I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: napowrimo14


Did I tell you about the cardinal
in my backyard?
I saw a bright red body leap from the ground
and didn’t think it looked so tough.
Thought of my heart, thought of how hard
it is just to pick up the pieces, but
did I tell you about class last week?
I ask my students to read their poems
out loud to one another.
A student asks me what it means
to be vulnerable and I am not afraid
to tell her the truth.
She tells me she’s only
nervous in front of one person,
whispers his name because it
is still soft and simple, and I can’t remember
the last time I whispered a name like good news.
Did I tell you about the good news?
Cindy Phan is going back to Vietnam.
Cindy Phan is my barber and she calls me handsome.
Cindy Phan hasn’t seen her family in six years
Cindy Phan crossed the ocean because
she was sick, and now she is better.
Did I tell you about the time I got better?
Oh, it wasn’t very extravagant.
Everyone just said they loved me
and meant it.



All the cars     go somewhere     this makes you think
you should too    makes you wanna gamble your morning
breath     away      on   your 8 AM playlist    a shuffle so sad pours
replaces the sugar in your coffee with       Radiohead
and now this suffering refuses to skip   I am sobbing songs out to an audience
invisible from the outside in but oh        I don’t just sing    for nobody   now
Ya see?     I remove the stirrer now a tongue and the thickness of it
curdled the cream    degreased the deadbolt  that keeps the best thing
 I ever had           whole  and no one knows
or remembers how to gather gone glory    even after you showed them.      It’s ok, though.          
‘Cause this morning       I can sing     about wishing to make love
without my inside falling to pieces      again.

Anyway       you are not in your car yet and you think still
to step out      in such an environment     will make you        imposter      
or maybe just impossible  or maybe      opening the door
will affirm           what is waiting         and what is waiting  is what is   not yet
yours but that     will always be       waiting    so
what’s the rush? Maybe now      you are the open door
Welcome!   you think   to the world  whose constant availability
vindicates   the time it takes for you to          open so true      maybe
none of this is what you thought would happen by noon but
It is Friday   nonetheless       you have now drank two cups of coffee
finishing neither but your breath says otherwise and now you are awake
now you are in your car              going somewhere        but you still haven’t left.                                                                            



Again, with this?

You go to bed gnarled by how long it has taken to see what is not there.
You sleep quiet, ignore the other half of the bed, and this pretending is
now a lullaby. The brim reach of solitude has spilled, flooded and
and now everything you own, occupied by lonely, a piece of driftwood
refusing to go to anywhere and what do you do?

Why we all know you sink, precious. By morning you surface possessed
by love, more porous and less afraid of blisters, more aware of bursting
than ever and oh this means you are a shipwreck, or a ghost, or simply
a remainder of what the world forgets the most. But the sea is yours to
suffer with or against, and sleep drifts like a quiet anchor, afraid to choose
whose heart to sink its teeth into.

Oh, alluva sudden you undid your faults. Just done, like that.
You make yourself joy
sink your teeth into displeasure
drag your mouth in the mud
And this makes a meal?
How many words have you made a meal with
before you washed your hands?
You want to be the river but know nothing of clean water.
Is this why you boil so gently?



LOCAL MAN GULPS STATE’S BEAUTY OVERNIGHT Last night, local poet and native Texan, Zachary Caballero, watched the sun spill into a field of bluebonnets, when he decided to open his mouth and gulp the beauty of it all before it set, devastating his body, scorching his throat, all in an attempt to store his chest with heaps and heaps of gold, his closest friends report. Mr. Caballero’s mother found the twenty-two year old optimist passed out drunk on her front lawn this morning, when thousands of Texans woke to find the sun weeping. Nearly every river ran scared when they woke to an empty bed for the first time. There is nothing left to sing about, as swarms of Mockingbirds roam the bruised body of God’s country, searching for life in the belly of a man, for what remains is not due to what is left, but who is left? The sun set last night at seven twenty-six p.m. The temperature stayed a faithful seventy degrees, while the entire day tried to stay awake, until all the petals, and all the trees, and all the people that spend most their time trying not to leave, arrived in the thirsty mouth of Zachary Caballero. Friends of Mr. Caballero claim he has always had a big mouth, with an even bigger heart. They know this because he swallowed himself whole once, and came back by Spring. They know this because he weeps at the grocery store whenever the mangoes go away. They know this because he has kept the grey of every day, and refuses to say so. So they say. Numerous attempts have been made to communicate with Mr. Caballero, as thousands of Texans are wondering when they will look at something beautiful again. It is difficult to tell how the wildlife have been affected, but it is assumed that unless the state begins again, even the predators will have to pray.  When asked to comment, Mr. Caballero opened his mouth without a single word falling out. Instead, the water returned to their bodies, and went back to bed. A chorus collapsed half of West Texas as mockingbirds heard the silence turn to stone. He took every part or particle of God from his oddly-raptured body and gave the gulf back its grief, scraped his bones clean of mercy and saw the devil towns disappear when he was done dancing. When his mother discovered her son, she saw him wearing the smile he was born with, and when asked about her son’s peculiar behavior, she simply replied, “He does this all the time.”


What strange hum fluttered inside this
featherweight of a boy
when he found himself falling
with the wind?

It was the everything that
made me music.
It was the everything that
made me howl ‘til I ached
myself away.

I tell myself
nobody owns my wilderness
but even that feels false

I do not believe in eternity
per say,
but I do know that most
of me will be forever translating feeling
from fiction or fact or ash
and that I cannot ask questions
without second-guessing
what is said next, but isn’t
what’s next always a guess?

Tomorrow is there as it has
always been but it does not
begin until we say so and that
is a terrible truth to swallow.

The swallow of everything is terrible
but only because not everyone thinks
it is music and so they do not lose themselves
in the falling, but I know now
to land is to know love
I know to be a featherweight of a boy
is to feel the fall days long
but it ain’t as bad as it seems.

Whenever the wind leaves now
what comes out is not a tired
sad strung but a humble hum
that I refuse to let leave
my lungs.


I am sitting under a tree when all of a sudden
form matters. The branches of my body
interrupt the sky so quietly, I cannot
understand how my
almond skin can crack into a thousand pieces
and still be enough to snap the sunlight
when all of a sudden I remember
it is Spring in Texas and I am a sap for
seasons that surrender and people that
remember how to
On days when the wind is a wish,
it is impossible
to trace the blue in the sky without
becoming it. I kiss a bluebonnet
with lips light as fever and the entire state
begins again.

I set my sun hands against my body
and break into myself to see what
fruit is left.
I am forever
finding fields of lost treasure so most days
all I think of is the buried bloom and how this
must be what the earth feels too when we
consume her heirlooms and do not tell our
our tongues to slow dance in chew.

When Vincent Van Gogh saw Almonds blossom
he did not think of me. He thought of his new nephew
and of life, beginning again. Ol’ Vince saw almond trees
blossom against the backdrop of everything
we know as home and heard parturition
part his paint brush into
Have you ever wanted to
borrow the blossom of some other fruit?
I swear some days, I am a mango tree,
or a man made of mango, or maybe just some
other man. Either way
I’m familiar with being a sweetheart,
with eating my heart out of some other
body until all my blood cells gush gold,
and now I am better than I once was
the best of me is what happened when
the rest of me stopped sleeping in graveyards
and started digging gardens. Now all
the hard that once was
laughs on my lips,
the soft flesh of what is left
simply lingers like a first kiss
or a last breath.

My mother told me I was the first kiss of spring
so I know how to surrender my mouth
without unbecoming. I denounce the wreckage
of every previous season because all the winter
did was tell me what I was not. All the autumn did
was love me to death. All the summer did was
make my heartbreak humid. So, yes. I want
To be part of spring’s announcement. I want
To feel the flowers finally firework
inside of me without having to set myself on fire.

Can anyone tell me
What it means to see a beautiful thing
and have your first thought be
“please don’t ever leave?”
Can anyone tell me
what it means to see yourself
as a beautiful thing?
I have waited most of the harvest season
to manifest but only because
I respect the process.
I gave myself to graveyards all my life
but when the sky surrenders
itself to love like it does,
what else am I to do
but fall in love in with myself too?


Duke Ellington sang to me about Solitude
all before noon so yes,
it was a good morning.

Before the good morning, I dreamed
I kissed a woman just by saying her name
right. A tongue spellbound by 
the will to not fuck up is 
how I woke up all majestic
in the mouth.
That’s why the blueblonnets
blush like they do. I sing all
spring, That’s why death forgets
for a while.
While death forgets, 
I remember the lyrics.

In my solitude
You haunt me
With dreadful ease
Of days gone by

In my solitude
You taunt me
With memories
That never die

I sing it slow cause I know what it means
to pray to god and have nothing but
jazz make you feel soft
again. And to be soft is to be
sorry for the hard.
And I think that’s significant.

When I drove home after work today
I coulda swore Duke sang to the
sky about solitude too
and God
was drunksad too
so the whole state wept. In other news,
a man on the radio spoke about how
Jesus became God 
simply because the people
said so. Said suicide was
confirmation of what they spoke
that when you kill yourself
and still spill forgiveness
that you become something else.
Holy was what it was.

To speak yourself holy.

So yes,
I had a good day.


Texting the girl who I once
drowned all the blood in my body
for, I type into my phone
my dear but the damn machine
puts my dead instead
and my stupid thumb hits send
confuses enter
professes epitaph and
now my bones tap
nail in coffin without knowing so
even my mouth begins
breaths impossible to cough gone
so many things
born to exit, is this what
makes love turn
my insides into
water slides?
because it remains
even when the river
tells it not to stay?

Anyway, I misname love
death and kiss the both
of them like family
because they are
because familiar is a fever
this brown boy boils to remember.
Even in the spring when
frustration falls pretty
out of blossom and the wind
wins your heart by
blowing the broken away,
even then,
the harvest will seem unremarkable
when what’s inside of all I do
are the seeds of rotten fruit,
I don’t need to be reminded
of the ruin. even when I make
it a habit to have it for breakfast,
I don’t always taste the disappearing
merely notice it the way it complements
everything my mouth has to say.

My dear, the way I die every day
is by loving this way and my dear,
death is the next best thing to
these sappy-ass
heart strings
which was inevitable,
of course, the earnest in me
like the rest of me
is a product of eventually,
like the all of us
who will not last
but love like we do,
and oh that is my favorite part
to love something to death,
you put a breath to both
and lose yourself in the


The softest girl I ever said I love you to
smashed me up the tidiest too
so my tremble should not surprise you.

If it does surprise you, then that means
sad is still startling, and boy, what I wouldn’t do
to be surprised by all this too.

I am weeping at the grocery store
again. Either it is because I am lonely
or none of the avocados are eager

enough. Why does soft still stay
forgotten? Oh if I could wash
the rotten in sink water, will the rest of 

me suffer? I keep wanting life to be sweet
but if the skin stays sugar, then
I am nothing more than melting meat.

Oh, the heat of the evening 
is how dinner greets me. Even
the best of me gets eaten by

what’s left of me. Is this what 
remaining is? To feel so much
dust, you wonder what it is you’re still

covering up?


The problem is I’m wearing a watch that isn’t mine
and still checking the time like it is and suddenly
everything matters. Every second stutter steps
trying to say, “Hey, you sure about that?”

But tonight I am sure. Tonight
all my uncertainty leaves the waiting room
and gloom is gone for good. Tonight
I am in a ballroom with all my favorite people
I am all chandelier and sure I’ll pass the sugar
Which is me saying, tonight is sweet,
and your hands are careful cantaloupes
Which is me saying you are my favorite fruit.
Yes, you.

It took me twenty-two years to hear
the heart
doesn’t have to be sweet to be eaten. Tonight
I am grateful that teeth touched me without tearing
or taking the bloom with them. Don’t they know
I’m still arriving? That the days begins and never ends?
That when my brown skin blushes gold, I tell
it to stay? And sometimes it does
but sometimes the blood is too familiar
so I make a bushel out of the burning
and wish it didn’t ring like ritual. Wish it didn’t
ripple so sad ship like.

I listen to a song by Manchester Orchestra
The lead singer, Andy Hull
heaves anchors from honey
and calls it song. Sings
The invention of the ship
is the invention of the shipwreck.

So I am both the ship and the wreck
Should I start over? Okay. I’ll start over.
Hi, my name is Zachary. I am not a ship but
the first of me is the last of something
So I am a shipwreck.

Should I start over?