I'm just happy to be here.


“Therefore, dear sir, love your solitude
and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation
the suffering it causes you.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Dear Zachary, sir—I need you to love better.
Dear sir, I need you to love better and mean it.
You can start with me, and all the sweet-sounding
suffering I cause you. This isn’t advice.
I love watching you try, but what good is
showing up, if you do not follow through
with who you wish to become?
Apart from me, you are another and I am other.
As if we exist in separate dimensions.
Am I a place you go but do not mention?
Dear Zachary, together, have we not walked
through shame like confetti and cascarones
underneath pink evenings? Have you forgot
the wilderness of your childhood, the backwards
deliverance of our innocence? We passed the time
like a jar of fireflies at dusk, opening the closed
jar to see how far we could see trace the fading
light. Each time you proposed an exit strategy to
get out of your head, who was your canary?
What if I told you it is not possible to love
someone until you love me? All the pain
in our heart is instructive. Isn’t that what
you call precedent. Would it please you
if I gave my argument with authority?
Because I know how you hate the past,
And yet, you protect your agony, unequivocally
too stubborn to learn the errors of your ways
And I know this weighs on you. I can feel
the slow puddle of your blood form when
you refuse to participate. Dear sir, please,
I am not an exit strategy. I am an invitation.
My only wish for you is to receive what
I give without leaving me behind. Remember
how it feels to stumble through the unfinished
plot of what is lost and what is gained? I know
you need me most when it rains and the air
changes instantly, announcing to the world
what is here and what is to come, the same way
you wish you could change back into the man
you wrote about once before you became an
island, stranded in the sand of your fears.
I hear you talk to yourself when you refuse
to use your voice. I know all your tricks.
In the mirror, when we visit each other,
Your eyes trace our body in the dim light.
Dear sir, don’t you see the space I give
is empty for a reason?

16/30: on the fridge, in two parts

rain by us
sweet pounce
clean lick
Can water ache?
Could the sea boil over?

Some long
melancholy evaporates
I watch the dark
dark weather of us
Does the sky see
what does not last?

15/30: if you’re looking for a sign, this may be it

it’s Saturday night on East Cesar Chavez and I’m on foot
in stride, side-by-side with a man I’ve known long enough
to give me back my faith in people, back again in believing
in every human’s innate goodness. Again with belief, again
with hope, again with being a hopeless believer, I begin again.

But not like clockwork, or counter-clockwork, or how an alarm
works. More like the blinking clock next to my mattress next to us after
a storm erases time off the face of the earth when the power yanks
time from and the only way to know what time it is to get up and
stop pretending the world isn’t waiting, watching me hesitate.

it’s Saturday night on East Cesar Chavez and I’m on foot
in stride, telling Marshall about my latest heartache, when
an empty church stops me, but only after I notice the barb-
wire praying to a passerby like me. The painful invitation
of god has robbed me of my desire to dance in my own hurt.

Above in the sky, an oak tree homily interrupts me once more:
Run the race of life to win an ETERNAL crown, and my life
is now in the hands of my feet, and in this moment, I’m on foot.


I laugh like salsa kisses
My echo is everywhere
I talk like water goes
My voice is survival
I kiss like a cemetery holds
My mouth is a lousy mausoleum
My poems are the flowers
I bring when I forget how to sing
When the dead weeds of my deeds
need to be pulled up, a poem is a
palm in the soil. Does poetry excuse
my dirty hands? All I ever loved
was to try to help everyone, except
myself. Some mornings, the poet
pretends he is a boy again,
watching his words
escape like balloons
he wants to trade in
for hope.
If it comes down to it,
I may say yes to silence.
Most days,
I smile like my poems try to forget.
So I write to leave the door open.