glow

I wail while the whole sea swallows itself
this is uncharted territory
put my best footprints forward for the public
I became less mine and more his
when he spits up my leftovers
at his welcome home party
I am still
holding my breath
to keep everything else in place
this galaxy would go dark
without a man to make it back alive
take credit for the survival
to say look how beautiful she is
with my name engraved
on her plaque


Bene’t Benton
Bene’t Benton has performed at Dodger Stadium, Pantages Theatre, The Women of UTA, March for Our Lives LA and public schools all over Los Angeles. She currently attends UC Santa Cruz, where she is studying psychology and theatre. She was recently featured on FX’s “Better Things,” and was named a 2019 Los Angeles Regional Finalist for the August Wilson Monologue Competition. She speaks on civil rights, police violence and mental health.

Arlene Campa
Arlene Campa is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the concepts of identity and distortion through mold making, printmaking and photography. They love macaroni and cheese, Yayoi Kusama and their dog, Finn. Arlene owns over 20 different colored bandanas and is trying to set the world record for owning the largest sticker collection. They have performed at the United Nations and opened for Ozomatli and for Dolores Huerta. They have been featured in Nylon, Vice and Out Magazine.

Mya Rigoli
Mya Rigoli is a 17-year-old poet, animal lover and nature enthusiast. She is passionate about and speaks on mental health awareness, inherited family cycles and the education system. Mya has competed in the Classic Slam, OCRYSE slam and the international youth slam, Brave New Voices. In addition, Mya’s work has been featured on Button Poetry and by the California Endowment. Mya is studying to be a veterinarian and in her free time she can be found reading poems to her seven dogs or learning to knit.


One Night Only
By Joshua Evans

Make me super
Just for tonight

Let lunar blood
Course through my veins
Transform me into Hercules, The Rock
The Hulk, and Mr. T all in one

Let your pocked and dusty surface
Fit perfectly into my imperfections
Like my soul in my lover’s radioactive hips
With my mouth full of her mangos
And her orgasms full of me

Make me super
Just for tonight

And I will be the blackest light
Over all the district’s red glare
Exposing the monsters buried beneath human faces

With this silvery blue glow
I will follow the wail
Underaged, drugged, willfully forced sirens
I will bring traffic to a halt
And these slavers to hell

The only eclipse to the night I carry in my fists
Will be the blinding freedom of these ravaged survivors

There will be no apologies
For all the suns they set on each of these children
They will reap a final harvest of unrelenting darkness

And only once your smile
Wanes before the timidity of the approaching dawn
Will I cease
This one eve
Is all I need
So please

Make me super
Just for tonight


Joshua Evans is a poet from Pasadena. He has read at Beyond Baroque and Avenue 50 Studio’s La Palabra series. He has mentored students at Pasadena City College’s Ujima program and hosted teen nights at LACMA and the Getty. He has two poems in the Café Con Libros inaugural anthology and two forthcoming poetry books.


(an Ooh Baby Baby moan)
By Peter J. Harris

it is a full moon i have just lost the woman i love i am insane it is the end of the world oxygen is acid on my skin I commit suicide on the quills of my down pillow each breath resuscitates a corpse the anniversary of my rejection looms every 7 days my scrotum sac is as dry as shed snake skin my penis is a magician’s wand that’s lost all abracadabra

solder my lips I will never flood my mouth with the kiss of the woman I love novocaine my tongue I will never trace the ears of the woman I love transplant my fingerprints I will never cradle the hips of the woman I love clog my pores I will never receive the chemistry of the woman I love shroud the world’s mirrors I will never be beautiful again

i have entered the concentrated time of knowing i hold my breath & pray to hear the missing menthol on the altar in her voice the endorphin circle has been closed with no invitation her disappearance is the only eloquence in this cauldron now i bathe alone in a clawfoot tub for two filled by my sobs & the steam does not soothe my deletion

now nightmares shock me awake at 5 in the morning & stunt the yawning of the dawn now i wear 2 pairs of hiking boots & limp up and down hills without even a gimp compass now i speak monologues to empty chairs & my throat is an arroyo in august now progesterone & oxytocin flood my body & I enter labor with no one to coach my breathing no one to wipe sweat off my face tears off my face grimace off my face

how many fingers & toes will i have when i am reborn?
who will teach me that love is still indispensable?
what will i remember of devastation?
what will i remember of loss?

i am a fool who must remember what has never existed i am a singer who must close his ears to wishful music i am a beggar who must give away the gifts he receives i am a man who must turn his back on the answer to his prayers this must be the beginning of the world your love completes my genetic code standing under night sky constellations shift positions until stars connect to reveal your face in your presence i taste flavor i cannot stand to lose i am satisfied that i smell in you the fragrance of my destiny
but it is a full moon we have vanished from the flow of time gaping hope bleeds down the front of my chest unsung want twists my posture helpless fear jolts my walk into baby steps

i stumble
refuse weapons
swallow the kola nut you have placed on my tongue
volunteer to love despite advice of the bitter child in my eyes
search for the gift
stare at the eclipse

hunger for breath // it is a full moon
hunger for faith // i have lost
hunger for life // i am insane

how many toes & fingers?
who is indispensable?

who will bless these ashes
before winter rains wash them to the ocean?
who will bless the devastation
presiding over my naming ceremony?
who will help me erect for eternity
a pyramid of dignity & joy?

then dab sweat stinging my lovely face
then kiss tears staining my loving face
then melt grimace freezing my beloved face

From: Safe Arms: 20 love & erotic poems (w/an Ooh Baby Baby moan)


Peter J. Harris, 2018 Los Angeles COLA Fellow in literary arts, Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC, winner of the 2015 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and the author of Bless the Ashes (Tia Chucha Press) and The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right,’ personal essays, winner of a 2015 American Book Award.

Feature image: “Blood Moon” by Erich Schlegel