A Sentiment to Valentine’s Day

Sure,

Hate it.

Hate it because it is, indeed,

Stupid,

Pointless,

A capitalistic propaganda scheme,

A strange made up holiday,

Perhaps conceived under

The desire to romanticize romance.

Or

Let it go.

Let go of the hate

For one day —

It’s a heavy sweater we wear

In the middle of winter,

When things are already so cold

And dark

And you are not given any less things to hate,

With the world as it is,

Filled with torture and despair.

But maybe, perhaps,

Just for 24 hours

Take off the weight of it all

And remember what it is to love.

Where it lives in you,

Your heart and soul

But also your fingers, toes —

Holding the hands of the ones you love

Or against your own skin

It’s in your noise,

Your ears,

When you listen to the sound of the city

Rushing past you as you remember to breathe,

When you play your favorite song and decide

To dance around the house. Alone. In love with nothing and everything all at once.

It’s on your tongue and lips,

Both from kisses you give

And in the sensation

Of your mothers cooking

Melting into your mouth

After months, maybe years of being away.

Remember love in the way

Your friend cries into your arms

And you are thankful

To see their humanity

Leaning against yours

Wiping tears from their eyes saying

“It’s okay. This is what it is to be human.”

Celebrate your loneliness today —

If that’s what you choose to call it.

It is not eternal. I promise you.

It is, though, an opportunity

To reflect

Dig deep into those hollow pieces and

Discover new pieces and promises

You never knew were waiting inside.

Go ahead and hate today,

Hate everything it stands for,

Spit at the couples in the streets

Holding hands and laughing,

Scroll mindlessly past posts

That will affirm all the beliefs

You’ve already had about

What’s terrible about today, tomorrow, and the next day.

But I offer this to you

A day to breathe it out

To love yourself

Love your neighbor

Love your parents

Or your pets

A stranger in the street

Or the stranger in the mirror

Find something

And love it today.

And tomorrow

Remember how it felt

And chose again.

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Thought Bubbles

Some days everything in my head is a poem.

I repeat lines over and over

Knowing they mean something,

Fit somewhere that I haven’t

Quite worked out yet

I try to pretend like my family’s favorite color isn’t white

Over and over till they

Taunt me

Or make me sick

My dad will tell me the same stories over and over.

But I don’t mind.

I know he loves words like I do

“Your mother had beautiful hands.

I fell in love with your mother’s hands”

Sometimes I write them down

And hope they become something

She said

“I didn’t raise my daughter to be a bitch.”

But she kind of did

Sometimes they start to become something

Then bleed into something wrong

So I let them go

I don’t know how to exist here

Sometimes — most of the time

They just get lost

They spin around in my head

So fast that I get dizzy

And force myself to forget

I was born a music box

Some days everything in my head is a poem

So I let that be how

The poem must be

A string of words

In my head

Just for me

Star Crossed

“But I know when we do

It will be amazing.

When we do

You will explode.”

He said.

A poem of his own

From his lips onto mine

“Into a million pieces?”

“Yes”

Into the stars.

You’re right.

Something about you

Makes me so tender yet

So tenacious.

I have spent this year

Learning to keep myself held tight

Bottled together so no one can get through.

And I told you.

I told you I wanted to go slow

To be sure

That I haven’t gotten my hopes up

Haven’t let myself spill out

For someone who will love me

That same way

That every other man

Loves every other woman.

Lustfully, then left forgotten.

No.

I’ve learned to keep these constellations constricted,

Waiting for the stargazer with the right set of eyes.

The one who discovers and honors

The worth in the light I hold.

I have learned how bright I shine.

I am no longer letting myself burnout

Over a reckless Prometheus

Who underestimated

The power of this goddess.

Dry Homes

In the desert

You drive for miles.

So long, that you

Learn to make

Polite conversation

With the rocks in the

Dull mountainsides.

You learn to listen to nothing:

Music, chatter, the hum of cars.

In the desert,

In the heart of the heat and sweat

You hide inside

On cool leather couches

That have offered their seat

To the generations before you.

You listen to them speak endlessly about

The secrets – gossip and giggles

They hold in the family

Tight enough

To sneak between only each other

And the small neighborhoods they live in.

Nothing leaves this valley.

In the desert

History pours from their lips,

Slipping off of their tongues

Like spit and spice.

Canela.

We’ve always been a mix

Of some sort of spicy sweet.

Chase it with tequila and tamales

And on to the next.

In the desert we aren’t

“Those kind of Mexicans”

That believe in “voodoo shit”

Dia de Los Muertos

La Raza.

We don’t wear our

Heritage

With the same kind of

Colorful pride as others.

Not in Indio,

Where one lives dedicated to the

Valley they’ve been in for

Long enough to forget

From where ever it was they came from.

So we leave the desert.

To drive home

Back to the city

And this time

We go through the mountains,

With a trail of cars

Like little fire ants in a line.

And as the sun sets,

They transform into

Dark silhouettes

And the sky takes its time

To shut its eyes to rest.

Leaving those strong hills

Black like the eyes of your grandpa

With the same soft halos

That wrapped the heads

Of the saints hung

On your family’s walls.

And the stars, like freckles

On your baby cousins cheeks,

Consumed the night unlike

Any sky you’ve seen before.

And I sit with my

Face pressed against the car window

From 22 to 12 in an instant.

In my dad’s car —

My grandma’s car—

So old that all we listen to

Are his cassettes from when

He was my age.

Driving down the same roads

To leave the desert

To leave his home

And start something different.

Indio, Coachella, La Quinta

As endless

And vast

As all the wonders I’ve ever had

For the people in it.

Each grain of sand

Is a question I left unsaid.

If you’re smart,

Or maybe lucky,

Growing up

Is the journey

From learning

To unlearning

To relearning

And again

And again.

And I have been in and out

Of this desert so many times

I have run away and come home

So many times.

That I don’t know what to unlearn

And relearn

I was gone long enough

To let the first death

Become a ghost I never knew.

How many times

Must I lay to rest

All the ideas I’ve had

About who my family was. Is.

Before it’s actually time

To do so for real.

5am

Although I woke up

Before the night was finished sleeping

I caught her in the midst of dreaming.

She let me breathe with her.

Let her calm wash over me

As, for a quick moment, I gazed

In awe at the stars in her dark hair.

 

Oh moon, it’s been so long

Since I felt loved in such a way

So thank you

For letting me steal that morning kiss.

Requiem

Trauma sticks onto muscles like tar.

After so long of being clean

From anyone who could

Fill my lungs with that same smoke

Why is it I still feel the burns

In my throat

Down my spine

And in every inch of my body.

 

I am afraid to love.

Your lies beat bruises against my lungs,

They swallowed me whole

Till I too became a lie.

Truth was a foreign language

And I knew only the drugged and drunken

Daydreams we called home.

 

Abused and manipulated.

My scars were not visible,

Because you toyed with my mind

With hands so strong

And a tongue so sharp

That my nightmares sometimes remember Just how hard they tried to

Convince me that I was wrong.

 

I still hear whispers every now and again.

Over and over in my head I hear only

The voices of those who blamed me

Because I convinced myself

I was not worthy of forgiveness

For the knives you drew

 

I still mourn the bodies left

From a battle I did not start.

Including my own.

But I have found someone beautiful

In the ashes of my own fire.

-sc