Poetry

An Angsty Rumination on Loneliness in Two Parts

Part I: Decay

Women in water,
women in fabric,
people in water,
people with no dicks,
people with tight flesh,
people with holes,
people who dance around numerous poles,
put them in water,
out in the sun,
watch them get tan,
let them have fun,
pay for the pictures,
like, comment, subscribe,
go to bed alone and wonder why.

Part II: Hope

I’m not having sex ’cause I’m a fucking mess;
don’t take care of myself,
barely there for my friends.
Bank account almost empty,
willpower’s the same;
boobs and food (and improv song lyrics)
are all that’s left in my brain.
I’m hungry. I’m horny. I’m funny.
(I’m boring.)

I’m hungry. I’m horny. I’m horny. I’m horny.

When’s the last time I was nice to someone else?
(Don’t be so hard on yourself.)

When’s the last time I tried something new
(without anyone’s help)?

Lost. Stagnant. Tired.
Not alone.
Still …
not alone.

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rambling

The Sun After a Storm

I live in the high desert, where humidity is almost always 0%. In the winter, if we’re lucky, it snows and the snowpack provides us with water for the coming months. In the summer, if we’re even luckier, it rains; those are my favorite times. I’ve had that one Sting song stuck in my head, off and on, for years now: you know, the one where the chorus goes “And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain”? I think that’s how it goes. Anyway, deserts do miss a lot of rain, and that means desert rats like myself miss rain too. So when the clouds darken and thunder rumbles, I get giddy.

It’s happening right now, on this day, the 4th of August in the year 2022. It also happened yesterday, but today’s rainfall has been stronger and more consistent. I was lucky enough to step outside and feel the rain kiss my clothes. I never wear a hat or use an umbrella when it rains; I want to feel the miracle seep into me.

I remember a blustery fall evening over ten years ago, when the air was shedding its summer heat and the sky started to darken. I’d recently quit a shitty mall job and I had a decent number of games downloaded to my Xbox 360. Halloween was approaching, and my annual tradition of playing a Castlevania game during spooky season was just beginning. The dark skies, the rumbling storm, the uncertainty of what happens next, these factors all converged to make that night stand out in my memory banks. What looked like a dark night of the soul was actually a distant lantern at midnight, cutting through shadows and beckoning me onward. I could do anything. I was rudderless, but I could swim and I was free.

It’s not spooky season yet, but the rain reminds me of that night; I want to play Castlevania and relax. Lately, I don’t enjoy my job all that much; as many people say, it pays the bills. When that’s all a job does, work loses what little luster it had. I’m going to keep working because I need the money, but I’m thinking of detaching my rudder in a storm again. Of jumping out in the darkness and looking for any lamplight. It’s raining and things are generally spooky, but as I and the Belmonts know, these are the perfect times for adventure.

Maybe this time, instead of running to the nearest safe space, I’ll make my own lantern and hold out ’til morning.

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rambling

Fever Daydreams

It was a few nights ago, or maybe I should say mornings ‘cause I don’t go to bed until the sun’s crawling over the mountains. Anyway, my head rested on my pillow but I couldn’t get comfortable, until I hopped out of bed, turned my light on, and grabbed my journal. I didn’t put on my glasses but I didn’t feel the need; I scribbled furiously, letting my thoughts out until I felt okay again. I put the journal back in its spot on the shelf and finally fell asleep. My ramblings are nearly incoherent, but I want to present them as they are, garbled and raw and weird. I don’t think I say anything poignant here; I just had to jot stuff down. I used to write in my journal a lot more often. I should go back to basics.

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Poetry

Things I Say During My Commute

The speed limit’s 45, you rat bastard.

Nice turn signal, jackass (there was no turn signal).

There goes the Jesus Cruiser (a PT Cruiser with Christian stickers on the back).

Whoa, how’d I speed up so much?

That one’s gotta go.

Are they on a 30-minute lunch, Jesus!

Slow down.

Damn it, slow down.

Jerkbag.

Asshole.

Dumbass.

Every day we do this.

This is killing the planet.

Get me outta here.

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Poetry

The Mustache Will Stay

Why do I need to do this
I say to myself as I move the razor
over cheeks flecked with stubble,
my shallow neckbeard
evaporating under the heat of the blades.

I am not
“professional,”
nor do I see people
as often as I used to.
I run my fingers through longish
lank hair,
and I admit
I do look a little better
with a clean face.

And when I pull
my hair back a bit,
I see how a haircut would look,
and it’s not bad.
It fits
the standards of the day: short,
simple, and clean.

Okay, you got me:
I feel a little better
after cleaning up a bit.
I push myself into the outline they made.
My outside looks enough to fool them.
My thoughts, though … I won’t cut those to fit.

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Poetry

When

For Xavier Javier Lopez. For Uziyah Garcia. For Nevaeh Bravo. For Amerie Jo Garza. For Maite Yuleana Rodriguez. For Makenna Lee Elrod. For Eliana “Ellie” Garcia. For Tess Marie Mata. For Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez. For Rojelio Torres. For Alithia Ramirez. For Jayce Carmelo Luevanos. For Jailah Nicole Silguero. For Maranda Mathis. For Eliahana “Elijah” Cruz Torres. For Jose Flores Jr. For Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio. For Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares. For Layla Salazar. For Eva Mireles. For Irma Garcia. For their families and friends. For everyone who has lost a loved one to violence. These words are not enough.

When I was 10, I
saw a Pokemon card for the first time.
When I was 10, Ocarina of Time
was still pretty new, and I know
I played it a lot.
When I was 10, I conspired with my brothers
to lump all our money together
after a family trip to Chili’s
so we could afford Banjo-Kazooie.
When I was 10, I wrote
a poem about an owl, a tiny thing,
because my teacher thought I’d enjoy writing.
She was right about the art, though I
was too shy to enter the student writing workshop,
so I sat alone at a table outside
and read a Redwall book instead.
When I was 10, I imagined
a dozen different worlds,
filled with animals and people and
animal people
and fantasy beings I hadn’t read about yet.

I could not have imagined a world
where nineteen children
were cut down by torrents of gunfire.
Where two teachers threw themselves
where the cops did not dare to go.
Yet this is our world.
It doesn’t have to be.
We should only be allowed to build things
a 10-year-old can imagine.
Peaceful. Loving. Laugh-filled.

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rambling

A Brief Lesson on Limits

Yes, we’ve all heard or read this one before: know your limits. In other words, don’t push yourself too hard. I’m sure we’ve all been hearing and reading about another phenomenon that has become a buzzword: burnout. I’m not here to wax poetic about burnout (though I should probably get back to posting poetry at some point in the near future), but I will say that I don’t think I have very large limits. I get to my limits quickly and easily. This is both good and bad. The awful work culture of the U.S. has never been my thing, and my lower breaking point means I haven’t been through the wringer in as harrowing a way as many folks; I’m a firm believer that too much time in the capitalist meat grinder tricks people into enjoying their destruction, or at least, pretending they enjoy it. Fuck, I said I wouldn’t wax poetic. I should stop now. But, as the title implies, this should be a brief lesson on limits.

Total tonal shift: DoorDash is dangerous if you’re one person. In the beginning of the pandemic, I managed to avoid DoorDashing for myself because my brother, saint that he is, went to the grocery store and kept our supplies coming in. I didn’t download any of the delivery apps ’cause if I wanted food to be brought to my door, I got old-school and channeled my inner Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (trademark, hashtag, whatever) by ordering pizza. And that worked, for a long while. It even worked in the midst of my COVID-19 infection. Both my brother and I suffered the virus in the middle of January, and even during my 10-day quarantine, I didn’t use DoorDash for myself; once again, my brother came to my rescue and just ordered food for both of us. Was I using DoorDash by proxy? Eh, I guess so. But anyway, my point is, I didn’t even get into DoorDash until we were nearly two years into this pandemic mess.

But oh lord, when I finally embraced DoorDash, I embraced it wholeheartedly. I opted into the monthly fee (mistake number one). Now, every time I go to order food, I get that reminder that I have to spend at least $12 before my delivery fee is waived. Now, if I was some kind of gourmand or a DoorDash expert, I’d take full advantage of this and order all kinds of shit to save for later. But I’m neither of the aforementioned beings: I’m just a dude who’s too lazy to drive down the street to McDonald’s. The McDonald’s mention is important, and I’ll tell you why. No, I’m not sponsored by McDonald’s, though I eat there enough to be. McDonald’s is the great representative of fast food the world over; if the U.S. wants to get its foot in the door anywhere, it need only deploy the two M’s: the military, and McDonald’s. Neither one of these entities is good for the world, but I came here to talk about DoorDash and (a lack of) limits. I’ll leave the military for another brief rant.

Anyway, back to the big yellow M. The first time I used DoorDash, I actually ordered Cheesecake Factory for myself and some of my tabletop buddies, and I don’t think I had opted into the monthly fees yet. Those came later, post-quarantine, after I’d recovered from COVID and I found myself even more unwilling to leave the house. I didn’t want to go anywhere, but I still wanted food. Could I have groceries delivered to my door? Sure, that’s one way to solve a problem, but like, I’m not great at buying groceries. There was a time when I worked in a grocery store and that made my grocery life so much easier: I’d make a list of shit we needed and I’d buy it on my way out the door, after a shift or whatever. I probably should have been more clever and bought my groceries while I was on the clock, but hey, I was a lot more brainwashed then. So I decided not to order groceries for myself. Instead, I asked DoorDash to do what I didn’t want to do: drive down to the nearest fast food joint and grab greasy crap so I could shove it down my gullet.

Damn it, I said this would be brief. I lied. Seeing as how I just wanted one fast food meal at a time, I’d open up the app and look at my options. On nearly all of the options available to me, a little reminder hung below the card for each “restaurant”: “Spend $12 or more for free delivery.” I put that last part in quotes though I didn’t actually check the app’s verbiage; the fact remains, every fast food joint offers the free delivery, IF you cave and buy twelve bucks’ worth of fast food (how much can one buck eat?). Do you know how much fast food one skinny-ish dude needs to be sated? Like, nine bucks’ worth, maybe, if you’re going for a combo. If you’re going for value menu shit, you can get by with like, six or seven bucks’ worth of fast food. Some places offer what they call “deluxe” combos. Everyone should convert “deluxe” into “baconified” in their heads, ’cause that’s usually what a deluxe fast food combo offers: bacon, and more bacon if you’re into that. Today, I ordered almost thirteen bucks’ worth ($13!) of McDonald’s, because I don’t want to pay the delivery fee and I’m stubborn and damn it, I can still eat that much fast food. But Ronald Christ McDonald, eating that much fast food is neither fun nor healthy. Let me break it down this way: the Big Mac Combo, which is likely the most popular combo meal offered by McDonald’s, only costs about $8.99 or something. We’ll round up to nine bucks ($9!). On a day where I’m really hungry, a Big Mac Combo (trademark, hashtag, whatever ((I know the hashtag should go before the phrase, I’m just being willfully obtuse at this point))) would be a whole dinner for me and I’d be happy. Full. Fulfilled.

But gods damn it, I have to spend more than nine bucks to waive the delivery fee.

So what do I do? Well, I’ve done a few things to get around this dilemma. Solution number one: buy 20 McNuggets. Now, I don’t advise this solution unless you have friends/family members/roommates to whom you may offer many nuggets. ’cause eating a whole combo meal AND THEN trying to shove McNuggets into your throat is not a recipe for a good time. So only attempt solution number one if you have assistance. I went for solution number two today: I ordered another burger, believing I would save it for later, after I’d digested my Big Mac Meal and started feeling peckish. Big spoiler: I did not save that extra burger for later, and here’s why. I ate the Big Mac. I ate all the fries. I forgot to mention earlier that when I go for fast food combos, I opt for the large size or the local equivalent, ’cause I’m a fool. So I ate all those fucking fries. And as I finished the mondo mound of fries, I could feel my stomach expanding. It could barely fit all that shit in there, and it didn’t want me to put any other food into it. But y’see, I’d been thinking about my options. There were, as far as I could tell, three of them.

Option one: put the extra burger in the fridge and eat it later.

Option two: eat the burger now. Do it, coward.

Option three: toss that shit.

I didn’t like option three at all, ’cause I only bought the extra burger to avoid paying the delivery fee. I’d be tossing, like, four bucks ($4!) into the trash! So I couldn’t stomach (ha) option three. Option one sounded ideal, until I reminded myself that a cold burger isn’t great, and a reheated burger might even be worse. So that left me with option two, an option which mine stomach didst protest. Yet I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good bad burger. So I … I ate the damn thing.

My stomach bulged even more than it had already, and as I write this I can feel the food baby melting. Or dissolving. Whatever the fuck happens to food in one’s stomach. Now, I realize that I am a fool because I opted into this dilemma: I choose to pay that monthly fee. The only thing the monthly fee actually gets you is the sweet delivery fee avoidance, but that avoidance comes at a price. The extra money it takes to spend more than $12 (twelve bucks!). I’m pretty sure most delivery fees come out to like, four or five bucks (4 or $5?! How does one write that with numbers and symbols?), and typically, I gotta shell out about three or four bucks to waive the fee. So I don’t even think my solution is that cost-effective.

I can imagine that for families who all share one DoorDash account and typically order food together, the monthly service is great and they easily avoid delivery fees ’cause they buy food for multiple people at once. For me, a single, lonely, still-sorta-scrawny guy, it’s hard to order twelve bucks’ ($12!) worth of food. I can manage it most of the time, but my wallet isn’t happy. My body isn’t happy either; I’ve eaten more fast food over the last three months than I ate in the like, two years prior to that. Maybe it’s not that bad, I could be hyperbolizing here, but the point still stands: I’m eating too much fast food. I’m spending too much money on a service that I honestly don’t need.

I think my problems go way deeper than my newfound DoorDash addiction, but for now, I’ll apologize for not being brief at all. The title will still stand, though, a testament to good intentions and poor execution.

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