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There Is No Other Side

Some things become so common
That they loose their beauty 
Things like 
The smell of falls first rain 
The silence of a car ride and 
The hum of life in the corner cafe 
This generation 
Pays no attention to 
The small things 
We are too wrapped up in 
The high class 
Big destinations
Pretty pictures of anywhere but here 
We have suit cases packed 
Full of loneliness 
Sitting by the front door 
We all think that its greener on the other side
But I promise 
You packed your pessimism
In that bag 
Tightly pressed in with your 
Urban jeans and false reality 
There is no plane ticket 
To happiness 
There is already lost
Rummaging through your backyard 
Thinking your hometown 
Is their paradise but 
Your both wrong 
It’s in the corner of your mind 
Where the rain clouds 
Touch your tears and 
Water the pours down onto the hills 
And you look out your 
Window and think
God must be crying on those lush mountains 
Because its all about your perspective 
It’s about noticing the common things 
The things like 
The steam
That billows from your mouth 
On the cold days that
You would once complain about
It’s about your
Hot breath hitting
Icey air 
Blue lips 
And a smile from a stranger 
That only you 
You need to 
Fear the mundane 
For I fear we have become 
So mundane 
We would never think
That stranger
Might just be smiling 
Your hot breath 
Is really a fire 
burning in your
They can see the orange 
Glow in your chest 
Open your eyes 
The parched grass is 
Sucking up gods tears 
And growing longer than ever
The colors are flickering
Like flames 
Look around 
The green side


Natural disasters are no longer natural

I am tired of the news
I am tired of
Watching the world rip itself apart
Oceans swallowing up land
The earth sweating sand
And reporters
Feeding on the death like
It feels good
To see the bodies float on waters
That were once streets
The pavement of mother earths face
Streets I know kids used to play on
The same streets I ran bare foot down as a child
At dusk
With the smell of dinner in the air
But I know those children are crying now
And I cant watch the news
While eating my eggs
Without seeing blood in my ketchup
And my mother tells me every morning,
“This weather isn’t getting any colder”
And I say,
“Someday winter will just never come”
While my father screams in the background
“Change the channel!”
“Turn that fucking shit off!”
Thats exactly what is happening
The channel is getting changed
And fear is quiet
The television is black and
Fear is echoing off the walls of this empty house
Those walls resemble this country in ways I can’t even explain
I see the few that help
Held in the picture frames of my hallway
Pictures of the earths rocky mountain ridges
Freckled with aspens in the middle of fall
But those are dying off too,
Someday winter will never come
Because republicans spent too much time fighting
With democrats to realize the only one in need of heath care
is the earth.
Shes choking on her own air,
Getting sick and sweating it out on us,
The news will be the only channel that is on
Natural disasters will suck the life out of the human race
And ill have to explain to my child
What a polar bear is
And what snow was
And what a glacier looked like
And ill have to explain how
There were once calm winds
And smooth waters
And flat earth
And crisp days with no sounds
Ill have to
Tell my boy stories
Of how it was once safe to play in the streets
Without getting blisters on your feet
And he will ask me
“Why didn’t anyone try to save mother earth”
Ill tell him,
Some people did son,
Some people did.


The secret

Friendships grow like flowers. Where fennel sprouts sit perched on solid ground and roots like lives seep deep into the soil. The smell of friendship lingers on my skin. While there has been few times in my life when I have had a green thumb. Flowers often die with the seasons and like the winter months I often grow cold. Similar to the green leafy flesh of a perennial I have found myself in a small window sill planter. Accompanied by three friends that can last through the frost.

The bitter nights easily sucks the life out of my eyes. As light purple hues of violets soak through my skin in diagonal lines on my face. The diagonal shading follows the course of two pillows that sit begging underneath my eyes. Although, I hold sleep with a naïve hand in the company of the Joy Luck Club. The Joy Luck Club is a story of four immigrant women that meet regularly to eat, tell stories, and play mahjong. Our Joy Luck Club meets late nights at a foggy windowed diner in much the same manner. The diner has a specialty in pie, yet I have still never seen anyone buy a pie here. Joseph, Miguel, Anna, and I convene here baggy eyed to sip coffee, eat breakfast, and tell stories. Our Joy Luck Club is a group of deeply close friends, a therapy session for the poor. A gathering for the children that work long hours and sleep less every night. The coffee taste bad and it is often two in the morning when I order decaf. The stories we tell here slip out of lips that would otherwise be sewn shut by judgmental ears.

I pick up the decaf for the eighth time. Slouched down with a sleepy body in the corner of the common booth. Two milks. Two sugars. Our diner always sits in a fog of quiet while the black street outside loses its day time warmth. We all know the cook here, and he knows our names. I like to think that he listens when Miguel talks so loudly about sex. I smile with heavy cheeks next to my Mexican friend. Miguel is an immigrant here all alone. He is my age but his heart beats ten years younger and he sits up much straighter than I. Black haired and dark skinned. The blood that flows through his veins is thin and keeps him calm and happy. It is the culture, it is the dirt streets he grew up on.
“I like like, felt her lean into me. And then she grabbed my hand and began to put it down her pants. Like I said before, I was okay with this. It was a dissolvent of privacy,” His thick accent sounds naïve. Miguel reminds me of a lost puppy. And like one I quickly took him in.
“Did you use protection?” Joseph and Anna pry the door off the room of Miguel’s first sexual experience.
“Of course,” He leans back in his seat.
They sip hot caffeine soaking in his innocence. I feel Anna’s foot bump mine and I push into it under the table. She’s a blond European immigrant. Still Illegal. Her jaw line sits strongly on her small neck. Her pale skin and strange beauty can grow on any man like a fungus. Something hard to get rid of once you have it. She blames her accent. The fungus grew on Miguel when he first met her, but Anna is too old for a new puppy.
“Wait, how old is this girl?” Joseph likes to use his hands when he talks. He has a package of sugar in his fingers. He is always playing with something. For seven years it was Anna. He is the reason she is here. He is the ex-boyfriend. The moss that grew on him when he fell in love with her soaked up moisture and crossed seas. The two live together in tension. Anna hangs on to a thread of a hopeful citizen marriage. Anna has to marry Joseph or else go home and stay there. Breaking up wasn’t their plan. Now they are stuck, together. Joseph holds the scissors and the choice to deport her if he feels so inclined. But the company sooths him. From a strong Filipino family he thrives on the pain of a punished relationship. She is stuck her with his monthly allowance until he decides to change things.
“Well she was twenty six,” Miguel says with a huge grin. We all laugh tired heavy laughs. Anna is looking at me. Miguel is looking at Joseph. Joseph is looking at Miguel. I am taking this all in. We are our own Joy Luck Club.

You can only grow flowers from dirt. Consistent brown dry dirt hidden under minced grass.
I smile at Anna when she gets in my car. She has no license. Joseph is her ride and will take her home tonight regardless of who she is with. Time passes quickly with our conversations. Miguel does not know I take Anna from Tracy to Livermore. His jealously and envy would flood our friendship. Downed his young heart. Joseph works long hours and Anna would become a hermit to a small home if I did not immerse myself in her company.
Empathy is something that seeps from Anna like a drug. Someone who was trained to listen by the worst of circumstances and the furthest of distances. My home holds acquaintance to hot tea and long talks. I steep honey bush vanilla over hot water. This reminds her of peace and me of home. Our friendship grew out of herbal tea and Joseph’s tension. My past and her childhood memories. Her painful relationship and my unbiased advice for the love of my two best friends.
At eleven I warm my car. Miguel and Joseph will find us at the diner.

The smell of candles and the sound of Bob Dylan softly touch the walls of my room. Anna’s accent whispers softly over the music. My twin bed sets us a few inches apart. The coffee table an arm’s reach away. Poetry books and papers that we have shared sit already read. It took six months to find that her words could pull me apart.
“I haven’t had someone hold me in so long”
She pushes her small back into my chest where my nose meets her neck. The smell of her hair that has seeped into my pillow for last few months clears my anxiety. Her flavor of flower field perfume fills my lungs and lets me breathe like I have been sucking thin air for the last week.
“It’s unfair how perfectly I fit into you”
She whispers with her eyes closed as her legs curl into mine. I wrap my arm around her waist. Whatever is happening feels as stable as the growth of a tree. The strength of the sun bending branches into perfect contrition.
“Do you think we will ever be together?”
Before I can clench my eyes shut she tells me, yes. Her warmth soaks into me with the music and smells.

I turn the car off in the dark parking lot of the diner. Like it’s a painful act I retract my hand from hers and put it on the steering wheel. Breathing out.
“I’m not sure how long I can go on pretending like this. I want to let it all out. You don’t know how many times I have been sitting in there, just thinking I am going to tell him. I am just going to tell him. I like Daniel. And whatever happens, happens.”
I look straight ahead. Out onto the same black street. Cold by this time of night. The fog settling on its surface. The car still warm.
“You can’t tell him, you know that. He will kick you out and turn you in. You won’t be allowed back for ten years.”
“I can’t live like this. He has complete control over me. He can see us. He is noticing the way I look at you in there. He has to know.”
“He doesn’t know. Joseph is the kind of guy that wants control. He doesn’t want you but I’m sure he wouldn’t let anyone else have you.”
We walk into our Joy Luck Club. Standing further apart than ever before. In careful caution of our love giving off an electric field. Miguel and Joseph waiting for us with unknowing faces. The play begins. My decaf coffee burns my lips when he laughs at her. I smile along like the friend I always was to him. Miguel stares across the booth at Anna with lustful eyes. Her leg brushes mine and my head jerks in Joseph’s direction. Anna acts as if she has been my friend for one week as she gets into the car with Joseph. I hug him, drive safe and I will see you soon.

The tea sits on the coffee table untouched. Anna falls deep into my arms. I run my short beard down her neck and feel her body cringe. Her sweet smell fills my room. Her hands grab mine and pull me close to her. I kiss her neck softly. Softly. I kiss her cheek. She kisses my lips. Her lips press against mine and her head turns as she pulls my cheek to hers. I close my eyes and whisper in her ear.
“I was trying to avoid doing that”
“I know”
She pulls back and I let go. Kissing her again and again like it is the first time I have kissed a girl. The morality and secret of our lust draws my desire. The secret fills me with pleasure. Her skin touches my hand. Smooth glass. Her bones pull on her body and I run my hands into her pants while she curls her legs. The movement of her body snakes in my bed. Calmly and with intention. The music is off. The room is warm. I slide her pants to her ankles. Her white skin like the like the moon on a black sky. I open my eyes to the coffee table. The dark. My tea is still steaming.

We sit down at the diner booth. I order an English muffin. Miguel orders pancakes, along with Joseph. Anna gets potato soup. The soup is cheesy and strings from the bowl toward her mouth. I spread my jam and the boys talk about their childhood. Anna and I are quiet. We sit cagey eyed across the booth. Holding secrets like hand grenades in our bellies. Scared of slipping revealing words out skinny lips. One slip and her guts would be out on the table for Joseph to feed on. He laughs with Miguel and I watch his hand slide on the back of the booths chair. It stops behind Anna’s back. She looks at me and I look away.
Anna gets up and walks out side. Stepping fast like she has nothing to say. I tell the guys I need some air. Its winter outside. The cold hits me and I wake up a bit.
“Anna, tell me what you want me to do”
“This is hurting us”
“What do you want me to do? You’re in charge of this situation, tell me what you want”
“I don’t know”
“Say it Anna”
“Fine, we need to just be friends”
It was a long time coming. The words hit the air and I swore they must have made it colder outside. I looked at Anna, sad in the face. She looked more beautiful to me than ever.
She was trying to save the Joy Luck Club. I couldn’t be mad at her. The tension inside rose.

I sit down on my bed. Anna sits on the floor in front of me. More tension sits in my room than ever did at the diner. She reads to me a poem about October. I tell her I am her biggest fan. Bitter stares exchanged for the last week. I tell her how I had to listen to Miguel tell me about how much he likes her. He thinks it’s rough, to like a girl that you can’t have. I like to smile at him and say it’s okay.
Anna is a small girl. And she smokes cigarettes. They remind her of home. They remind her of her grandmother. Smoking will make you beautiful. Smoking will make you live forever. I look at her and I could believe this. Her eyes are crystal mirrors and I can’t hide from myself in her gaze. She knows this. I know this too. She gets up and sits on my bed with me. The tea is on the table. Mine has sugar. Hers is natural. She’s quiet with me but I know her. I understand.
She once told me that only the strongest relationships grow from friendships. It is because that is how we see who someone really is. I put my hand on her leg. I watch her small chest breathing, calmly. I lay down and she falls into me. I wrap my arms around her as she begins to cry. I hold her tight like there is nothing around yet still something that could pull us apart at any moment. She cries quiet. I wipe her tears away with my thumb. I see a lot of pain in her and I feel it. She sucks air in, small breaths. Dripping tears. Her tears burn my fingers. She squeezes my hand.
“I know you love him Anna”
“I need to get away, I need to get out”
“Can we do this, please. Anna I understand”
“Yes, we can do this”
We hold each other like trees that grew together on a farm a long time ago. Her favorite tree is a weeping willow. I finally understand. We stand up and hug for a long time. We hug until midnight. It’s time to leave. Our friends are waiting for us at the diner. Our Joy Luck Club.


It was always
What I didn’t do
You wanted
A different guy
A different poem
A different kiss
The kiss that was only in movies
The poem that was about fake love
And the boy that only exists
In pictures
I told you
Life isn’t that kind of
Screen play
There is no
Happy ending to every story
This is not a drama film
Look outside
The sky line is not saturated in
Sutro tones
Its grey and dark
I dare you to find the beauty
In the sunset
Without looking at it
Through your iPhone
I have heard you listen
To the wind before
And there were short
Moments when the
Cameras weren’t rolling
That I fell in love
With the way your hair
Blew in your face
But you always brush it away now
Forgetting to listen
To the cold outside winds outside
They are still whistling
Over the hills and far away
When the levee breaks
These tears are going to
flood your home
Because I cant act anymore
I can no longer pretend
That it doesn’t break my heart
To see you swoon for other men
I can’t win you back
With a trip to paris
And a song under the stars
The movie is going end
The curtains will close
And I will fall asleep in someone else’s arms


Ive Been Wanting To Marry You For Four Years

I was on the floor in the middle of a crowded place. You came to sit next to me. Asked me if you could take a picture with me. It had been so long since I saw your face. You laid down next to me. Like we were back in high school. Where the smallest touch meant the world and a kiss could change a life. Your leg pressed against mine. Warm and intentional. You always could put the most meaning into the softest of touch. I had been thinking about you more and more. The longer we were apart.

You laid your head back. Looking up at the sky. Like it was easier to speak to the clouds. You told me you were pregnant. You said the wedding is in a month, at some church you had never heard of. With a boy I had never heard of.

You began to cry. Softly and quietly in the crowded room .The tears puddling on your cheeks. The moment felt heavy. I laid down next to you. Tucking my arms beneath my chest. Trying to breathe calmly. I put my face into your arm. Tried to think about your life, and mine. Spinning out of correlation. Your thermal sweater pressed against my eyes. In a manner that couldn’t be stopped, I began to cry too.


Stay In Reach

I thought I would wait for you to reach out to me. But the longer I waited the further I fell. You finally came around but I was way out of reach. You tried everything but it was too late. I took the jump rope we used to play with and tied it around my neck. I watched your face as I fainted into the wall. You stood there frozen. Eyes like mirrors. I watched myself fall. Hitting the stucco. Knocking your mothers picture frame off the wall. The blackness brought me back. Just close enough to you. I opened my eyes on the floor. Gasping for air. Grabbing at the rope around my neck. The threads pulled tight against my skin. Causing blood to pump hard. Pulsing out of the veins in my neck. Making my face white as your finger nails as you untied me. You looked like you were going to cry. I scared you more than I scared myself. You told me to never joke like that again. But I wasn’t joking. I don’t know what saved me. But it wasn’t you. Stay in reach.