I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: zfc




The last band we saw together was Built to Spill
over at Stubbs, when November was its nastiest
and Winter felt so true. Thirty degrees and dropping,
I pressed my body so hard against yours, I expected
sparks to consume whatever it was we could not control
like the weather
like each other,
and each of our expectations filled with what we
both wanted, which was not each other,
I learned that from the aftermath
and that is the hardest part.
To be a lesson and not even know it
until you have to.

But oh, if I had to do it all over again,
I’d do it just the same. Even if I know
our sparks won’t stay long enough to last
through the winter of each other, I will
still build the a fire for you,
even if I have to burn myself down
to do it.

“We’ve all seen enough, now it’s time to decide
The meekness of love or the power of pride
It doesn’t matter if you’re good or smart
Goddamn it, things fall apart

Let’s go for a walk, yeah, let’s go for a drive
Don’t know how to say thanks for being alive
Let’s go for a lifetime, let’s go for a fling
Don’t know how to say anything”






Yesterday, my best friend Alexander told me his grandpa has forgotten his name
but not how to smile, and I crumble at the replay. He tells me,
his grandpa can’t help but use the words wonderful and thrilled,
how for him, it is just nice to meet everyone, again, for the first time,
for the last time, for whatever time is left and it feels good to
love the man that made the love you learn from, how kindness
filled his bones his whole life, so even as his body begins to break
the only thing to escape is music.
And I want to tell him,
Alex, we are boys who come from men who spent their whole life loving.
We are men who saw the boy in us burn down as soon as we
loved for the sake of it, as soon as we saw the music in everything.
Oh brother, we are sons still remembering, even as our grandpas
forget their favorite fruit, even as our names disintegrate in their throats,
at least they know how to laugh and smile in the face of forgetting.
Alex, we come from men made of music, and don’t we both
love to sing? Let me tell you.
The first time I had to tell my grandpa my name,
I don’t remember what his face looked like or what he said
but it was probably in Spanish and he probably laughed
afterwards. I remember my grandfather being so funny,
even if he didn’t.
When my brothers and I would visit
him and my grandmother at the house my dad
spent his whole life learning to love
My Grandpa would ask us “How’s ya ugly daddy?”
then roll his own cigarette and laugh
until it was lit.
My Grandpa would sit in the front room
the walls punched by tobacco and a man forgetting
himself, and he would play his guitar. I don’t
remember the songs, only the singing.
I come from a man who forgot he was a father
I come from a man who forgot his family
but not how to sing, and doesn’t that mean
everything? Even as I write this, I am not singing,
merely weeping at the thought of it. Merely sinking
back into the smoke he became, when the fire
ate his brain and I felt too unbrave to spell
my name out in the ash.

I am twelve when my grandfather finally
becomes a memory
for good.
My mother wakes my brothers and I up
in the middle of the night to tell us.
I thought it was a dream, something I woke up
in the middle of, only I couldn’t fall back asleep
or maybe I did but nothing comes to mind right now.
Only that,
when my grandpa was placed in a home without his wife
to make him breakfast, he would flirt with the woman
by smiling, or singing, or simply forgetting fear
and merely feeling. He would smile, like I do now,
like my dad does, and learned to, and now I know
my mouth has never been mine, merely a memory
replaying over and over again.

I like to think when he went,
the only thing he remembered was the way
my grandmother’s lips left him an eternal song,
something he’d never forget.



I am sleeping too much again.
Yesterday I woke to find the day dancing
and couldn’t find my dancing shoes anywhere.
There’s a story there, but I shut my eyes before
it sees the sunlight and decides to rise likewise.
I hit the story with the bunt of my fist
and it collapsed like snooze.

It is morning now. Afternoon, actually but
I just woke up so what’s the difference?
Nothing happens other than what is supposed to.
What is supposed to happen is the problem.
Overwhelmed by mostly myself, I run into people
who make me feel less alone because to me that
seems easier than the alternative.
There’s a story there, but I’ll replace it with a quote.
Octavio Paz wrote, “Self-discovery is above all the realization that we are

Is there a word to describe the feeling of missing someone
before you actually leave? What about missing everyone?
I am trying to anticipate the craters my own absence
will create, the crashing and burning that will become of me
when I lose half my universe and though I cannot control
where the ash goes, I can be ready for the blood, or at the very least
the realization that I am alone. I can’t help but hate the way my sleep
repeats cast-away phrases like leave me be, like nothing ever stays
so what’s the use in staying awake? Even my coffee’s gone cold.  |
I am not losing, I just know I’m leaving soon, and I can’t even 
find my damn dancing shoes, and everyone I love is on the dance floor.
Everyone I love is staying around to see me, but I am too tired.




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.                                                                            


How I Let You Go On The Most Depressing Day of the Year
and Feel Pretty Good About it

I burned all the leftovers. The pie too.
It is as horrible as I am making it seem and
more. I am used to more but there is no stuffing left,
nothing left to stuff but silence.
When stuffing is the love you shove
into your mouth, what happens when you
run out?

It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving
when I last saw you and when everything
didn’t happen like it was supposed to.
When asked what you are grateful for
all anyone hears is hesitation, air taken by teeth
and you leave a silence so grand I bow
at the base of it. Is that what giving
No, thanks.
The rain came like it was supposed to
and I am still smothered in mud, my

Driving home, I am my own soundtrack
Words like why, again, why, again, why, me
again, why is there always an again
are lyrics
the speakers are familiar with.
Driving home, I am my own carwreck.
I exit the highway onto a country road
which then turns into a mouth of mud
and I am stuck and sad and so oh very
sad at being stuck.

If I count all the times I asked you to come back
I could not trace my way back and oh to be stuck like that—

All it does is take and that is a terrible
and true fact.

A stranger tells me a fact I go home to Google to make sure it’s true.
The first Monday of the New Year is considered
the most depressing day of the year. Something about
having to begin again but this time with follow through. Something about
having to show up and mean it, on a Monday
no less.

Driving home, we are on the phone. Most of the talking
is by me and I forget what I said but most assuredly
it rang to the tune of me promising a safe place to crash
or fall or call home, even if we are all bones or blown to
little bits of I told you so, oh don’t you know
I would have showed up and meant it
every Monday?

Driving home, we are on the phone when I run out of gas.
A stranger helps me push my car to the side of the road.
It is the coldest day of the year, which means it is the first
day we felt our skin sting and suddenly I cannot help but
count the coincidences. This same stranger brings me hot tea
and tells me
Waiting all alone is the worst.
Tells me today is the most depressing day of the year, and how he hopes
how much that isn’t true.

I call you later on the phone, and you showed up but
we both know you didn’t mean it, and so I tell you then
like I tell you now, the last words I will say to you are
I love you and goodbye.

It always ends the same.




You busy yourself with the trouble of translating disaster
as if there is something dear to dismantle besides
yourself. This does not make you a writer. It makes you a
chump, another darling calamity caught. You have hooked
the raw of your jaw against a silent cat call. Only you know the phone number
to every ringing heart and you still long for everything. The longing calls
and the answer lasts. This makes you question your own warranty.

Now you are worrying.
For what? You cannot collapse the loudness belonging
to a body born a boom box. The volume knob gnaws like a
crappy chorus I cannot help but swallow along to. Since most of me
is made of tremble, I cannot help but scatters decibels when
someone spits a licking so loud I lash from the way happiness
and sound both open my mouth, how sloppy song step out
in suit and tie my tongue into a tune.

This does not make you a harmonica. I tell myself again.
It makes you a hoarder. Yes. People are plentiful creatures,
but they only distract. With all they profess, their plenteous
confessions come in waves and sometimes they stay
too long, sometimes they hover in the air
the hot air of a lost lover or was it leaver?
The hot air of a lost leaver now porous
now a perfume performing overhead using the headboard as a stage,
your bed head is heavy with what you keep losing. Aren’t you

I overheard you complain about who’s in your head
and how it is impossible to get over her, and you cursed
your body for being a river instead of a bridge. You lose
yourself in relationships already lost, convince your tired heart
that loving is alive because you remember it. But don’t you remember
the night time? How you forgot love, and washed whatever you had left
in the dirt water of what you remember. Is this what you meant by
giving yourself to tremble? Boy, you are so in your head, you haven’t
heard any of this, have you? Aren’t you
listening at all?



There is nothing in my stomach and the only thing unusual about this is my surprise at the growling. What meaty emptiness I provide for myself. What myth of fullness I cannot help but cavil against. It’s not that I abstain from consumption, but that I confuse how much force I must use when I am swallowing food and people, so I withdrew my tongue because I still have a hard time choosing. This is nothing new. I am history, repeating itself. Have I said that before?

Whenever I ran out of lunch money, I refused to tell my mother. I feared the things my mouth might say when I tried to tell her I am empty today. Thought hunger could be helped if I kept it to myself, so the boy in me became a king of self-consumption. Craving kept me royal. How majestic must one pretend his breaking is? I eat, sure. I do. But don’t you know I can’t always stop myself?

There is nothing in my stomach, but this stopped being strange. It has become something like familiar, or was it similar? I guess it is both, or either, or neither, or even now as I dive deeper into my belly, I am biting my tongue at all the terrible, even now it is dinner and I am still appalled at all the room left in my mouth. Have I said that before?


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.”


I loved a woman made of white noise for so long
It wasn’t until I threw my heart into my mouth
for the last time that I realized her static song echoed
the loudest whenever I decided to leave.

When the good left, and nothing but the bye remained
I burned the last of her from me and drank hot tea in the dark
to calm the scattered static that greets me whenever I am hungry for her again.
The tea didn’t tuck the storm happening inside me asleep
so I built a ravine out of bed sheets and burned books,
caught the rain water between stories that were not afraid to melt
and thought myself sturdy like that too.
So I boiled most of my body down to brass
’cause even though she, my once darling darling,
picked me clean from her teeth like rotten meat,
I still like what happens when I cool inside another’s mouth
how melancholy breathes an impossible beat
how my tongue is tearing its skin into miles of brass in the heat
and even though I am singing the blues back to the sky
I am reminded that loving a  woman made of white noise does not make me a songbird,
it just means I love without thinking, it just means I did not need to think to love her
I just did.
And even if the static she left made me second-guess all the color in my breath
I still got the blues burning through me and
though I know it though ain’t much,
at least I can finally get some rest.


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.