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.


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.

How Do You Feel Now

PART 2 of The Sitting Series

The text read,

“How does it feel now?”

How does what feel now, I thought to myself, confused by the question. How does the acid feel now? What if she (the texter) knows that I’m on acid. I looked around the room. It was a small one bedroom that felt crowded with four people in it (Myself, Rene, Erron and Becca). I was huddled into a ball in the corner of the room not sure how to process what I was looking at. I re-read the texts that I had sent before that one but couldn’t find any reason in that response. How does it feel now? I repeated to myself in my head. She knows, I don’t know how she knows but she knows. What if I told her? What if I told her and I just can’t see the message because…because I haven’t sent it yet. At that point, I started to panic. I looked up again, this time desperate for some comfort from anyone in the room.

“He wasn’t comforting her Rene. He was her dealer.” Erron said.

“Why would her dealer just be standing there with her? That doesn’t make any sense.” Rene replied.

The argument that they were having was about a woman and a man we passed on our way to the 7-11. The woman they were arguing about was keeled over on the sidewalk, her head looking down at the ground which made her hair fall over her face. Next to her, a man was standing upright with his hands in his pockets. It was clear they were together because of how close they were to each other physically. Ignoring their closeness, it seemed like they didn’t know each other at all; him looking out at nothing and her at the ground.

“You don’t know he could have just been like a person that saw someone that needed help.”

“Rene-”

“He could have been a security guard.” Rene interrupted.

The problem with that hypothesis is that on our way back from the 7-11, the actual security guard for the building was telling both the man and woman they had to get away from the building.

I wasn’t in the headspace for an argument, so instead of joining in, I grabbed my notebook and sketched what we (I) had seen.

“This is what it looked like.” I said, flipping the notebook over so everyone could see the sketch. The sad part is, I really showed it to everyone in the room expecting that they’d look at it and say,

“Oh, well now that we saw that we all know what the truth is.”

Instead, everyone laughed, including me. That might have been a good time to mention the text from the future, but I decided against it. I was worried time travel was something that could spark another argument and with that would come unnecessary chaos. Suddenly, I became very anxious about the people in the rooms next to the one we were in hearing us and so I started shushing everyone in the room if they raised their voice mid-argument.

When the room felt settled, I returned to my notebook. This time I wrote what I really wanted to be an amazing poem. I thought the nonsense I put on the page was so important that I shushed everyone in the room again and asked them in a very loud whisper,

“Can I read you something?”

“Of course.” Rene said.

“I’d love to hear it.” Erron said.

I read it out loud, trying to do so with enough focus and intent that it would sound like the most important piece of writing in the world.

When I finished, the room was quiet. I looked up at Erron as he choked up and said to me,

            “That was beautiful.”

            Then, Rene put his hand on my back and with misty eyes said,

            “Wow, that was really powerful.”

            All I wanted to do was cry. The poem wasn’t good, it was an attempt to create a bigger feeling of importance from my trip. I realize now that the words on the paper could have been the worst thing that anyone had ever read, but even if they were, Rene and Erron would have shown the same love and support.

            I had found the comfort I was looking for earlier. That comfort drew me to a deeper reflection on not just where I was on that night, but where I had been on the days leading up to it. A week before, I was sitting on a bed in a mental health facility after having told a doctor that I wanted to end my life.

We Need Water

Part 1 of The Sitting Series

When I walked into the 7-11 on 3rd Avenue, I nodded at the homeless man standing by the front door while thinking to myself, act normal. Preoccupied with whatever was in his trash bag though, he didn’t return the nod my way. This was fine though, because I had already done my part in pretending to be a functioning human being. When we, meaning myself, my brother Rene and our closest friend Erron walked past the register, I wanted to act as casual as possible so when I nodded at the cashier, I added a tip of the hat motion to assure him I was one of the good ones. I was not wearing a hat. and neither was he. I guess it makes sense that he didn’t tip an imaginary hat back at me but instead looked at us with confusion and growing suspicion.  He had nothing to worry about. All I had to do was remind myself that everything was under control. 

Reflecting on the time of night we walked in (around 11 P.M), and the fact that we probably looked like aliens trying to be discreet about being zonked out of our minds, I don’t blame the cashier for his suspicions. We were high on acid and by the time we got to the refrigerator with all the bottles of water in it, all we could do is stare at them and laugh. I thought to myself, Wow, that one says Poland, that one says Arrowhead, that one says Fiji and that one says it’s Icelandic. There is water from all over the world right in front of me, and we’ve somehow made it to this same 7-11 at the same exact time. 

When I opened my mouth to verbalize that though, all that came out was, 

“that’s a lot of water.” 

Erron, God bless him, responded to me like a father responds to a child’s observations by saying, 

“Yes, it is a lot of water.” 

We laughed, trying to be quiet about it but really being obnoxiously loud.

When we got to the register I stood behind Rene and Erron with the goal of keeping myself as far away from the cashier as possible. For me, it was okay if he thought Rene and Erron were out of their minds but I wanted to stand out in the group as the one that was calm and collected. 

From the background I watched Rene and Erron fiddling around in their pockets to pay for everything. It did occur to me to look in my own pockets but I decided against it, still trying to keep my cool. Thinking about it now, I was the least normal in the group, standing in the background like a statue, relentlessly staring at the cashier with saucer like pupils. 

When everything was said and done, Erron and Rene walked away from the register with everything in hand. I trailed behind and thought, I did it. I kept everything under control and acting like a perfectly normal-

“Hey! Hey!” 

It was the cashier. There was an empty bottle of water on the register and he told me to get rid of it and not leave our trash behind. He looked at me like he hated me; he talked like it too.  When I picked up the bottle, unsure of what to do, we stared at each other for a while. He stared at me with nothing but contempt and I stared at him with a look that said, I am so sorry. I  have failed you and I have failed myself. 

It really wasn’t that deep at all but in that moment, I had failed to keep control. And that was the thing about it all, not just the 10 minutes in that 7-11 but also the night that would follow it; all I wanted was to be in control. I’d find out though, that control sometimes can’t be afforded to everyone, and when it isn’t all we can do is accept that. That realization wouldn’t come for another couple hours though, and the night was just starting. When we got back to our hotel room I sat down and looked at everyone, unsure of where to go from there. 

It was at that moment that it happened; my phone vibrated. I picked it up and read the text. I read it one more time, and then another time, and another time after that. I didn’t say it out loud but I was sure at that moment in time that I had just received a text from the future…

Poems From a Broken Ferris Wheel

Just Keep Talking

Tell me something I don’t know

And then, keep talking.

Silence shared is hardly uncomfortable,

but with you,

It is always the lesser of two possibilities.  

/

You with the bugs in your hair

and a head that itches with ideas.

With opinions and an outlook that is

equally cynical and optimistic.

/

Lend me some comfort.

Let me pluck the bugs from your head

and nest them in mine.

They’ll crawl in my ears

and make the inside of my head their home.

On the first of the month,

I’ll ask them to leave.  

/

Or  

/

I’ll think to myself,

Maybe they don’t have to go.

Maybe they can stay.

Stay with me and

Tell me something I don’t know

And then, keep talking.

*

I Wrote This While You Slept

The crash of a wave rings in my eardrum.

This crash wasn’t as loud as the last,

didn’t carry with it a reminder of its crushing potential.

This wave was soft.

Pleasing.

/

It was a footnote in a conversation about

living a life full of love

while still feeling empty.

/

What if you die alone?

To some extent, everyone dies alone.

/

Like a crawfish

pulled up in a net and stuffed into a drawstring bag,

we suffocate.

/

The late-night fishermen delight in that catch.

We’ll make 25 dollars on that one!

To an outsider, it looks disappointing,

but to them,

it is enough.

Enough to spend the rest of their Friday night

staring out into the void of the sea,

hoping it gives them something in return for their time.  

*

Deep Shit

My shit is a-flutter.

Not my actual shit.

What I mean to say is,

My internal shit is a-flutter.

/

Not the internal shit that runs through my intestines.

It’s in the pit of my stomach

but its not shit.

Not that shit.

/

This shit is butterflies.

Not actual butterflies.

I didn’t eat butterflies.

I had the brisket.

There is no butterflies in my shit.

/

This shit is looking at someone

For an extra second or two,

just because.

/

This shit is watching someone sleep,

but not for too long,

because then that shit’s kind of creepy.

/

This shit is writing poetry

for the first time since that poetry class last Winter.

This shit is writing shitty poems.

/

Bad poems I mean,

not poems about shit.

I don’t write poems about shit,

at least not actual shit.

/

This is about other shit.

Sweaty palm shit.

Heart skips a beat shit.

Fairy tale shit.

Prince and princess shit.

One and only shit.

Happily ever after shit.

/

Happily ever after bullshit.

That shit is shit.

Real shit.

Smelly shit.

Intestinal shit.

Heart break shit.

/

Maybe all shit is just shit.

Even that a-flutter shit.

*

A Broken Wheel

The Ferris wheel comes to a grinding halt.

In the lowest passenger car,

two silhouetted figures

sit under a façade of comfortable sadness.

/

When one smiles,

so does the other.

They take turns pouring happiness into one another

realizing but not acknowledging

they will never be full.

/

They will not reach the top.

/

The wheel’s peak

is filled with promises.

Promises from a world

waiting to be conquered.

Promises of a world that

overflows with happiness.

/

But the problem with the machine

is that even when it isn’t halted,

the promises of its peak

are only temporary.

*

Conceived in Venice

Holding a white paper cup in one hand

and a microphone in the other,

a lonely man sings power ballads on the boardwalk.

/

That could be me.

I’m not familiar with the words of the song

but I recognize the melody of melancholy.

Heartbroken and lost,

consumed by that desperation.

Hugging a speaker like its vibrations equal life,

the piano less piano man continues

singing his song to a world that isn’t listening.

/

My mind wanders.

/

You tug my arm and pull me from the rain clouds in my head.

Let’s look at this stuff.

Rings and crystals.

/

You stop at a table and stare at a white crystal that’s shaped like a monolith.

This one is pretty,

You say.

It is,

I respond,

while looking at you.

/

An old man steps in between us and

grabs the crystal with his cracked hands.

This is quartz,

He says, lifting it to eye level.

/

I look at you.

You look at me. 

This is quartz,

He repeats while raising the crystal again.

We both nod nervously.

/

Quartz,

he says, setting it down on the table.

The admiration in his voice is not lost.

To you, the crystal is pretty.

To him, it’s something else entirely.

And even though it’s not something he can hold onto forever,

every second he holds it is a second he doesn’t want to let it go.

/

I slip into myself again as we leave.

/

Let’s walk on the sand.

The words pull me from my fogged reflection.

Your voice is soft.

So soft I can barely hear it sometimes.

So soft that when I think about it days from now,

I’ll struggle to remember anything more than a whisper.

/

We lay down on the sand.

You rest your head on my stomach.

This is nice,

You say.

I close my eyes and think for a second,

This is quartz.

*

The World Sheds its Skin

Pa que es la cuna si el niño solo quiere dormir en cama?

Duerme tan augusto, pero uno de estos días,

se va a caer y se le va a reventar la cabeza.

/

A princess,

With skin that glows in the Summer

and bones that ache in the Winter

stares out into the moonlit horizon.

Beneath her feet, the worlds surface begins to blister.

/

Ten cuidado niño,

porque con las princesas,

no es la cabeza que revienta,

pero el alma.

/

A Princess shops.

She picks up a blouse.

She unfolds it and admires its beautiful lavender tone.

Then, without folding it neatly back into place,

tosses it back on the shelf,

a crumpled mess.

/

Niño,

Regrésate a tu cuna.

Escóndete en la seguridad de sus bordes.

/

Boy meets princess.

Like the blouse,

his life is separated into

the time before her

and the time after.

/

Beneath their feet,

the world sheds its skin.

It will never be the same again.