by Zachary Caballero

“Now the oft parade
has soon began.
Cool pools
from a tired land
sink now
in the peace of evening”

-Jim Morrison, Venice Beach Poet’s Monument

I learn more about myself on the days I do not speak than the days I do. Catching the unspoken flow of life is a boat I often miss. Though, this goes against the first principle of paying attention: nothing truly ends. Even the cycle of waves running to the shore still crash against the sand like an angel in the snow during sunset. What I want to last has not even begun. People Make The World Go Round by the Stylistics is a song I never sang before but the point is I’m listening to the car stereo as my uber driver performs the song of his youth, breath by breath, like he wrote he lyrics himself, like the words were born in his mouth. All I do is smile. My tongue is a crowded beachside boardwalk breeze rising like a blue phoenix. I tell my tongue, go underground, young man. But the pink beast barely leaves his station. If it feels good lost, then I still do not want to find myself. How can I return to who I am when the world is an open invitation? I cast a wide net when I should cast a line with a tiny hook: look, without being sad, I want to walk away from my shadow. I yield my yearning like a tired land I never want to escape into. People always want explanations and never want to listen pass the question. But that’s what makes the world go round. And surely, this is true. Grandkids are eating blue coconut snow cones with their grandparents and when their mouths open up, what I see is a stained sky. A man on the pier shares his spare bread. A homeless man hugs a dog he hasn’t seen in days. One moment after the next. Lifetimes linger on the tips of my fingers—is it any wonder I’m hesitant to pick up the pen?