In Dependence Days

The Sad Mad Hatter

Be less impulsive.

Be less reptilian.

fuck like this

you’ll reach a million.

/

The sex is great

but the lonely lay

that follows is

hell to pay

/

And in the dark

the devil whispers

good job, good job,

to the lonely misters

/

dick still dripping

eyes follow suit

You’ve won again

given her the boot

/

She grabs her clothes

while you watch

you lay ashamed

hands on your crotch

/

Cause you know better

you know it hurts

to be fucked for fun

and tricked by flirts

/

But here you are

with tricks of tongues

you kissed her lips

and above she sung

/

But shes still gone

it’s all the same

you played again

and lost the game

/

All that’s left is

your self-pity

you’ll write some shit

that they’ll call gritty

/

You’re all alone

it doesn’t matter

cry, cry, cry,

you sad mad hatter


Baby Blue

Baby Blue,

just us two

with no one else to tame the fire

/

Baby Blue,

our secret grew

you fought me till my morals tired

/

Baby Blue,

alone with you

others wondered what transpired

/

Baby Blue,

you crept in close

and asked me what I wanted

/

Baby Blue,

I held my pose

shrunk like a child when taunted

/

Baby Blue,

what you chose

were whispers that were haunted

/

Baby Blue,

gave me the noose

and I’d already tied it

/

Baby Blue,

could I let loose

indulge in sin and hide it

/

Baby Blue,

I called a truce

with my heart and the bride inside it

/

Baby Blue.

Baby Blue.

Baby Blue.

/

Your Baby Blues

still make me wonder.


Spontaneous Human Combustion pt.2

I am still on fire.

/

Time passes and there is no change.

The world is an incinerator, and the fire is starting to hurt.

/

Bukowski said what matters most is how well you walk through the fire

But I am walking through a fire while on fire, and while engulfed in flames, you whisper to me.

Your breath is hot and highly flammable. Your whispers make the fire scream.

/

I keep a notecard in my pocket and scribble the time on it every time I think of you today;

32 times. That’s one less than 31 and one more than 33. The number 32 is divisible by

the numbers one, two, four, eight, sixteen, and thirty-two. It’s simple math. Simple math

is good; grounded in logic, something that has played hide and seek with me since I day I met you.

/

Numbers. I hate numbers. I don’t like the dominance of logic that’s attached to them. Numbers

can’t just exist; they have to exist for a reason because they were created with that reason in mind.

Numbers are logic, and logic scares me. The heat on my skin gets worse when I focus on the

numbers; I start to feel the sharp pain radiating off every inch of my body. I am still on fire.

This fire, this fire has no logic. How do I stop the fire? I don’t want to burn like this anymore.

/

There is nothing spontaneous about this. This fire was lit and I’m not sure who lit it. There is a

book of matches in my pocket but I can’t think of a single reason I would start this fire myself. I

think I’m playing hide and seek again. No, I’ve been playing hide and seek. I’ve been seeking for

weeks now.  The pressure is building in my head. The heat will eventually cause my eyes to

pop. I can’t remember what I look like when I’m not covered in this fire. The number 32 is

divisible by the numbers seven, seven, seven, seven, seven and seven. Wait, that’s not right.

/

The number 32 is bigger than the number 31 and smaller than the number 33. That’s right,

there it is. I found logic. Now, maybe it will tell me how to get out of this incinerator.  No, I don’t  

want to do that; I tell it to go hide again so we can keep playing our game. Actually, I want to take a

break; I’m hungry now. It’s September and the peonies are out of season. I eat the dry, withered

remains of each petal and in my stomach, the fire eats each long dried out stem for sustenance.

I stare at logic. It doesn’t eat, it just watches and judges me silently. It’s waiting for our game of hide and seek to continue.

When it leaves the room I say, The fire hurts, but not that bad.

/

As I walk out of the room, I ignore the mirror on the wall; I walk out with aimless purpose, a living

contradiction that is as persistent as the flames that are turning my body into a brazen bull for my

heart. The heart is made up of four chambers full of ventricles, valves, atriums, and arteries all designed to work for the person to whom it belongs to. There is logic in the heart. The heart has purpose. The heart is not meant to be given away but protected because without it, all I have is the fire.

The fire that was not spontaneous but built up gradually and tended to by me.

I see it now, the hallucinogenic is making me anxious and suddenly I see and feel all of the fire.

The number 32 is divisible by the numbers one, two, four, eight, sixteen and seven.

/

Something’s wrong. I thought I figured it out. The number 32 is divisible by the numbers

Seven, seven, seven, seven, seven and seven. The number 32 is smaller than the number seven.

This isn’t working. The fire is creating boils on my skin that pop with every failed attempt.

The heart has seven chambers. The heart has seven atriums. The heart has seven arteries. The

heart has seven valves. The heart has seven ventricles. There is no logic in the heart. My heart is not mine. My heart is meant to be given away. My heart is not for me. I’ve given away my heart 7 times and every time it’s been given back in an urn that logic clutches onto and worships like an idol.

/

I don’t know what I look like when I’m not on fire anymore. I know that the number 32 is

Divisible by the numbers one, two, four, eight, sixteen, and thirty-two. I know that the number 32

is bigger than the number 31 and smaller than the number 33. I know that the heart has four chambers and that those chambers are full of ventricles, valves, atriums, and arteries. I know that the heart serves a purpose. I know that the heart is not meant to be given away. I know I struck the

match and swallowed it. I know that I started this fire and every fire that came before it.

/

Spontaneous human combustion. I don’t understand it. I understand it as much as I

understand myself, not at all. When I look in the mirror all I see is fire and smoke that hide my reflection. I can feel my heart pumping. Each rhythmic bump is a reminder of a purpose that

is hiding away with logic. Numbers. There is logic in numbers. Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two,

One; I am as ready as I ever will be. I am closing in on logic. I am closing in on purpose.

/

As I close in, the fire burns hotter than it ever has before; it wants to be fed, but I have nothing for

it. The fire eats at itself, and I collapse from the pain. I can’t move. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire, but I can’t walk any longer. I can’t hear anything. I can’t hear your

whispering in my ear anymore. What used to be screams on my skin begin to settle.

/

Logic comes out of hiding and finds me on the floor. It opens the urn and spreads the ashes

of my heart all over my body. For a moment, I feel relief. When you walk back into the room and I pick up my head to look at you, I can feel it all again.

/

I pull a match out of my pocket, but logic reaches out and catches my hand before

I can strike it. All I want is to be ingulfed in your flame but logic reminds me,

/

It’ll pass.



Writing Men To Filth

Every Day You Fall in Love

Every Day You Fall In Love

Honey Pots and Roller Skates

It starts off with young innocent hopefuls

that’ll become fetishized eye candy and

you might not realize it then but it’s a

problem and it’ll keep being a problem because

the rest of the plot was decided before you even

got a chance to read the script

/

Every Day You Fall in Love

Daydreams and Wet Dreams

and you didn’t know it then but

before she could even work up the idea

that she might just be in love with you

you had already determined that you

might just want to fuck her and nothing

else mattered because the wet dreams

aren’t cinematic masterpieces but they’re cheap

and easy and you can be in so many of them

the loneliness never has time to hit you

/

Every Day You Fall in Love

Re-Read Text Messages and Replayed Snaps

and the screenshots aren’t of words

but of naked bodies that are coming in

every other day like audition tapes in an

industry where dicks think with their

dicks and rewrite scripts so that the plot

is always serving the lonely man like you and

that’s great because watch enough of these

movies and you feel like they never end and in

real life you’re the main character so the world serves you too

/

Every Day You Fall in Love

Philosophers and Cowgirls

and you ponder the idea that this is a movie

about morals and you’re only going to grow if

you stop being such an asshole but god damn does it

feel good when one of those girls is sitting on you

and you’re not wearing any clothes and her ass

is like a globe revolving on your lap so you sit back

and soak it all in because you’re fucking the world

and it feels good

/

Every Day You Fall in Love

Poetry Collections and Onlyfans Archives

and after it’s over pick up a book and try to be

a romantic because in the story eventually

they don’t fuck you they know you’re dirty

and they know you’re nothing but an empty

well that takes but doesn’t give

and the only way to change that is to find yourself

at the other end of your character arc where you

are damaged but salvageable but you know the script

you know where it’s going and you know how it ends

/

Every Day You Fall in Love

Soft Kisses and Blowjobs

and it starts slow with kisses on the

lips because you’re a changed man and even though

you still don’t believe in love you’ve learned how to

convince women that they should still believe

and so they get in bed and slowly move each

kiss closer and closer down your body until the

screen fades to black and you get what you want

/

Every Day You Fall in Love

Heartbreak and Hard-ons

and you are back where you started on this

heroes journey moving through broken hearts

that have served their purpose in pushing your story

forward and boy do you feel special standing on

top of the hill and looking up at the sky like it was

painted for you while you ignore the ruins beneath

you and celebrate your victory

Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet

Tori Black and James Deen

This is all you’ve ever known

All you ever will know

Love and sex based on fantasies where

the hero is actually the villain but

he wins anyways because the script was written

a long time ago and it was written by a dick who thinks with his dick. 


Real Man Shit

Today I did real man shit.

/

went to work

worked hard

clocked out

and bought

myself dinner

/

I washed that

down with two

coca colas while

I talked about

sports and women.

/

I showered

and cleaned

the must of

the day off

my body

sat back

and enjoyed

my time of well

deserved rest.

/

Later, I kissed

a woman that 

wasn’t mine

and wont be.

/

I did it without

knowing her name.

I did without caring

if I’d hurt her.

I did it with a

smile on my face.

/

That’s real man shit.

/

Then, at the end

of the day,

I wrote.

/

In a postcard

to myself

I said

You’re doing

a great job.

/

I reflected on

the day and

at the end of

my letter I

said to myself:

/

I love you.

/

And then,

I cried.


Go Getter

Go Getter,

Whipping out of bed

and chasing her dreams.

/

The world is at her fingertips

but she won’t be happy

until she has a handful.

/

Lost in her melancholy

but guided by her independence,

she doesn’t need anything;

She only does,

only persist.

/

She grows out of her self

with vines outstretched,

ready to wrap herself

around the world.

/

Go getter,

wrap yourself around me.

/

Cause in my self-centered

hallucination,

I’ve convinced myself

that I should be the world.

/

And when I have dreams

and you’re in them,

I convince myself that

it’s romance that brings you to me

and not an unhealthy obsession.

/

Years of hard wiring

have made me

want you.

Years of hard wiring

have made me

need you.

/

Go getter,

I look at you and question myself,

which one of my extra glances

turns the curious into the perverse?

/

Like a Fresh Prince,

I ask out loud

Why don’t she want me? 

Like your desire is owed to me,

Like you’re a missing father

and it’s your responsibility

to fill my needs for

love and affection.

/

Go getter,

I am the world.

The world where

even the nice guys

are the bad guys.


Belt Buckle

You lay on top of me and our

faces are so close together that

looking into your eyes pulls me

into you.

/

When we kiss, we start with just our lips.

Both of mine close on one of yours and

when they open, they push your upper lip

and open your mouth enough that I

sneak my tongue inside.

We close our eyes when this happens.

We open them as we pull away

From each other and smile.

/

Before we kiss again, I move my hands

from your waist to your face.

I feel around so that later, when I think of it,

I cant just see it but I can feel it too.

My thumbs brush your cheeks before

passing over the bump on your nose

on their way to your lips. I put both

hands on the sides of your head and

pull you closer to me.

/

This time, while we kiss, I run

my fingers through your hair.

I move slow, doing my best to

not get caught in the tangles and instead,

move together with each strand like

we’re growing in unison.

Our eyes close again as I

massage your head the same way

I do when you’re trying

to get to sleep.

/

I am caring,

I am loving,

I am romantic,

Until I feel my head start to tingle.

/

After it tingles

I forget to care,

to love,

to be romantic.

/

I put my hands on top of your head

and push it towards my belt buckle.


Trickle Down

Que chingen a su madre los del America

Que chingen a su madre los de las Chivas

Que chingen a su madre los del Cruz Azul

De Nexaca

De Toluca

De Monterey

De Tijuana

Todos.

Que todos chingen a su madre.

/

Grown men.

Growing men.

Grown boys.

Growing boys.

/

They hate each other.

Hate each other so much

they can’t fathom the idea of

loving each other.

The idea is so foreign it becomes

the punchline at the end of a joke. 

/

Two men,

fans of a rival team,

kiss each other.

The other men

laugh and celebrate

like it’s a victory.

/

Maybe it’s not that big of a deal.

Maybe it’s not that serious.

Maybe it’s just a few bad apples.

But maybe not.

/

Because when the goalkeeper

kicks a ball off of his line

it’s the whole stadium that shouts

PUTO!

They shout it loud enough

that you can hear it even

when you’re watching from home.

/

The room laughs.

/

First the grown men,

then the growing men,

then the grown boys,

and then the growing boys.

/

This is trickle down

homophobia.

/

Maybe it’s not that big of a deal.

Maybe it’s not that serious.

Maybe it’s just a few bad apples.

But maybe not.

/

I was a growing boy once. 

And in high school,

when a boy in my English class

shared that he had a crush on me,

I hated him for it.

/

In a room full of growing boys,

I wanted to shout,

PUTO!

/

In a room full of growing boys,

I wouldn’t have been the only one.

/

This is trickle down

homophobia.

/

This is what makes

bad apples

out of

growing boys

and grown boys,

out of growing men

and grown men.

/

Somewhere along the way,

the trickle will stop.

/

Que chingen a su madre los que gritan puto.

Que chingen a su madre los que soportan el homophobia.

Que chingen a su madre los que soportan al transphobia.

Que chingen a su madre todos que no dejan amar

en paz. 

What Keeps Coming Back

HOT DOG WATER

I am

Hot Dog Water.

/

You don’t drink the

hot dog water.

You pull hot dogs out

of the hot dog water.

/

Don’t touch the

hot dog water.

Grab a pair of tongs and

keep your fingers out of the

hot dog water.

If you touch it,

wash your hands.

/

I am

Hot Dog Water.

That’s not my name.

but,

I am what I am.

/

I am

Hot Dog Water.

The punchline at

the end of a joke.

People love hot dogs

but they hate Hot Dog Water.

/

I am

Hot Dog Water.

I worry that

I smell funny

because no one wants

to take a drink.

/

What is wrong with me?

/

I am

Hot Dog Water.


MISERY

Misery is a spectacle.

Like the sun, it is something

to behold but also something

that has a violent stare back;

A stare that turns even

the brightest light to dark.

/

Misery is an abyss that doesn’t

pull you in but instead,

holds you warmly

after you’ve made the decision

to jump in yourself.

/

Misery loves you.

Misery is needy.

Misery is a jealous god;

A god that sees everything you see

and knows just what to say so that

everything you see

becomes misery.

/

In the dead of night,

when you lie in bed,

misery will whisper to you

from the darkness,

/

You are lonely.

You will be lonely forever.

You don’t love you.

Nobody loves you.

/

Pull the bedsheets

up to your face

in the middle of the night

to dry your eyes.

/

Pull the bedsheets

over your head

in the middle of the night

to hide from Misery.

/

But-

Misery is always watching.

Misery is always waiting.

/

And if you pull those sheets

too far over your head

and leave your feet exposed,

/

Misery will grab you

and never let you go. 


LOOK OVER

Are you able to look over?

Does it make you feel weird?

/

Huh?

What?

/

Does it give you vertigo?

When I look over, I feel like the room is spinning.

/

If I look over, I won’t be able

to concentrate on what you’re saying.

/

What do you mean?

Look over.

/

Whenever I look down like this,

my whole body feels it.

/

Okay, actually,

let’s not talk about this anymore.

/

Do you ever think of jumping,

like jumping off?

/

Haha

No.

/

I do.

I feel like I always have.

/

One morning,

They found my body on the floor

of an exhibit in the Phoenix Art Museum.

While tourist walked by and

admired the mess that was my corpse,

my best friend wept somewhere on the 3rd floor.

/

Sometimes, it’s the guilt that saves my life.

/

One afternoon,

They found my body next to the school’s clocktower.

When they called my dad to tell him,

My dad shook his head,

heartbroken because he’d never understand why

I couldn’t just be grateful for what I had.

/

Sometimes, it’s the guilt that saves my life.

/

One evening,

they scraped what they could of

this momma’s boy

off of interstate 10.

My mother wailed at

the closed casket funeral

for her baby.

/

Sometimes, it’s the guilt that saves my life.

/

One night,

They found my body on 

the asphalt 14 floors below

an open window of a Hyatt hotel.

When the front desk called and told Her where they found me,

She jumped too.

/

Sometimes, it’s the guilt that saves my life.

/

Am I able to look over?

I don’t think I should.


DROWN ME

To the meek and broken

made to feel less than

by spiteful strangers

and distant lovers,

you are beautiful.

/

Hear this when you

begin to forget what

I have already

forgotten.

/

Those who make you feel less than

are those who really are less than.

Ones who can only gaze,

from afar,

at your majesty.

/

A majesty so humble

it exists like flora and fauna:

oblivious to its true splendor.

/

Nature scorns the ungrateful,

the blind and the forgetful.

/

It rages with drowning typhoons

and destructive waves like

atom bombs that leave nothing behind.

/

There is nothing now.

/

I have forgotten

all of it,

all of me,

all of my majesty.

/

Nothing is left

but memories of peace and

happiness shared that were

only ever an illusion.

/

The water is rising.

/

Rising

and

rising

until

it

is

over

my 

head

in

my

mouth

down

my

throat

filling

my

lungs

/

Drown me.


TO MY UNBORN SON CALEB

I am sorry that things did not work out.

I wish I could say that I did the best

that I could but I think

that would be a lie.

/

The truth is that I, your dad

(Well, the person who would’ve been your dad),

was not excelling at anything around the time

you not existing became a thing.

I’d worry that reading this might confuse you

but Caleb, you don’t exist.

At least not anymore.

And fact of the matter is,

I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing.

/

Let me back up a little.

/

Caleb, when a mommy and daddy

love each other very, very much,

they do some stuff and from that stuff,

a baby is born.

That baby would have been you.

/

The thing is though, Caleb,

when a mommy and daddy only think

they love each other very, very much,

they sometimes fail to realize that

they stopped loving each other

a long time ago.

/

Caleb,

in that long time ago,

you were born.

You were born as a thought.

One moment you didn’t exist and then

three lines later, you did.

/

What about Caleb?

I really like Caleb.

Caleb if it’s a boy.

/

And that was that.

Then, you grew beyond your name.

Conversations became longer

as me and your mother started

putting pieces of you together.

/

Well, what if he looks

more like you than me?

I think he’ll have your eyes.

I don’t want him to have my nose.

I want him to have your nose.

And your lips, he’ll have your lips.

/

I’m sorry to say this Caleb,

but the one thing we both agreed on

was that you’d probably have

an abnormally large head.

It’s funny maybe, but it also meant

that you now had a head

and a face to paint on it;

/

Then memories came.

Memories from the future.

Trips to Disneyland and

silver teeth that were

already giving me nightmares.

I cherish every memory

I’ll never have now.

/

Caleb,

You were a thought,

then a face,

then a child,

and finally,

you became a story never told

because another story ended.

/

Caleb,

I’m writing this letter to let you know

that I love you.

But Caleb,

I am also writing this letter

to say goodbye.

/

In another life,

I was chosen to

take you by the hand

and lead you through

the peaks and valleys but

this is not that life.

/

Maybe one day

I’ll trip and fall through

a tear in the universe

and see you on the other side.

And if that’s the case,

I’ll apologize for this letter.

/

But it’s time, Caleb.

I’m saying goodbye even though

I know you are a thought

that can never die,

and I’m also saying goodbye

knowing you’ll always live

somewhere in my subconscious.

But again, it’s time.

/

Goodbye Caleb;

I love you;

And I am so deeply sorry

that things did not work out.

-Dad.

DEAR ARCH NEMESIS

A BREAK IN THE CLOUDS

On a lonely car ride

looking through the front

window reminds you

there is an open world

outside designed to be

your playground.

/

It’s a cloudy day

in the middle of Summer

and you’re grateful for it.

A break from the sun,

from it’s blinding optimistic

Implications.

/

Modern English’s

“I Melt With You”

plays on the radio

and you remember

that love is a thing that exist

somewhere outside of your car.

/

In the distance,

a beam of sunlight breaks

through the clouds.

You don’t chase it but hope

eventually,

You will feel its warmth

and melt.


HOW TO STOP THE WORLD FROM IMPLODING

How do you stop the world from imploding:

You don’t.

/

People you love will

stop loving each other

and you will watch,

powerless and angry

because all you know

about love is crumbling

right in front of you.

/

The world chews love

up and spits it in your face

as a tainted madness that

births cynics and pessimist.

/

When you’re older, you’ll wear

your distrust as a wall around your

heart to protect from its inevitable

destruction by the world.

/

But you know already that the

world began imploding a long time ago.

And the wall you built will crumble

just like the love that came before.

/

Yes, the world is set to implode,

and all you can do is watch.

/

People you love will

stop loving you and you

will question everything,

starting with yourself and then

moving on to every facet of

existence you’ve ever clung on to.

/

“I don’t like the ending of that one,

it’s sad and it feels like what you’re

saying is that love isn’t real.”

/

Love is as real as it ever will be.

/

Because if love isn’t real,

why are we even here?

/

The world has imploded.

And every wall you’ve built

around your heart has collapsed.

/

But love is not about building walls back up,

it is about learning to live without them.

Learning to live after the world has imploded

and robbed you of every ounce of hope.

/

But in you, I’ve found more than just an ounce.


SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION

I think I understand it now.

Spontaneous human combustion.

Because when you leave the room,

you don’t really leave the room;

And in me, everything I feel 

festers until the next time I see you.

/

Tinnitus of the gut,

constant ringing of your laughter

lights up my eardrums and

drops down into my core

like a flare falling into a dark tunnel.

When it reaches the pit of my stomach,

It sits and burns at my insides.

/

It never stops burning.

On a busy day, the kind that wants to

start and end with everything

else that isn’t you,

I have brief pockets of time to

close my eyes and catch my breath.

But behind my eyelids are yours,

sparkling every time you close your eyes to laugh

that laugh that keeps burning inside of me.

/

When you talk I taste every word

that leaves your lips and they all taste like gasoline.

There’s a thin layer of every word you’ve ever said to me on my skin.

As days pass, it doesn’t wash away, only

absorbs deeper into my body

until its running through my veins.

Blood isn’t meant to boil with admiration

but this fire refuses to stop burning.

/

When you walk back into the room

and I pick up my head

to look at you,

I burst into flames.

Anniversary

Like Sunflowers

Why am I only capable

of admiring the world

around me

for brief moments

at a time?

/

I’m walking on this path

surrounded by

beautiful plants and flowers.

Some of these look like sunflowers

but they’re smaller

with a crimson core that bleeds

out onto yellow tipped petals.

/

They’re everywhere.

/

Some of them are fully blossomed,

outstretched and demanding attention.

/

There’s other flowers that

also look like sunflowers.

Their petals are completely yellow,

but they’re not sunflowers.

They’re a lot smaller.

/

I’m sure there was a plaque

or something to say what it is

I’m looking at but I was too

caught up in my own head,

incapable of admiring

the world around me.

/

Now the only plaque

in front of me reads

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

that’s next to a bunch of small

bike wheels that have been welded

together

and painted a firehouse red.

The way they’ve been welded

has shaped them

so that collectively

they kind of look like

an onion carriage.

/

I don’t understand the name.

I don’t understand the sculpture.

I don’t understand art.

/

There’s birds sitting on top of the sculpture.

There’s bird shit under the sculpture.

I’m glad the birds like it.

Maybe they know something I don’t.

Maybe they know what these flowers are called.

Maybe, just maybe,

they’re capable of admiring the world

better than I can.

/

Or maybe they just need a place to shit.


There’s a Seat Here if You’d Like

Two men sit beside each other in a café.

The open seat between them is reserved for

someone willing to sacrifice personal space

for some leg rest.

/

A woman enters the café and orders a latte.

After ordering, she takes the seat in between the two men.

One man crosses his arms,

the other sits up straight.

The one that crosses his arms looks at the woman and

then looks away.

The one who sits up straight looks at the woman and

then looks away.

The woman waits for her latte while her ears ring.

/

How about this weather?

the crossed armed man asks, unprompted.

Yeah.

The woman responds, knowing the comment

was directed at her without looking over.

The room gets quiet again.

/

What did you order?

The man who sat up straight asks.

A latte.

The woman responds, without looking at the man.

/

Latte!

The barista yells.

The woman gets up, grabs her drink,

and walks out of the café.

/

The two men sit in silence again.

They will sit there quietly until

another woman decides her legs are too tired to stand.


We’re Gonna See the World Together

First you meet someone

and then you look them

in the eyes for too

long and start making

promises to each

other about the

world and how much of

it you’ll see together.

/

They say to you,

I’ve always wanted

to travel and see the seven wonders

and so you say to them,

Wow! Me too! We should

see all of them together!

Together.

They agree with you

when you say that.

/

But conversations become

fewer and further between

until eventually

you’re so far away

from each other

that no plane, train, or

automobile can

close the distance.

/

You are strangers once

again with the whole

world to explore

alone.


Whose Hand was That?

Get your fucking head out of the gutter.

/

A dream, spoken into the air while

you’re awake becomes a fantasy.

/

So when you had that dream where you and that girl

played with each others fingers before you interlocked

your hands it was best that you

kept that shit in your sleep.

/

Remember Romeo,

It takes two to tango and that

girl doesn’t want to dance with you.

/

Keep that shit in your dreams.

/

Cause while you’ve been awake,

you’ve never held that girls hand.

/

And the thing is, your brain can’t

make this shit up.

/

So even in your dream,

it wasn’t her hand you were holding but someone else’s.

/

Think about that and ask yourself,

/

Whose hand were you holding last night,

/

and why don’t you want to let go of it?


Love Letters Don’t Hurt Anymore

Love letters don’t hurt anymore.

/

Your letters were

Handwritten with a purpose

that was fulfilled years ago.

Your writings are a reminder of that purpose;

A reminder of love.

Your words, carefully inked onto

construction paper, hold

assurances of unconditional loyalty that

weren’t lies but dated truths.

/

We had conversations like these often.

/

You’d ask me if I’d love you forever

and I’d say that in that moment,

my answer was yes.

You didn’t like that.

You heard it and recognized it

for what it was:

A self-fulfilling prophecy.

/

And now,

here I am,

caught in the gray space that

exist between

love

and

loss.

/

To say that I always loved you

is to do no justice to the fact

that I always loved you;

Even when I didn’t.

/

I got headaches from your demands

for the bare minimum,

Do you love me?

Yes.

Do you love me??

Yes.

Do you love me???

I said yes.

/

Said but never shown,

an absentee lover is useless.

/

Words are just words;

And to dress up the word

love

in italics doesn’t make it more than it is.

/

Inkblots turn one cent pieces of paper into

love letters but they can not turn

indifference into love or

make promises last forever. 


One Trick Pony

Determined to not be a one trick pony,

I’m going to write some optimistic

celebration of life that isn’t preceded

by a death in the family.

/

Who said the time for cliché is behind us,

that waking up and smelling the coffee so you can get out the door to smell the roses is a bad thing?

/

But remember that rose stems have thorns on them

and will cut the skin on your finger in an

effort to ruin your day.

You’ll start to think  that

flowers aren’t for sniffing but for gifting.

/

You’ll give flowers to your lover 

and make love every day while

they slowly go limp and die in a corner of the room

because they were never supposed to be taken out

of the sun in the first place.

/

Maybe just stop taking things away from

where the world puts them the first time around.

Maybe smell the roses and then keep going about

your day because the day isn’t about smelling flowers,

It’s about everything else you do after you’ve smelled them.

/

And remember that all the flowers in the world

could be growing out of your asshole and it wouldn’t

matter one bit if you were still looking in

the mirror and hating what you see.

/

Fuck the mirror

and fuck your asshole Flowers.

No more of the fantasies;

Because you don’t need to live out a fantasy to

feel like you might just be doing things right.


Breaststrokes Through Apathy

Sex and Brocolli

Sitting cross legged on a sweat soaked comforter,

we became lost as we delved deeper into

intimacy that exists in warm embraces

and the exchanging of bodily fluids.

We dug deeper into one another

like we were digging through the skin of our shared

naked bodies looking for versions of ourselves

that were hiding from their sins. How intimate.

An hour before, I was on top of you

and you were asking me to cum on your pussy.

/

When you asked the first time, we had been fucking

for what felt like an eternity. I was

fighting, trying not to succumb to a cramp

that was working its way from my knee to my ass.

Meanwhile, I saw the movement of your body show

impatience instead of enthusiasm.

Naked and interlocked with one another, the

well of intimacy was running dry despite

the sweat dripping off of my skin and onto

yours. It wouldn’t be much longer until there was

no intimacy left in my flailing body.

/

We put our clothes on immediately after.

It was always that way, the love making without

the love. The ending of the exploration was

always premature. A scar on your body could

be seen, touched and tasted but when the lights came on,

it was just a scar. At least, it was until it

wasn’t. Because when we peeled the wet comforter

off of the bed and sat down on the damp bed sheet,

all the secrets we tried to fuck out of each

other started to crawl out all on their own.

/

In between bites of broccoli pizza we took

turns reintroducing ourselves to each other,

holding each other in verbal embraces,

finding comfortable vulnerability.

Why did we choose broccoli? We didn’t. You did.

And that small, insignificant decision

became intimate. Memories melted away,

puddling together like sweat off our bodies.

Heads of broccoli were crushed in between your teeth

right next to my individuality.

/

The quietness that followed was one that was earned.

The symphony of lust that preceded it

was a thing of the past. It ended just like

our meal and the conversations about

why we are the way we are, dreaming of love

while counting sheep with unrequited interest.

For every creak of the metal bed frame

there was a beat, a suspension of our minds

in which we did not welcome one another.

This was our reward for intertwining.

This One is Yours

The first time I went over,

she brought out a small wooden box.

And when she opened it,

I saw it was full of little strips of paper.

We took turns unfolding them, revealing the handwritten questions in each of them.

/

What’s your worst fear?

Probably the dark because this one time at my cousins house…

/

What do you want most in life?

I just want to be happy. Last year I went through this depressive episode and…

/

What’s your favorite food?

My mom used to make this milanesa that…

/

We took turns asking questions that

should have had simple answers but instead

were answered with stories.

Every story attached itself to the slip of paper

that prompted it, and when we were done

I’d shove those pieces of paper in my pockets.

/

Pockets full of paper,

Yours, mine, ours.

Sometimes when I pull them out now,

I can’t tell which are yours and which are mine.

Pessimistic Princess

Massive, hungry, all-consuming.

A world in need of being tamed

while masquerading as untamable.

/

Pessimistic Princess,

you feel the challenge of taming the world

thrust upon you.

You suffocate,

Never realizing that

the world is big,

but you are bigger.

/

Pessimistic Princess,

The world does it’s best

to keep you from knowing this.

When you look in the mirror,

it tells you a story of inadequacy

in which you are the main character.

This story is fiction.

/

Pessimistic Princess,

you have stared into the abyss

and the abyss has stared back.

It is scared.

Scared of your potential.

Because the world,

as big as it is,

has a beginning and an end.

/

But you,

Pessimistic Princess,

are infinite.

Whispering Vulgarities

I taste blood.

I don’t know if it’s theirs or

Mine.

Maybe I bit their lip

too hard.

Maybe I need to

take it easy.

/

I make love

with a gentleness akin

to whispering the word

Cunt.

/

I fuck.

I fuck like

a maniac.

No,

I fuck like

I’m manic.

/

It’s not pleasant

for either of us.

/

She always used to tell me

how great I was doing.

but that was when we were fucking

and in love.

When we were making love.

/

This isn’t even

Her.

/

This is someone else

who fucks in the dark

because

they can’t stand the sight of me.

/

It’s probably not that.

They like me.

They don’t love me

but they like me.

/

They know I mean well,

that I’m not a

maniac or manic.

/

They know that I’m just a guy

fucking for the first time

after years of making love.

The Night Before, The Morning After

…The night before was much like the morning after, tainted in your apathy You sat on top of me and looked down while explaining exactly why you could never fall in love with me I listened intently because that was what I would tend to do Grab and hold close the details of the story I would re-tell in my head after you left The night wasn’t going the way I’d imagine anyone would plan out for themselves but I held your words regardless, because even the stories about love that are undernourished and hope starved are stories worth being told Something about my head, I swear there’s something wrong with it because those are my favorite stories So when you said

I shouldn’t have stayed here

I regret it

I clung to all 10 syllables, knowing full well they would define not just that moment, but also invade the moments of quiet loneliness in the days that followed The night before was much like the morning after because the night before was the morning after…

Articulating the End

I write in my head because I’m driving

on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica.

What a fitting end to this story;

We held each other for the first time here.

While you were sleeping,  I sat at the desk

in our room becoming a poet.

I wrote poems about bugs in your hair

that you would read off of postcards later.

But that morning, I whispered them to you;

I whispered softly, waking you gently.

That was also when I started to wake.

/

I am writing because I’m still dreaming.

/

For breakfast, I was your Huckleberry.

For lunch, we ate hamburgers in your car.

In your car, you did nothing but miss him;

In your car, I did nothing but miss her.

How did we think this was going to work?

Secret is, neither of us thought it would.

We talked, in between bites, about how our

friends weren’t going to know anything.

In some cases, people end up happy.

In some cases, people go up in smoke.

/

I am writing because I smell the smoke.

/

After that, we held hands at the swap-meet.

Strands of hair fell like ribbons on your face

that made my mind beg my eyes, look at her.

Each look at you was greedy but

we weren’t there to look at each other.

I was looking for a car radio.

You were looking for Mexican earrings.

Isle by isle, we searched together.

That night, we didn’t feel like a secret;

We didn’t feel we belonged somewhere else.

/

I am writing because I don’t belong.

/

I remember your pain, remember it

like chocolate; I always hated it.

We did our best to numb each other.

I drove for an hour, you drove for an

hour  just so we wouldn’t sleep alone.

I would fidget and keep you up all night;

You would say mean shit and keep me up too.

One morning, you woke up and made breakfast

and I wrote letters for you in my head.

This is what those letters might have looked like.

/

I am writing because I love you.

/

I am writing because every thought

before this one tried to get in the way.

I am writing because the only way

to say this is proofread and edited.

I am writing because a part of me

hopes that you’ll never have time to read it.

I am writing because you care about

the little things, even when they’re ending.

/

I am writing this to articulate that end.

Romeo, Oh Romeo part 3

Romeo stood in a courtyard of the two-story apartment complex holding a bouquet of flowers. Scanning the rooms on the second floor, he had narrowed down the search for Valarie’s room by finding the ones with East facing windows that would allow for sunlight to shine in during the early morning.

            Romeo never felt nervous. He had made a living off of killing and even in the worst of situations that he had been placed in, he always managed to keep a clear head and do whatever was asked of him. In that moment however, all he could do was stand in the courtyard and look around frozen in place. He needed to get up to the second floor but couldn’t bring himself to do it.

When he finally worked up the nerve to make his way up the stairs and begin knocking on random doors, he saw her. Valarie walked out onto the second-floor balcony of her apartment and stared out into courtyard. For Romeo, it was like he was seeing Valarie for the first time because in a way, this was the first time. The courage he had built up to get to the second floor of the building was now gone and all he could do was stare.

When she saw him, she shouted down,

“Hey!”

“Your voice is just like I remember it.” He said back to her.

“What?” She asked.

“Your voice. I said it sounds just like I remember it. Like an angel.”

Silence. Valarie looked down at Romeo with a puzzled look. She was now leaning on the guardrail trying to get a better look at him.

“I’m sorry but, who are you?”

“Valarie!” Romeo shouted.

“Yeah, that’s me, who are you?”

“It’s me, Romeo.”

“Romeo?”

“Yes, Romeo! From the Cam website! Remember? You told me you love me, and I’m here because I love you.”

When he said this, Valarie looked around. Her neighbors we beginning to poke their heads out of their doors and windows to see what all the noise was about. Romeo looked at his watch and then back up at Valarie.

“I don’t have much time Valarie. I want you to run away with me.”

At this point, people in the complex were beginning to walk out of their rooms and shamelessly watch the spectacle occurring in the courtyard.

“I think we should have this conversation another time.” Valarie asked.

“There is no time my love.”  

Romeo rushed up the stairs and ran to the outside of Valarie’s apartment. They argued back and forward about him going into her apartment while everyone in the complex looked on from their doorways.

“Listen dude, everyone is looking. I really think you should just go.” Said Valarie.

“Valarie, the other night was the greatest night of my life. In everything I’ve ever done, I’ve never asked for purpose. I wake up, I do whatever it is I do, and then, I fall asleep and do the same the next day. The other night though, I felt purpose. For the first time, something happened and after it happened, I had this sudden feeling that it happened because every single moment leading up to it made it happen.”

“Romeo-“

“I will give you everything. Everything that I have that I can give you I will give you.”

At this, Valarie paused. There was a moment of silence and in that moment of stillness Romeo made his way through Valarie’s doorway. Valarie looked around at all the other tenants and then looked into her apartment before reluctantly walking in.

 Before long was sitting on the couch in Valarie’s apartment, his leg was shaking, and he was checking his watch periodically.

“Valarie, we need to leave.”

“I don’t know who you are Romeo.” Valarie said as she paced back and forth in the living room.

“You told me you loved me. And I knew from the moment that I saw you that I was in love. I knew that then and I know it now.”

“That’s impossible!”

“No, it’s not, that’s true love. Or love at first sight, whichever you want to call it.” Romeo looked down at his watch again.

“Neither. I want to call it neither because those things don’t exist. I don’t even know how you found me.” Valarie trailed off and began to speak more to herself than to Romeo.

“How is this happening? Why is this happening? This is unbelievable.”

“Valarie, a random set of occurrences has brought me to this place in time-“

“Romeo, you are very kind, but you need to shut up. This is not normal. Love at first sight is not a thing. This is not something that just happens, and this is not some fantastical love story where we meet and getting married 3 days later. That’s not real life. Oh my god this is insane.”

Romeo looked at his watch again. Then up at Valarie. Then, there was a very loud knock at the door. Romeo had left a man bloodied in a gas station parking lot wit ha cashier that saw everything. He knew exactly who was at the door and knew that at that point, there was nothing else he could do. Every decision leading up to that moment was one devoid of rationality, but he made them regardless. Every moment led to that one and in that moment, Romeo only thought to say one thing before accepting what would happen when the front door opened.

“Valarie,” Romeo said calmly.

            Valarie stood with her arms crossed looking at Romeo.

            “What?”

            “I love you.”

Romeo, Oh Romeo Part 2

The Apostolic church’s bell rang as Romeo walked into the gas station. He made his way to the register where a young man was chewing gum and blowing bubbles while looking down at his cell-phone. Romeo waited patiently and while he waited, unfolded a piece of paper that was in his shirt pocket. The man standing in line behind Romeo was the one to get the cashiers attention after clearing his throat loudly. The boy looked up at him and then at Romeo. Romeo said to the boy,

            “Hi there. I was supposed to meet a friend over at the church but I can’t seem to find her. I know she lives near here because she told me so but i’m not sure exactly where.”

            Romeo held up the piece of paper up and showed it to the cashier. It was a screenshot he had taken of Valarie that he had printed out. The boy looked at the picture for a second and then told Romeo he had no idea where she lived. Romeo then asked about the various apartment complex’s around the neighborhood and narrowed his search when the cashier told him there was only one in the neighborhood that was a two story complex. Romeo thanked him and asked if he knew of somewhere nearby that he could buy some flowers. When he did that, the man behind him cleared his throat again, this time louder than before.

            Romeo turned to look at the man in line. He was looking back at Romeo with a look that said yeah, that was me, so what? Romeo didn’t pay him any mind and instead turned back around to the cashier who told him of a nearby flower shop. Before leaving, Romeo thanked the boy before walking out of the gast station. He stood outside for a minute, scanning around for the two story complex he would find Valarie in. During that time, the man that had cleared his throat behind Romeo in the station walked outside.

            “Hey man, between you and me, going in there with a picture of some girl like you’re a detective is mad creepy.”

            Romeo looked at him without saying a word.

“You got nothing, huh? Yeah, I’d be embarrassed too. Especially with that printout you have in your shirt pocket. Looking for a girl that stood you up and letting everyone else know it happened. Do yourself a favor and forget it bro.”

Romeo opened his car door, determined to ignore the man. He put one foot inside and was ready to put it all behind him when the man said,

“Fuck that bitch man. All that love bullshit is exactly that, bullshit. You got all dressed up in your little cowboy shirt and now you’re gonna go buy flowers like your rewarding her for standing you up. Fuck her!”

Romeo pulled his foot out of the car and closed the door. He placed his hands on the roof of the car and took a deep breath before walking over to the man.

“Please stop that.”

Romeo pleaded in a calm, monotone voice. He stood an arm’s length away from the man and looked at his eyes which were covered by his sunglasses. All Romeo could see was his own reflection.

“I’m on your side, bro. All I’m saying is that bitch isn’t worth it. I know, I’ve been there before and-“

“Stop calling her that.”

Romeo got a little closer after saying that. When he did, the man’s shoulders straightened up and his chest began to poke out with bravado.

“Man, you’re not gonna tell me what to do. No one tells me what to do. I’m the master of my mother fucking universe. All I’m saying is just cause some bitch doesn’t want to be around you that doesn’t mean you gotta go looking for her. You gotta be a fucking alpha dog, Just like right now you’re stepping up to me and I don’t like it man. I’m in control of my shit and if you don’t back up you’re not gonna like what comes to you.”

Romeo took a step back and the two looked at each other silently for a moment.

“You’re in control?” Romeo asked.

“That’s right. I’m in control. You do something I don’t like and guess what? I can put a stop to that shit. You take too long in line, all I have to do is clear my throat and you hurry the fuck up. You made plans with some girl and she didn’t show up so now you’re running around in circles like a chicken with no head. You think you’re all in love and your shit gets all twisted and stops making sense. Not me. No sir, not me.  Fuck you and the bitch that stood you up, you miserable fool.”

            Romeo looked down at the ground and laughed slightly.

            “You think you’re in control? You think-“

            “I just told you I am.”

            Romeo’s grin faded away now. He looked at the man with a scowl,

            “Don’t interrupt me. You are not in control. A couple nights ago I was in a hotel room in Texas having a conversation with someone that would eventually put me here, at this very moment, in front of you. I drove here, that’s almost 1,500 miles because of a conversation you had no part of. You did not orchestrate this moment. All you did was exist and this moment was thrust upon you.”

            “And I reacted. Because that’s me taking control. That’s me-“

            “Stop talking. You have no idea who is standing in front of you and you have no idea of the lack of control in the situation that you are in.”

            The man drove both his hands into Romeo’s chest.

            “I am in full control and I’m about to beat the shit out of you to prove it.”

            Romeo kicked the inside of the man’s knee, forcing him to the ground. As he tried to get up, Romeo punched him in the head and made him crumple onto the floor again. When he hit the ground Romeo continued his attack, throwing kicks at his abdomen and stomping all over his body. Hit after hit connected until the man curled into the ball accepting his defeat. Romeo used his boot to nudge the man’s head.

            “How are you feeling alpha dog? At what moment is this going to turn in your favor. When does your control take over?”

            The man began to crawl away from Romeo. He couldn’t get far though. Wherever he crawled Romeo walked along side him and then would stand directly in front of him, directing him like a cattle herder. Eventually, the man gave up his efforts of getting away and laid on the ground. Romeo hovered over him before kneeling next to him.

            “Friendo, in my line of work there is no falling in love. The other day I met a woman, the one you keep referring to as ‘bitch’ and I fell in love. The second that happened, I abandoned all control and have been strong along only by fate. You might want to call it destiny, I’m not sure what you prefer and in all honesty I don’t care. What I am saying to you is what I have been saying and what you need to remember, you are not, and will never be in control. The best you can do is roll with the punches.”

            Romeo laughed a little after saying this. He looked down at the man and felt some pity. It was the same pity that he felt whenever he put a man in a body bag. He stood up and still looking down at the man let out a big sigh before saying,             “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy some flowers.”

Romeo, Oh Romeo Part 1

It wasn’t the first time Romeo shared a room with a body-bag that wasn’t empty. It was usually in cheap motel rooms like that one, with rooms that you could get to without having to go through a lobby. The procedure was always the same; pay for two nights, sleep there the first night, clear out in the morning, and then cleaner would stay there the second night and leave with the body-bag on the third morning. Usually, after everything had been taken care of, Romeo would lie in bed and stare at the ceiling until his adrenaline would fade away and he was able to sleep.

            On that night though, Romeo sat at the rooms desk browsing websites that the man in the body-bag was on before Romeo walked into the room and did what he was there to do. The thing that would lead to a man sharing a room with a body in a bag. Romeo sat down and at first didn’t know what to do or think about the naked women on the computer, but it wasn’t long before his curiosity got the best of him and he started to move the clicker around the screen and following website links. It was click after click that brought him to a webcam site where cam models would live stream themselves for whoever was willing to watch and pay for some fun.

            It wasn’t surprising this is what the man had been doing when Romeo entered the room to end his life. Being in debt to loan sharks that helped him fund an unsuccessful strip club should’ve been enough to get a hit put out on him, but it was actually his attempt at fleeing that led him and Romeo to that motel room in El Paso. Romeo, having been a hitman for so long, made quick work of finding the man through paper trails and online fingerprints that are easy to pick up when you know what you’re looking for.

            And for Romeo, someone like this man was the perfect contract to accept. Romeo was never much of a people person but that never made him someone evil per se. He took on contract killing because he was no good at interacting with people he wasn’t killing. It was this discovery and an agreement he made with himself to only take contracts for people he felt the world would be better without that led him to that room and then to that computer.

            Romeo clicked on one of the thumbnails and entered a cam room that belonged to a model named Valarie. The way the website worked, Romeo could see Valarie but she couldn’t see him and could only communicate with him via a chat box on the side of the screen. When Romeo entered the stream, there were no other people watching which meant that it was just him and her. Valarie noticed there was a viewer right away and perked up on her chair.

            “Hello there stud. I’m Valarie.”

To this, Romeo responded in the chat box,

            “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Romeo.”

            “I was starting to think I was going to have to spend the night all by myself. Now that you’re here, maybe we can have some fun?”

            Just seeing the word fun brought a smile to Romeo’s face. In his line of work, it was a word that was rarely said because it was an emotion that was rarely ever felt, especially for Romeo.

            “I’d like that.” Romeo responded.

            There was some small talk that included Romeo telling Valarie he had never been on a website like this before. Valarie assured him it was okay and told him she’d walk him through the entire process. After talking for a little while Romeo typed into the chat box,

            “You’re beautiful Valarie.”

            This made her smile. To Romeo, it seemed to be a sincere smile that even had traces of blushing on it. Valarie leaned a little closer to her camera and said in a soft voice,

            “Thank you, Romeo-” Hearing Valarie say his name, made Romeo perk up in his chair. He didn’t know what to say and it was quiet for a second before she asked,

            “Do you have any money?”

            “Money?”

            Romeo did have money, a lot of it too. At exactly midnight he had received a deposit as compensation for the work he’d done to put body-bag man in his bag. It was all in his account along with compensation for other dead men that weren’t dead when he met them. For the most part, all the money ever did was sit there because all Romeo ever spent money on was gas and food. He had one suitcase with the same 3 outfits he always wore. Brown pants, black button-up shirt. black pants, same black button-up shirt. Black pants, blue button up shirt. Before he could answer the question, Valarie began to explain how he could put money into the website and then be able to tip her.

            “Then, we can really start having fun Romeo.”

            And so he tipped. The thing about tipping though was that Romeo wasn’t doing for the same reason anyone else on the website would. After tipping, Valarie would go to take off a piece of her clothying and every time Romeo would stop her. She’d ask him if he was sure and he’d say,

            “Yeah, I’m sure. I just want to talk.”

            This confused Valarie. At one point she even asked him if he was sure he was on the right site. When she asked him this he typed,

            “Of everything that could have happened tonight and of all the things I could’ve stumbled into I stumbled onto you. If I wanted to see someone without any clothes on there’s other places I could’ve looked for that. This, this feels meant to be.”

            To this, Valarie didn’t know how to respond. She bit her nail and smiled politely before saying

            “Yeah, I guess that’s one way you can put it. Why don’t you tell me about yourself Romeo?”

            Romeo didn’t give anything away. Instead he turned Valaries questions over to her and began to gather more and more information about her. She told him she lived somewhere in Southern California, but told him politely that she didn’t feel comfortable sharing which city in Southern California that was. She did however go on to tell him that she lived near some windmills in a small desert city.

            All that information would have meant nothing, would have triggered nothing if not for the fact that after Romeo said it sounded like a lovely little town, Valarie responded by telling him,

            “Yeah, maybe one day you can see it.”

            Maybe, he thought to himself. Then, he tipped her even more money and they kept talking into the early morning. With every tip she’d light up and tell him that he was the best or he was making her night the best night she’d had in a long time. Romeo was enamored and felt like they were forming a bond the likes of which he had never experienced before in his life.

            At exactly six a.m, Valarie’s microphone picked up the sound of a bell chime.

            “Holy shit, I didn’t realize it was so late; or early I guess.”

            “Where is that coming from?” Romeo asked.

            “There’s this huge Apostolic church near my apartment and that fucking bell rings every morning. I hate it. I have this theory that it’s louder in my apartment because I’m on the second floor. I swear, it’s bad enough the sun is always poking through my window in the morning, but I also have to deal with that. I’m sorry, I’m rambling. I really should get to bed though.” 

            Romeo didn’t want to end. The joy of the night was one he was unfamiliar with, one that felt like it was filling something in him that he hadn’t previously known was even empty. Overwhelmed by what he was feeling, he could only come to one conclusion as to what it was. He tipped Valarie one last time, more than he had tipped the entire night. When she saw the tip she was shocked. She put her hands up to her mouth and screeched,

            “Romeo! Oh, Romeo! What is this for?”

            There was a moment of silence before Romeo’s message appeared in the chat box.

            “Valarie, tell me you love me.”

            Valarie looked at the message. Then, she looked at the camera, took a deep breath and said in a very sincere voice,

            “Romeo, I love you.”

            The words were sweeter than anything else Romeo had ever heard, seen, tasted or touched in his entire life. The fact that Romeo had asked and paid for Valarie to say the words was lost the moment she said them because for Romeo, everything had just changed. Romeo, as socially stunted as he was, to hear the words was like living through a drought his entire life only to suddenly feel, taste, touch and smell rainfall.

            The moment Valarie said I love you Romeo’s mind was made up; he was going to Southern California. Valarie was, after all, just a few landmarks and digital fingerprints away from being found.

I THINK I CAN OUT-RAP QUAVO

You don’t learn this in school but, when you tell a doctor that you wanted to kill yourself yesterday, that’s the same thing as telling them that you want to kill yourself today.  I didn’t know this when I walked into an urgent care one morning last October. Thinking about it now, they don’t teach you much of anything in school about wanting to kill yourself at all. What to do, where to go, who to go to or what those interactions are even supposed to look like. In my head the way the interaction was going to go that day was that I would say,

“Hey, I wanted to kill myself yesterday. I really, really wanted to do it but today, I only want to kind of do want to do it so I think the best move would be to get me on some medication.”

and the doctor would respond,

“Oh, okay, yeah. Here, let me write you a prescription.”

            And as far as what I said goes, that was pretty accurate. The doctor though, he followed a different script. What he said was,

“Yeah, I can definitely get you something that might help you out.”

Then, he walked out of the room for 5 minutes and while he was gone I thought, wow, cool, he’s going to come back with a pamphlet, maybe some samples or something. I don’t know, I don’t know how medicine works. I’ve never done this before. The possibilities are endless.  

            What did end up happening was not that. When the doctor came back in, he was accompanied by a taller doctor who introduced himself with a heavy accent. He then said something along the lines of,

“So, doctor _____ here told me you were looking for medication. But, we both decided that what you really need is a hospital.”

            I didn’t fight the suggestion. I knew that in the mindset that I was in, I didn’t have much room to argue about why or how I could know what was best for me at the time because at the time, I was failing miserably to stay afloat. Because even though I didn’t want to kill myself that morning, if I were put in a life and death situation, I would’ve done my best to fail.

            One thing led to another and 3 hours later I was sitting on a broken medical recliner in a psychiatric facility. Having been stripped of my belongings, all I had with me was a rough blanket and a flat pillow that was given to me before I was let loose into the center’s lobby area.

            The way the room was set up there was 3 medical recliners on both sides. The recliners all faced one TV that hung above the window where you’d go if you had any questions for the attending nurses. The TV was logged into a Netflix account and anyone was welcome to grab the controller and pick something to watch. I can’t remember what was on then because I was too scatterbrained to care.

            All I could do though was stare at the ceiling and feel miserable about myself. If this is what help looks like, I thought to myself, things are looking pretty grim.

I settled into my self-pity, crying at the realization that once again the world had opened and let me fall into an even deeper rock bottom than I had ever been in before. When the nurses (I say nurses but one of them was wearing jeans and a band t-shirt so who knows what his job title was) walked over to me to check my blood pressure I asked,

“Is this what the whole day is gonna be?” 

The one in the t-shirt sighed before saying,

“Yup, pretty much.”

and then they both turned around and walked away.

That was when Jeff (Or the person I’m calling Jeff for legal reasons) walked by and introduced himself. Jeff was another patient of the hospital, a skinny white guy from Washington with an orange head of hair and a beard to match.

            Jeff didn’t trust the government or the nurses in the center and made it a point to warn me about the room temperature water and red kool-aid that was left out on the counter for patients to drink from. He would say things like,

“You don’t want to drink that. They have to be putting something in it. Cause you know, mind control is real. That’s a true story. Aliens are real too, but we’ve been manipulated to think otherwise. That’s also a true story.”

            He’d go on tangents but for me they were always welcome because in the 12 hours that I was in the center, conversations I had with Jeff were the only ones that felt like genuine human interactions. In between rants he would stop and ask questions about my life and who I was. At one point he asked me if I had a girlfriend and when I told him about my recent breakup he responded,

“That sucks man. So, you’re like pretty bummed huh?”

            It was cool because from the moment I had been told to pick a recliner hours before, no one that worked for the center had stopped and asked how I was feeling or why I was even there in the first place. To Jeff, I was another human being. For the people in charge of helping me, that wasn’t really the case. I was just another patient who needed their blood pressure checked occasionally. Admittedly, I’m a little bitter.

            The highlight of my interactions with Jeff was when I got to see a little more of who he was as a person. About 6 hours into my stay at the center and late into the evening, Jeff grabbed the TV controller and started scrolling through Netflix. He played 3 episodes of the Netflix hip-hop docuseries “Hip-Hop Evolution” and as the episodes played, he would add commentary like “Suge Knight was full of shit and everybody knows it”. Along with that, he’d also add fun facts and information about rappers that were only briefly mentioned in the docuseries. To this day I haven’t fact checked anything he said but to be completely honest, I don’t feel like I have to. It became clear that this was something that Jeff was really passionate about. Clips from music videos would play and he would mouth the words and move his arms like an on-stage MC.

            And it wasn’t just listening to hip-hop that Jeff enjoyed, he’d eventually reveal that he was also a rapper who didn’t shy away from confidence. At one point, he pointed at the T.V and told me “You see that guy? The one that just talked? His name is Quavo.”

I’d heard of Quavo before but didn’t know what to say so I just shook my head in acknowledgment. Jeff continued,

“Dude, I’m not joking when I say this; I am pretty sure that I can outrap Quavo.”

            Admittedly, that statement sounds crazy. But then again, I think about my own self belief in my work and don’t know how crazy of a statement that actually is.

Like, I’ve read the book Supermarket, and I’ve never said this so boldly before but honestly, I feel like I can outwrite Logic. Not as a rapper, but as an author I feel like I can hold my weight.

            Anyways, Jeff went off. He started talking about how he would spit a freestyle, but he was worried that the nurses might think he was acting up or causing a scene. I encouraged him to do it but he never changed his mind. Eventually he just decided he’d try to get some sleep and that was that. I know Jeff more than I know anyone else at that center. I spoke to Jeff more than I spoke to anyone else at that center. And it was the conversations that I had with Jeff that kept me from staring at the ceiling the entire time that I was there.

            At that point in the night, I had been at the center for about 10 hours and no nurse had talked to me except to check my blood pressure or give me my dinner of frozen veggies and chicken strips. At around 11 p.m. I was called to the window and asked to sign some papers. I was told I was getting moved to a facility 2 hours away and when I asked if I had any say in that I was told,

            “No, you need to sign these papers.”

And so, I signed.

Two hours later, I was strapped into a gurney and loaded into an ambulance to begin the long drive to another hospital. Once again, I was being thrust into the unknown. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of a very long weekend.