I am the worst kind of forgetful.

I want to remember how to know you,

I want to remember all your syllables

and string them together like fairy lights at sunset,

I want to remember what you need me to forget.


I have the worst kind of smile.

You can draw it out too easily.

I try not to smile in front of people who know me too well,

they might keep it like a memory.

I don’t want to build any memories,

most things I build don’t last.


I am the worst kind of armrest.

When I try to hold you I feel your balance breaking,

hands shake but I don’t want a handshake,

I want clovers and whispers and sand in our shoes,

midnights that don’t need to end.


I want to run but I have the worst kind of balance.

I try to have stronger muscles,

ones that won’t struggle when I hit the rocks,

I trip and fall too easily.


I have the worst kind of current.

When the air is silent

I don’t have the voice to fill it with sparks.

When the air is electric

I fall for your stars like lightning.


I am lucky to have this street to walk.

But I don’t like being this kind of forgetful.

I remember everything.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 5/25/17

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Living Like This


One glance at the wind outside and I’m there,

chills spread through me straight from my chest

at a summit I thought I would never reach


I drench your outline in fireflies

so I can paint it even in the dark,

giving up is only tempting until nothing else is enough


Never thought I would be living like this,

wanting to wake up to you more than anything else,

I try to talk to my blessings but they all sound like you


You cover the floor so I can’t sit down

Holding myself up till I’m breathing like a hurricane

Something always caught in the tears in my eyes


I try to count but I get stuck on your mind

turning all the pieces over when I try to sleep alone

It’s my fault I’m falling and living like this

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 5/16/17



I am on top of the world

and then packing up this little room

without warning

I speed down the slope,

I don’t want to count down the days

but that’s all I’m ever doing.


I count by tears,

by memories and 3ams,

by your heartbeats when I don’t want to move.


I count by unavoidable smiles,

by wishing and bad decisions I still don’t regret,

by sevens and by everything you love.


When I break I need to push you away,


I’ve already crumbled

too much in your hands.


Nothing will never be close enough as right down the hallway.


Every little corner smells like you.

This feels like I am folding up all your little pieces

and when I leave so soon

they are tearing me from you.


Every little corner smells like you.

This feels like I am folding up all your little pieces

and bringing them home.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 5/9/17

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My Mother's Flowers

Flowers, lots of flowers. My childhood was filled with them. I can still smell the roses all over my house, in every single room and remember my mother waiting for them to bloom. Flowers are for every occasion, she used to say. As she put together flower arrangements for Valentine’s day. My sister and I were like her assistants. She taught us how to treat flowers, how to paint flowers and how to name flowers. She even taught us what every flower means. An iris represents inspiration and a poppy represents consolation. A Magnolia represents dignity and red and white roses together represent unity. Knowing all this, makes it impossible for my mother to see a flower as a simple flower. Sometimes she said that flowers were like a language, a way of expression. And the more time we spent around flowers I came to understand what she meant. There’s so much that can be said with a white rose, a red tulip or a black orchid. Every time you can’t find the right words to say to someone give them flowers, she always said. Every week we went to huge flower storages. There were roses, lilies, tulips and some others with such exotic names that my sister and I turned the naming of flowers into a game. I always described those storages as beautiful, fresh and colorful places, but without the flowers those storages where nothing but big, grey and very cold places. When she needed help, my mother used to take us to church to help her arrange the whole place with flowers hours before a wedding started or for a memorial for someone who recently parted. Now I understand that every flower has a meaning and that every single type of flower comes with a feeling. As flowers can make you feel happiness when you receive them from someone who you love, they can also make you feel sadness and grief as you deliver them to someone who soon leaves. Flowers made my mother very happy for a long time and always made my house look nice. Then the sad day came along, when she had to close her flower shop. Even though they are not useful anymore we still have piles of flower books laying on the floor. And when someone brings flowers to my house my mother always enjoys naming them all, especially the ones with exotic names.

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Time and Memories

My grandfather is a man who is grateful for what he has and takes good care of all the things that life has given to him. If you ask me what I remember the most from my grandparents’ house I would most likely say the old clock in their living room. It has been on the wall since I have memory and I like to think that it is still working because of the care that my grandfather gives to his belongings. The minute he notices something is not working he always tries to fix whatever it is and he cannot be bothered until he is finished, specially if we are talking about the living room clock. If you talk to him while he is fixing something you will be ignored and if you keep insisting you will get yelled no matter who you are, that is how much he cares about his stuff. Like any other grandparent, my grandfather always tells us stories about his life as a young man when we visit him, but you know that the story is going to be good when he goes to his room to look for a photo or an object from the time that the story took place, and it is even more interesting when he takes out a clock or a watch. If it is a clock, then the story is about his father who also collected clocks, and if it is a watch, then the story will be either about his friends or his brothers. I always liked the friends’ stories more because I could relate to them better and they would remind me about my friends from high school. When he finishes telling the story he gives me the watch that he took out and, even though I don’t wear them because they are very old fashioned, I always keep them in my room as a reminder to enjoy life and look at the bright side of things. It is interesting to think of clocks as time machines, for my grandfather they are a reminder of the good times that he had with his family and friends, even he remembers the bad times very clearly. He is a serious person but when he tells a story he smiles every time and I respect him so much because he made from his life something memorable and that is what true happiness is about. (405 words)

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My Grandfather's Minivan

I can still remember my grandfather’s minivan with vivid detail. Gray were the interiors and gray was the outside, although the painting was blue. How come? He never washed that old Voyager. Coated in dust like a breaded chicken breast prior to frying, that minivan took me and many others to magical places. Several were the hours that I would be crammed into the vehicle, together with my grandmother and cousins, like a bunch of pool balls squeezed perfectly into place in their rack. As the youngest, I would always seat in the third row, next to a heavy toolbox and a rusty can of WD-40, but a whole different thing it was when I was riding alone with my grandpa. I was the king. Riding shotgun, windows down, stereo all the way up, cranking hours and hours of what seemed as archaic music to me. Little did I know that this “archaic” music (AKA “jazz”) would become one of my favorite later in life. Somewhere in the messy central console, located between the two front seats, my grandfather always kept a glass (usually a red Solo cup) a bottle of Coke and a bottle of Appleton State, his favorite rum. Punctuality was one of his main traits, and as the punctual man he was, he would arrive 30 minutes earlier to any place he had to go. He figured he rather wait, turn the engine off, lay back in his seat and play some jazz while sipping on more than just one glass of rum with Coke instead of being in a rush. So it was not a surprise when I got out of school and I found him waiting (or sometimes even sleeping) in the parking lot, engine off, music up, glass full. Some days he would even bring me a bottle of juice, a ball cap and sunglasses to impress the ladies on my way out of the parking lot. Some other days we would drive to the beach and eat some shrimp, fresh and ready to peel. The Chrysler van then would take us to the shore, where we would park it and walk along the breakwater, all the way to the end of it, where the lighthouse stands. Time flew and we all got older, the minivan included. 83 years old, my grandfather was still driving that old, rusty, dirty and battered Voyager. The rear bumper had completely fallen off, one wheel did not match the other three and the seats were no longer seats, but racks for tools, buckets and machinery he kept hauling back and forth to the beach, to work in the construction of his beach house. The car seemed to have been through war, but no, it just had been through my grandfather’s life.    

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Dedicated to my grandfather Rubén Marrufo, who died at age 83 this last June. His memory will never be forgotten, let alone all those great times in that old Chrysler Voyager.

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My grandma's garden.

I have visited my grandma’s garden ever since I can remember. She has always loved and cared for her plants as if they were an extension of her flesh and bones. Her garden wasn’t aesthetic. It wasn’t big, either, nor would it be considered astonishing in the eyes of the average beholder... yet it had something that, to me, made it seem as a real life Wonderland: somewhere where you could hide between the green of the leaves and get drunk on the flowers perfume. Some place where your wildest thoughts could come to life. She grew flowers and succulents long before they were popular in the hipster community. She harvested tomatoes once, but other than that, no edible grew there. Butterflies and hummingbirds were common visitors. They would wander around this tiny jungle and sometimes, “play” with us, the grandchildren. Looking back on it, it was more of a hunting game where tiny humans got a hold of the poor butterflies’ wings and tossed them around until they could no longer fly. I wish I had known I was hurting them. I didn’t see the harm back then. I was naive enough to think I was just “appreciating their beauty.”

This caused our flying guests to stop coming. The garden was just as fun as ever, yet it felt some kind of lonely. One particular winter, the cold killed most of my granny’s plants. The grandchildren didn’t want to play there anymore. Outside, the garden’s corpses laid on pots, fragile on the dirt. Everyone gave up on them, everyone but my grandmother. She sang and spoke to them as if she were to get a reply. She watered them religiously until she brought the magic back from the dead. Eventually, her plants grew vigorously again. It recovered its old charm, and, as of right now, it remains. Not too long ago my grandmother adopted two little yellow birds because she loved their melodies. Everybody was very glad for her because, as time went on, it became harder for her siblings to visit her as often. The birds keep her company and, in return, she gives them all her love. Her garden is their home, and now, it is the most beautiful it has been in a long time. You literally can not stand straight without hitting your head with a pot. It’s amazing.It blows my mind to realize that her garden has aged with us. It has been a key witness to our family development: it was there during my mom’s childhood, my aunt’s pregnancy, my cousin's departure and my first date. It has been our quiet companion and confidant through all these years. If it could speak, I wonder what it would say.

Sweet Memories Evade Me

My eyes were addicted to falling leaves and sunsets

Manufactured homes and suburban monoliths

My neighbourhood friends

Riding my bike

Being driven down highway roads at night

The scent of the hallways in my elementary school

Cracks in the sidewalk

And optometrist waiting rooms

Going somwhere new on excursion days

My aunt taking me to video game arcades

Finding four leaf clovers and hidden backyard flowers 

Jumping on trampolines and watching cartoons for hours


The faces of my youth

The friends that loved me

Gone from my life

Now a sweet memory

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Life felt beautiful.

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Good Times


These are the good times,

The days we will remember.

Never let them go.

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