A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

20/30: IS IT TOMORROW OR JUST THE END OF TIME?

Teenage me walks across an empty field on a summer day.
Nothing but God’s green, stickers, mosquitoes
and Texas heat. My shadow is a guitar solo
covered in sweat. Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. My feet travel
a rambunctious soundscape. My feet are tired
time machines. My father showed me Purple Haze.
I’m walking backwards. Is it tomorrow
or just the end of time? Either way,
I’m pressing play.
Muscle memories tied up in my hamstrings,
the chorus of the past,
a rift in space and time.
You’ve heard it before,
how the body keeps the score.
I won’t lie. I keep everything
I find important. The meaning
usually shows up when I stop
trying to find it.

 

 

19/30: MIRACLE OF SLOW HEAT

All day, we wait for the roast to fall apart
in the most beautiful way. I teach you how
to sear chuck roast in the Dutch Oven.
The oil pops a righteous song
We two-step in the kitchen.
I tell you to trust the process.
A textbook sear appears.
We’re nearly there, my love.
No need for a recipe,
I know where we’re going.
With a little patience,
Dinner is on the way.
Tonight we put our trust
in the miracle of slow heat.
I am a man in love with the idea of tenderness,
no matter how long it takes.

18/30: A WATCHMAN

Strawberries, blueberries, apples,
lemon juice and orange juice,
sugar and slow heat
collide.
I witness
the alchemy of time,
what happens to
sweetness in the fire.
A watchman
over the flames.
Bearing fruit
until it reduces
into itself.
When I say I create,
I want you to hear
homemade. I want you to think
of my hands like a door,
open and ready
to work.

17/30: SERENDIPITY, OR CHAOS IN THE COSTCO PARKING LOT

Taking our groceries to the car,
the Saturday sky looms like a bully
like Houston on a hot spring day.
We put the groceries away, efficiently
escaping the rain’s sudden arrival,
just a second faster than the downpour.
We missed the touch of a storm,
and I praise serendipity
with good timing
from my driver’s seat,
reminding myself that
even the tiniest miracle
is its own kind of chaos—
a silent disruption
in the plot of what
we thought was
going to happen.

16/30: INSTRUCTIONS FOR LATER

Take IH-10 West.
Do not leave at 5 pm.
Go when the sun lowers.
71 West is your exit.
Drive five below for the first five miles.
Stop only at Buc-ee’s in Bastrop.
Do not get swallowed by the big blue sky.
Do not take the toll road.
Take the long way home.
Call your mom an hour out.
Call your mom a half-hour out.
If mom is sleeping when you arrive,
kiss her on the cheek.
Tell her you’re home.

 

 

15/30: LA BAMBA, OR WHAT KEPT ME GOING

What kept me going
was not all the words I said
out loud, or in my head,
but the silence I had to
make something out of
all these years.
Where I go in my mind
is not always a hero’s quest,
believe you me.
I’m
looking for meaning
before the metamorphosis
of the past.
I know what it is to outthink
my bones, turn them into a battleground
Turn myself into a phoenix
returning to its ashes
Or a clap of thunder
walking back into the atmosphere.
What I hear in a song goes beyond
the words.

La Bamba plays over the speakers at Denny’s
2:30 a.m., Round Rock, Texas
This moment is a red velvet riot
A late night early morning breakfast romance
I am building a tower of moments
upon the ticking clocks
of lost space and lost time
a monument to this fleet
of fleeting moments
Memory is never convenient, but
the door is always open.
Ritchie Valens is a Mexican ghost
his guitar
now invisible
playing over the speakers of
this suburban Denny’s
filling the kitchens of my childhood
his voice
belongs to the lawless sky of grief
to the green grass of joy
to the air that fills my lungs
when La Bamba comes on.
A memory and a song. All of this thought
without a single word said. Thankful,
the hemisphere of this red-leather booth
is wide enough
to hold my silence
like a learned prayer
like a plea I carry
or a knife I sharpen
whenever I see the butter
on the table.

 

14/30: The Path You Leave Behind Is A Line In A Poem The Universe Wrote About You When You Thought You Were Alone

Keep going.

13/30: APRIL IN HOUSTON

Let me set the scene. April in Houston. Days after a storm. Blue sky and easy light slips through the blinds, fills the room like a river. A blue-jay lands on the fence outside my window. I’m overcome with the need to exclaim there’s a blue-jay outside! Amazed, at the phenomena of a day. The blue-jay flies away before I think further. Dusk is here now. Going on a walk with Adela, the fresh air anchors me. Across the street, two brothers toss the football in an empty lot. Draw routes on the football for each other. The trees in my neighborhood are as tall as the power lines. The air tonight is too cool for April. I am running at my own pace now. Seeing the world change frame by frame. Faster than the blue-jay that flew away. Over the treetops, the sky is an unbothered indigo. A star shines so bright, Adela thinks it’s a planet. I think it’s a star. We follow it all the way home.

12/30: EASTER SUNDAY

Spent the morning staying in bed
while Jesus rose from the dead.

Growing up, Easter Sunday was such a production.
The basket, the outfit, the pictures, the church functions.

Now, pictures of my little cousins hunting cascarones
in their front yards, the confetti cracked on their good clothes.

Smiles big as a Resurrection Sunday feast at a loved one’s
house. For me, it was grandmas. Lockhart, TX. We’d run

All over the front yard, baskets in hand, determined to find
something besides our name that we could call mine.

Spent the whole morning in dress clothes
just so I could go run in the dirt with mis primos.

Some elder says a prayer over the hot food, we call it grace.
My mom made me a plate, told me to go, find my place.

Long ago, before I was born, I’m sure my mom had a plan
for days like this, probably carved the moment out by hand.

Today, with nowhere to go, I reminisce.
Still trying to love from afar all the people I miss.

11/30: I WON’T WORRY MY LIFE AWAY

In the sixth grade, if we got up early enough,
my mom would take my brother Brent and me before school
to Round Rock Donuts,
with enough change in our pockets
we didn’t have to walk into the morning
empty-handed.
we bought donut-holes by the bag
the orange icing, its own little sun—
it is the perfect bite.
A ritual, I would come to learn,
are small blessings on a schedule.
Back then, in the mornings, Brent rode shot gun,
a birth right in my family
and that meant the radio belonged to him.
And most mornings, it was 96.7 KISS FM
with Bobby Bonez as the DJ –
Prince of the Round Rock Airwaves
spinning top 40 hits for the youth of America.
I remember The Remedy by Jason Mraz
playing every single morning for weeks.
I had it memorized by the end of day 3
I won’t worry my life away
I won’t worry my life away

The morning car ride to school
meant we were lucky enough not to ride the bus
it was a ritual.
Whenever it played,
the backseat became a sunrise symphony
a boy bursting his lungs
free to sing
without judgment and without interruption.
You can turn off the sun but I’m still gonna shine.
That line can probably explain
why my light shines the way it does
without judgement and without interruption.
Never knew a shadow I couldn’t overpower since then,
What my mom thought, who knows.
She was on her way to work,
She was dropping her sons off at school.
She had a mission, a purpose.
Meanwhile, I found joy in the in-between.
Another ritual,
my own remedy.